My grandmother is one of the most vibrant and giving people I have ever met. She is unabashedly joyful in her life. I see her embrace her family and new people at the temple without hesitation. She helped raise many of her grandkids. And at my wedding, she was the first one singing and dancing on the dance floor. At 82, she has faced her share of life’s tragedies. Though in considerable physical pain that is now chronic, she still has managed to find a way to keep smiling, keep doing and keep loving.
Here are her daily happy habits (I was amazed to find how similar it is across generations).
Walking around the block – Her daily exercise routine provides her with a lot of joy and a strong sense of her ability. She has always made this a priority, even if it’s for a short period of time. And even when she didn’t really feel like it.
Giving a quick ‘hi’ to loved ones – She loves to reach out and check in on a friend or family member, even if only for a few minutes. Given that nothing makes her happier than being surrounded by them, of course people are invited to visit her any time of the year.
Cooking for herself or for forty – She finds this to be a relaxing outlet, a way to be creative while staying in control of what goes into her body. Nourishing her body and watching others enjoy her food is a source of happiness she has cultivated. We love it when she cooks too!
Resting her mind, body and soul – She plans her days to ensure her body can recharge. She can always tell if she got a good sleep—she would be more relaxed, focused and in a better mood. A BPS Research Digest study that explored an afternoon nap found correlations that sleep affects our sensitivity to negative emotions.
Singing her heart out – She loves to practice her old classical music but also finds that singing to herself, or out loud for others, is relaxing and joyful.
Celebrating traditions – Over the years, she’s established traditions around holidays and birthdays that give her daily joy to plan for and look forward to.
Making the most of a daily commute – When she worked, she had a manageable one, but she instinctively knew that a long commute would be draining and mentally exhausting. If you do have a long commute, find ways to entertain, connect or relax with podcasts and music. Check with your manager about your remote work options.
Being crafty in more ways than one – Creating something with her hands has always given her a sense of accomplishment. She likes to make things, color in her adult coloring books, paint furniture or help her grandchild with a small project.
Taking mini self-care breaks – While she worked, she would always step out for lunch or to get some fresh air. Nowadays, she enjoys even just standing outside for a few minutes if the weather is ideal. She finds it shifts her mindset and uplifts her mood to see the world.
Staying grounded in something greater – Last but certainly not least, for years she has practiced her quiet or spiritual time. About 10 minutes in the morning and evening, she sits on her own with her eyes closed in prayer or meditation, or just to count her blessings. This practice grounds her daily by letting her tap into what is most important.
Young or old, it’s imperative for us to choose our own daily practices that replenish our cup of happiness. The good news is that the simplest things don’t cost a thing.