Over good food and good wine, I was talking to two women about one important topic that threaded us together. They were new friends who shared so much between motherhood, Minnesota winters and current and past teaching careers. As our voices got louder, and more urgent, we leaned in closer. We were talking about happiness, debating whether or not it belongs on our top five wants for our kids.
It's tempting to say no because there are so many other things our society needs -- kindness, compassion, education, even humor.
But there are two secrets that will always keep my kids' happiness at the front and center of my heart lists. The first is that we adults are ever-striving for it as well. And the second is that all of these other needs lead to happiness if we choose to see it that way.
The happiest women I know realize that there are habits they're in control of that lead to joy. Here are eight of them.
1. Happy women make it a habit to maintain routines.
When you know what to expect from your day, simple things make it joyful. A friend showing up at the exercise class you always go to is happy. A stranger opening the door for you during your grocery run is, too. Your kids being ready five minutes early brings a smile to your face. When you know your routine well, you know what to realistically expect from it, how to maneuver its challenges and how to find joy within what pops up in it.
2. Happy women make it a habit to look for the goodness around them. When you train yourself to look for the good around you, you see it. You see someone smiling at you, starting a conversation with you, being a friend. When you make it a point, a habit, to notice goodness, it lifts you. It makes you happy, if you will.
3. Happy women make it a habit to be open to newness.
This world is so big and so wonderful and so rich of things to try and learn and do. When we say yes to simple things like new foods, important things like new friends and everything in between like new book genres, new tasks and new experiences, our endorphins increase and our our happiness rises with them.
4. Happy women make it a habit to lift others up.
Telling someone else that you like their shirt, their hair looks great, they're a great mom, they rocked a presentation or their work gave you chills, it feels good -- happy -- on both sides.
5. Happy women make it a habit to take accountability for their experiences. When I link a bad eating day to my own poor planning, a negative interaction to my own grumpiness, a lack of productivity to my own procrastination, these don't feel out of control or never-ending. If I own them, I can change them and/or my reaction to them, and I'm happier for it.
6. Happy women make it a habit to remember that nothing lasts forever. This mantra makes the bad stuff feel bearable and the good stuff feel golden.
7. Happy women make it a habit to not expect perfection.
Not every moment or every day is happy. Everyone has terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days -- like the beloved book and movie poster above say. When I do, I find it to be a relief to know that I can fall back on these habits (among others) and find happiness again (and again).
8. Happy women make it a habit to surround themselves with other happy people. I love the quote, "You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with." Choose wisely.
This post originally appeared on TheseLittleWaves.com
Galit's book, Kindness Wins, is a simple no-nonsense guide to teaching our kids how to be kind online. Happiness plays a big role in this. Learn more here.