Happiness is a Choice

I’ve been getting up earlier lately, like 5:30am each morning early. Oddly, I’ve come to really enjoy this time of day. It’s quiet, there are very few cars rushing by outside and it allows me to ease into the day.

I’ve also started taking an early morning yoga class and the teacher often stays for 20 minutes after savasana, the final resting pose, for meditation.  The intent yoga is to still the mind in preparation for meditation. Moving with the breath, quiets the mind so when it comes time to sit in silence, the body has gotten all of it's energy out.

I struggle with meditation, because even after an hour of yoga, my mind is still racing with tasks for the day, remembering where I parked and hushing my rumbling, hungry tummy. But towards the end of the class the other day, the idea of "happiness as a choice" popped into my head and instead of pushing it out, I held on to it for awhile and thought about it.

Happiness doesn't just happen. We have to work for it by doing the good, positive things that make us happy.  Sometimes these things take effort and sometimes they're enjoyable, but at the end of the day, the choice is up to us. I can decide to keep toxic people in my life, or I can choose to reserve my time for people who bring me joy.  I can sleep in an extra hour because I'm feeling lazy or wake up and go to the yoga class that I really enjoy (and the effects last throughout the day). 

I've used the analogy before and it's something I continuously come back to -- I have to fill up my cup so I have more to give to others.  In order for me to be 100% (or as close to it as I can get) I have to do the things that make me happy and whole -- yoga, pilates, talk to a friend, workout, get a good amount of sleep, eat healthy, etc. When I do these things, my cup (metaphorically) is full and I have 100% of myself to give to others. I'm a better listener, a better friend and I'm kinder to myself.  But the days I don't do the things that make me happy, my cup is empty and I have way, way less of myself to give to others.

I used to look at this "me time" as selfish, but the "full cup" metaphor has really helped me take better care of my needs, so I can be the best "me" that I can be.  Both for myself and for others. What are some things that you do on a daily basis to "fill your cup?"