Recently I read an article about happiness and how we can increase its presence in our lives.
Preventing Adaptation is the Key to Happiness
The premise of the piece was that frequent, small pleasures increase our happiness level far more than one big pleasure. We adapt to a big pleasure until it becomes routine for us, so the new car we were so excited about when we purchased it, becomes mundane over time. The new flooring, and the exquisite bedroom set we just had to have all becomes ordinary as time passes.
Research proved that it is the first bite of chocolate, the first glimpse of the sea, and the first minute of massage were the happiest moments and if we could somehow increase the frequency of having more “first moments” we would become happier overall.
A Hundred One Dollar Bills
This reminded me of a gift I gave my Mother decades ago. She and I shared the same wacky sense of humor and we felt safe with each other in trying new things together. What could go wrong? What could go badly? We knew that we’d figure it out or laugh our way through.
As a gift one year, I gave my mother a hundred dollars. Now mind you, a check written for a hundred bucks doesn’t sound all that exciting, but that isn’t what I did. Instead, I went to the bank, and got 100 one dollar bills. Then I proceeded to roll them up like tootsie rolls, and wrapped a ribbon around each bill.
Then I sent my Mother on a treasure hunt.
In Between the Frozen Peas and the Potted Plants
When I gave my Mom an envelope, she looked at it blandly, a half smile on her face. Opening it, she didn’t receive anything but her first clue.
Mystery and intrigue swept across her face as she read “Go to the North Pole.”
Energized with curiosity, she leapt to the freezer and opened the door. Under the frozen bag of peas was a dollar bill wrapped in ribbon and her next clue.
Indoors, outdoors, in between her flower pots, under pillows, between the pages of magazines, and in her sewing basket were all the separate $1 bills and another clue.
She became like a child again on this treasure hunt, and the frequent small pleasures she received each time a clue and a dollar was discovered never dissipated. Each new occurrence was brand new, and so was her sense of pleasure.
Increase Happiness in Your Own Life
I have never forgotten that day. Both of us were like kids laughing ourselves silly over the discovery of each one dollar bill. Who would have known that a single dollar would give so much joy? And a hundred of them created happiness a hundred times over.
How often have we heard that “it’s the little things that matter?”
How can you capitalize on the bursts of delight in your daily life?