Jazz hands and joy

Today’s Random Act of Joy is courtesy of reader, Heather. Last week I received a lovely letter and some theatre tokens that Heather wanted me to use to ‘make someone happy rather than letting them languish in a drawer’. What a gem.

I love the theatre (and when I say the theatre I really mean low-rent musicals with plenty of jazz hands) so it’s a real pleasure to imagine someone finding these and then treating themselves to a night in the stalls.

Random act of Joy: hiding theatre tokens around town

In honour of it being Mothering Sunday this weekend, I hid the special envelope in a shop display for nappies! Not one of my most glamorous hiding places, but if anyone needs a lovely night off then it has to be a new parent.

Thanks again Heather.

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25 happy ideas for the UN International Day of Happiness

MHappy happiness day everyone!

Today is the UN international day of happiness, which means that there is even more of an excuse to give a smile, pay a compliment and roll out some Random Acts of Joy.

If you need some inspiration, here are 25 ideas to spread some joy today.

1. Upload a picture of something that makes you happy at the wonderful Day of Happiness website.

2. Give someone a proper hug. Not a slightly awkward, limp, lacklustre one. A real squeeze. Bonus points if it’s a stranger.

3. Write a letter to a friend you haven’t spoken to for a while.

4. Put on a favourite song and dance. Wildly.

5. Stroke an animal. Unless they’re savage like Miss Pudding. In which case, a virtual stroke will do.

6. Tell your boss that you value what they’ve taught you. Be specific. If you’re the boss, do the same for an employee.

7. Leave a random note for someone to find. If you want pretty stationery, Gabrielle is giving away a free printable here.

8. Buy yourself flowers and pick up a second bunch for someone else too.

9. Pay a stranger a compliment.

10. Send an email to all of your friends and offer to do a good deed for the first person who replies.

11. Ask your local station to write an inspiring quote on the station whiteboard. Get ideas here.

12. Flowerbomb your street and plant seeds in any spare patches of soil.

13. Spend 30 minutes packing shopping for people at the supermarket. Try not to look like you might steal their bags.

14. Let something go. Ok you may be right or you may do more or they may be frustrating, but just let it go.

15. Hide a bar of chocolate in the office with a message to ‘eat me’.

16. Give a personalised book recommendation to someone. Or send them the book anonymously.

17. Be the more loving one. Don’t get stuck in tit for tat and do something kind for your beloved.

18. Admire a neighbour’s garden or a beautiful house further down the street? Put a note through the letterbox to tell them.

19. If you’re a runner, smile at every fellow athlete you pass. Add a high-five  if you have the energy.

20. Go old school and put a request for someone on the radio.

21. Buy a stranger’s drink.

22. Meet a friend/loved one from work at the station with their name on a board.

23. Draw a picture of a friend. Sign it and send it to them.

24. Send a package of goodies to a friend’s office address. Let everyone know that they’re loved.

25. Think of someone who has made a difference in your life. Call them to tell them.

Any more to add? Leave a comment and let me know. Have a fantastically happy day.

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Being happy? Who has the time?

One of the lovely blog readers introduced me to this site:

Make Me Joyful Happy Days

I love the idea behind it. Every day you share a picture of something that’s made you happy and you repeat for 100 days. Fabulous.

But what really struck me was the cheeky little line: ‘You don’t have time for this, right?’

You’re right, you smug little website. I don’t have time to notice the things that make me happy. I have too much to do. I’m supposed to run 4 miles today and check up on my friend who thinks she has insomnia and prepare a presentation for my boss that he won’t read and floss my teeth and, you know, be nice to people. When the heck is there time for sharing something so frivolous as what makes me feel good?

Please stop taunting me with this idea of living happily and leave me alone in my misery. Thank you.

Being busy is something we wear as a badge of honour. We have ‘busy-offs’ as we rattle through all of the things that we just have to do, thinking that the endless stream of tasks makes us sound important when really it just makes us sound annoying. Especially because the people we’re banging on to are not-so secretly too busy to really listen.

Happiness just has to wait until everything else is ticked off.

Of course we all know that we need to say ‘no’ more and prioritise our time and just generally adhere to the rules of all good time management/personal development books. But we don’t.

So how do we practically deal with this situation?

We need to remember that being happy gives us MORE time.

Much to the disgust of my rational minded boyfriend, I believe that time is flexible and that when we consistently tell ourselves that we’re too busy/time is running out/it’s all too much, the clock responds by ticking more quickly and we spend those precious moments in an unproductive tizz. Time contracts.

What we need is a more expansive view. And the best way to get it is to find pleasure in the moment, to breathe deeply and slow down. With every calm thought and bigger smile, time stretches.

Taking a moment each day to really be happy is like paying into a high interest/no risk bank account rather than frittering all our money on the cheap thrill of scratch cards and gin. We calmly do what we need with pleasure rather than frazzled pain.

It’s not that we don’t have time to be happy, it’s that we don’t have time not to be happy.

So check out the 100days project or commit to a daily moment of pleasure yourself and let me know how you get on.

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