How do you know if you're happy?
How do you know if you're happy?

This weekend our family was playing a game called “would you rather” with our Echo device. One of the questions Alexis asked us was “would you rather be an unhappy genius or a happy idiot”…and my answer surprised me. I chose happy vs unhappy and the label behind each one seemed to hold less importance than being happy. Wow. I really think being intelligent is important so this surprised me. Yet isn’t happiness what we are all really after when we boil it down? A state of happiness is truly a state of mind. And it is also one of the only things we have a choice about. We can’t control the circumstances in which we are born. We can’t control our predispositions for disease, intelligence, culture or many other things. But what we can choose is how we react to the cards we are dealt and what we do with them in our game of life.

Quick happiness survey.

One of my favorite check-ins with myself each day is to ask four simple questions that I rate on a scale of 1–10. One being not much and ten being the best. I ask “on a scale of 1–10, how happy is my heart? How happy is my mind? How happy is my gut/body? And how happy is my spirit. If one of them gets a low score, it tells me what part of myself I may have been ignoring in my own internal balance monitor (and ultimate happiness). Sometimes it will be my mind chatter that is caused by overexposure to devices (a necessity of my work choice, but worse when I add netflicks) and other times it might be my heart because I haven’t been paying enough attention to the people I love to be around. Other times it could be my spirit which tells me I need to read something uplifting that offers hope for the world or get outside under the stars or on the water to sail. But most often it will be my gut and body that I punish with too many hours at the keyboard or not paying enough attention to hydration or daily movement and strength training. Or worse, it will be because I tend to overindulge in food that isn’t that great for me.

Self-awareness is one day at a time.

This simple inventory is incredibly powerful to give me a sense of what may be out of balance today. Then I can get back on track, one day at a time, and restore my inner happiness and peace.

Happiness is a choice.

All it requires is alertness and attention to what’s under the surface of literally everything we think we want. That better job, bigger house, higher salary or recognition won’t hold a candle to what happens when we truly experience happiness. All of the others things are what we THINK will make us happy in the future. Being happy in the moment is a little about choice and a lot about perspective.

Today I choose to be happy.