If you follow me on Instagram, you'll know that I love to take note of the little things. Those "flashes of delight" in the everyday that, although small, when noticed and appreciated can truly make such a huge difference to one's overall happiness. Anything from seeing beautiful morning light filtering in through the kitchen window, to a stranger smiling and showing a little kindness, I do my best to look out for these "everyday magic moments" and be grateful for them. When you train your brain to actively look for the good things, it's amazing the change that can occur and how much more exciting life can feel!
I feel like Instagram often get's a bit of a bad wrap when it comes to people only sharing their "Highlight Reel". It's obviously important to avoid getting sucked into the comparison trap, and remember that there is a lot more life going on behind those little squares, but if used properly, I think it can be a huge source of inspiration and motivation. For me, taking photos helps me slow down and really search for the beauty in everything, and scrolling back through my feed gives me a little boost of gratitude for all the wonderful things that are present everyday (if you just take the time to look!)
So, with that being said, I thought I'd start a monthly "Happiness List" to share the little things that have made me smile, new habits I've been implementing and any fun new discoveries I've made, in the hopes that it can brighten your day and inspire you too!
1) 30 Day Yoga Journey with Yoga with Adriene
I have loved Adriene's Youtube channel for years, but until now have never committed to a regular yoga practice. Every year she does a 30 Day Yoga "Challenge" and I decided this was the year I would properly join in. Making the time to spend 20-30 minutes every day on the mat to move, focus on the breath and just be present has been pretty life changing, and I am actually so proud of myself for sticking with it this whole month. I feel better, both in my body (yay for less neck and shoulder pain!) and mind, and I think these 30 days have helped form the habit that will allow me to continue with this throughout the year.
If you're interested in giving Yoga a go, I would highly recommend checking out Yoga with Adriene. She's really easy going and funny, and being able to practice at home makes it so much easier to get started!
2) Making time to read
Another habit that I've been working on this year has been making the time to read before bed. I used to be the biggest bookworm when I was younger, never leaving the house without something to read, however over the years, as happens with many people, this habit fell by the wayside. To combat this I decided I would make time every night to read before going to sleep, even if for just five minutes. While admittedly it hasn't happened every night, it has definitely helped me feel much happier and more productive, and also helped me fall asleep more easily too.
I just finished reading The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod and have decided February will be the time to implement his "Miracle Morning" strategies to "transform your life". I'll report back on that once I've had a chance to give it a go, but in the meantime if you're looking for a new personal development book to read I'd recommend checking this one out! Also, I know you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, but how pretty is this copy from Kikki.K?)
3) Bullet Journalling
I won't go into too much detail here, but if you haven't heard about bullet journalling before, check out the official Bullet Journal website or this video by youtuber Lily Pebbles , It's basically a super customisable system that allows you to organise every aspect of your life by writing things down into a single notebook.
As someone who is an avid list maker (and who usually has random bits of paper floating around everywhere) this has been super helpful and fun for me, and has been the main thing that has helped me implement the above two habits into my life! (I have a page where I track my habits each day and that kinda thing just works for me!)
I'd heard so much about bullet journalling, but only got into it after reading the book (that Tom had actually bought for himself and I stole!) "How to Bullet Plan" by Rachel Wilkerson Miller. It is a perfect, easy to read overview of the whole "bullet journalling" process and a really fun, practical guide. I was so inspired when I read it that I went out the next day, bought a journal and got started straight away!
4) Finally seeing the new Star Wars Movie!
I'm a big Star Wars fan and I very much enjoyed this latest instalment. :)
5) Listening to The Lively Show Podcast
Jess Lively is a podcaster who's just wrapped up an 18 month long stint of travelling around the world. Her podcast, "The Lively Show", designed to "uplift, inspire and add a little extra intention to your everyday" is one I've listened to for years. It has evolved from it's beginnings talking about business and interviewing entrepreneurs to discussing topics relating to "flow" and The Law of Attraction, and although a little more "woo woo" than I'm normally into, has been so inspiring and something that adds so much to my life! I love listening on my way to work and it always puts me in a great mood!
6) This Youtube Video - Finding Joy After Tragedy
I really enjoyed this interview that Youtuber Nikki Phillipi did with Bonnie Kate Zoghbi as part of her Happines series. It's a long one, but I'd recommend watching it if you have time. If not, to summarise, it talks about Bonnie Kate's story of finding joy after tragedy (she was shot during a movie theatre shooting in Colorado) and living with chronic pain. It was inspiring and although I'm fortunately not dealing with chronic pain, I found it so helpful as I have had issues over the last year with bad neck pain and migraines and people not really understanding it.
The thing that stuck out to me was how, in the midst of all she's been through, she chooses to be joyful every single day - you can just see it and hear in her voice what a positive person she is!
I just had to share these quotes from Bonnie Kate:
"Notice the good things, notice the beautiful things, choose to think about these good things, don't be overwhelmed by this pain because I feel that's what pains does, it turns you inward and corrupts your thinking to when you can't see the beautiful things, so you have to actively fight that by being like - "look at the beautiful things, be thankful for what you have". These are the things that help keep you going. Otherwise it's like a monster that piles up, a slow kind of eating away. Being friends with people who support you, understand, who you can talk to"
"It's important to sit and wonder about all the beauty around - like the beautiful fall leaves falling from the trees, or the light that's coming in through this window, cool crisp air, breathing it in. Those sort of things are tools to fight chronic pain or depression. Allowing yourself to see and notice those things - even if it doesn't necessarily feel good right away, in the long run it does. Getting outside is the best medicine"
7) Lovely summer weather and having fun with fashion!
I am loving the warm weather and being able to wear my favourite outfits. Overalls are my faves as they are just so comfy and playful and of course the bright summer dresses are coming out to play too!
8) Walks along the river with my favourite person
My absolute favourite thing to do :)
9) Hearing our first dance song played on the radio
It is always such a lovely surprise when Ed Sheeran's "Perfect" comes on the radio. No matter what I'm doing (even if I'm in the middle of a particularly frustrating task at work - especially then actually!) it makes me smile and takes me back to that super special moment.
Music really is magical.
10) Speaking of weddings, we got our wedding video back!
...and it is everything I'd hoped it would be. It perfectly captures how happy, fun and laughter filled our day was and it is so lovely to be able to watch it back and relive those incredible moments. I will definitely be sharing about our wedding on the blog at some stage, but in the meantime, you can check out the video here!
So I'm going to wrap it up there :)
I hope this has been helpful in someway, whether it be inspiring you to try something new like yoga, introducing you to a podcast or just reminding you to take note of the beautiful things!
Leave a comment below telling me any of your new discoveries/habits/little things you've been up to this month, or come say hi on Instagram! @laurennatalia29
Lots of Love