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Finding Happiness in Everyday Things

Do you feel that you have difficulty finding time for activities that you love? Many people don’t take on new hobbies or activities simply because they don’t feel they have enough time, but it’s these activities and hobbies that can help bring happiness and enjoyment in life. So what about utilizing the activities that you already do? Can you maximize on those in order to increase meaning and happiness in your life? Many activities that we already do can actually become therapeutic and assist us when we are in the right mindset. This has many personal benefits, such as creativity, meaning, stimulation, distraction, and emotional healing.

People use going to the gym, exercising, knitting, gardening, painting, cooking, etc. as their own type of “therapy” without even realizing it. Although activities cannot truly replace psychotherapy, the point is, we can often make everyday activities therapeutic in some way if we set our mind and intention to do so. This requires you to really think about the activity before doing it and setting your mind to making the activity therapeutic for you. This can supplement personal growth and add deeper meaning and intention to our lives. This means that the activity is not just a mindless activity, but it’s something that can actually be beneficial to our mental, emotional or spiritual health and it adds to our life, meaning, and purpose.

These activities can be helpful for us to disengage from our day to day life, distract us from challenges we may be facing, reduce stress, assist us processing difficult emotions, help us pay more attention, focus in the present moment, and overall provide us with opportunities to engage in positive activities that bring meaning and health to our life.

You can increase the therapeutic benefit of everyday activities by following these steps:

Select: Choose an activity that will be meaningful to you in some way. So maybe it’s something that’s important for your health, such as exercise. Or maybe it's an everyday activity that you’re already engaged in, that’s important to you, such as walking your dog. Put some thought into an activity in which you feel that you can be mentally present. This needs to be something that fits you, your personality and interests. For example, many people find cooking to be therapeutic, but if you hate to cook, then that is probably not the best activity for you! Find something that you enjoy and believe that you can find meaning in.

Pause: Take a moment to pause before you begin your activity. Be present, mindful, and in the moment. Mindfulness is about being completely in tune and highly aware of a given moment. This is a chance to reflect on the activity, how you are feeling and focus on how this activity will be therapeutic for you. Take the time to think about how this is a therapeutic activity that you enjoy and are using in a way to promote health and happiness. For example, before walking your dog, think to yourself what the benefits are of the activity and how this might be helpful for you. So you may think about the physical benefits of walking as well as the benefit of stress reduction and the help of distracting your mind and mentally “clearing your head” while walking.

Enjoy: Often, we get into a routine of doing an activity and we go into autopilot, without even paying attention to the activity that we are doing. If you are wanting to make an activity therapeutic, then it's important that you are following these recommendations in order to really pause before engaging in the activity and be more mindful and present in the moment. This will allow the activity to have more meaning for you, bring more fulfillment and more joy. So be sure that once you have selected an activity with purpose and intention, you will then pause for a moment to be mindful and present. Lastly, enjoy the activity and make the most of the moment. This way, you are more likely to reap the benefits of a therapeutic and healing activity.


Blog written by: Dr. Shelley Sommerfeldt, Clinical Psychologist, Relationship Coach & Founder of the Loving Roots Project, an online wellness practice specializing in personal growth, mental wellness, & relationship betterment.

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