12.31.2017

Two Habits to Bring Happiness in the New Year

A few weeks ago, I had a dear friend ask me "how to be happy." It nearly broke my heart for two reasons. The first being that I cannot stand having those I love be unhappy. The second is that I don't know. I don't have a recipe or formula for happiness. You can't simply decide to be happy.

To me, living a happy life is not feeling the emotion of happiness 24/7. A happy life can also have unhappy days, and that's okay. To me, living a happy life is not on accident-- it consists of taking action to do things you know will bring you and others joy. It is cultivating gratitude for blessings big and small.

Recently, I have picked up two habits that have caused me to be a more joyful person. I'm sharing them here today, and I hope you will take them to heart and make them part of your 2018.

Cheers to the new year!
1: blessing bags
Something that I started doing around the holidays was keeping gallon ziplocks of nonperishable food in my car. I was going downtown semi-often and I would always be asked for money from homeless people. This made me feel awkward, sad, and uncomfortable. So, I was inspired to put together these bags to help out a hungry person while feeling confident that my contribution would be used for good. The first time I did this, my friend Megan was with me and we both cried. It is truly a touching experience and I have been met with only joy!

Another time, I saw a man with a sign that said "homeless, hungry as heck" and I pulled over to give him some food. He gave me a wide smile and said, "this food is actually good! I'm so sick of granola bars and Vienna sausages!" So, I thought I would share with you what I put in my bags:
40 packs of peanut butter crackers for $15
24 boxes of raisins for $9
100 sticks of jerky for $36
40 packs of fruit snacks for $8
So, if you put 4 packs of crackers (carbs and protein), 10 beef jerky sticks (protein),2 or 3 raisin packs (fruit), and 4 packs of fruit snacks (kinda fruit but just for fun) per bag, you can give 2ish meals to 10 starving people for $68! You could split the cost with a friend, assemble the bags together, and write kind notes to go in them.

2: gratitude journal
I actually first got the idea for this from my Psychology teacher. We learned about a study in which people were asked to write down three specific reasons they were grateful at the end of each day. The study found that these people were happier than before. I thought this would be a good activity to practice during Advent, a time when our society is very materialistic and busy. It was a good exercise in contentment and living intentionally, and I have to say I did feel happier. Another bonus is that when you feel down, you can simply flip back through the journal to see all of your reasons to be happy. I intend on continuing this habit through the New Year, and I think you (and everyone) could benefit from a little more gratitude, too! To get started, buy yourself a fun notebook, keep it by your bedside, and before you fall asleep reflect on all the things that made you feel happy to be alive throughout the day. Even on the worst day, there is at least one thing to be grateful for-- even if it's just life itself. I write down everything, from a good cup of coffee, to unexpectedly running into a friend, to a kind text that someone sent. "Great are the works of the Lord; they are pondered by all who delight in them." (Psalm 111:2).


stay sunny (and happy new year, friends!)
meg

PS: another great way to ring in the New Year is to order a photo book of your past year. Follow this link for a free one from Chatbooks!

8 comments:

  1. Love this!! Happy 2018!

    Bailey
    baileysbulletin.blogspot.com

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  2. Meg, I seriously love this post! Practicing gratitude was something I added to my life during Lent last year and is something I need to remind myself to do. I also love your idea for the blessing bags, this is such a great way to help out while knowing it is used in a good way. Happy New Year!

    Renee | Gimme Glamour

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    1. Thank you so much, Renee! Have a happy 2018 <3

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  3. This is the sweetest post! I believe that the ultimate happiness we can earn in our lives stems from contributing to others' happiness, and I love how your post focuses on that aspect of personal happiness! Happy 2018!

    Tori A. from Prep For A Day

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    1. Tori, that is so kind! Best wishes for 2018 girlie :-)

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  4. Meg, this is such a sweet and wholesome post. I absolutely love your two habits for finding joy. I went on a mission trip around Thanksgiving to deliver full Thanksgiving meal groceries to families in need and it was so revitalizing. I wish you the happiest 2018 ever!

    Kaitlin \\ www.thecuriouslemon.com

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    1. Kaitlin, thank you so much! Aw, that is so sweet of you-- I'm sure the families were so grateful.

      Happy new year! Meg

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