The Alphabet of Happiness: N

I hope you found yesterday’s post regarding Mindfulness and Music to be helpful. If you just joined this journey, be sure to take the time to go back and read from the beginning. Without delay, let’s get to it and discuss the letter “N”.

Navigation

Today’s post is focusing solely on navigation. When you think about this topic, what immediately comes to mind? For me, I envision taking road trips as a young adult. At that time, I drove a small 2-door pickup truck with a canopy. I had a map laying beside me on the seat. On a piece of paper, I had written down the address of my final destination, along with pertinent phone numbers. I was prepared and ready to go.

navigate-map

Your image may not be anything close to mine and that’s ok. For the sake of our discussion, I need you to focus on a different definition and image of navigation. Let’s refer to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Navigation is “the method of determining position, course, and distance traveled.” Stated simply it is, “the act or practice of steering, directing the course of, or finding a way through.”

You are going to learn how to navigate your life in a path towards happiness.

Step 1: Determine Position

First things first. You need to determine where you are currently. Are you happy or unhappy? Are you sad, depressed, grieving or angry? Think about how you feel not just at this moment, but also within the last month(s).

navigate-happiness-level

This is no different than taking a road trip. You can identify and state, “This is how I am feeling right now.” Be honest with yourself and try writing it down. You may find it easier to write down how you are feeling rather than just trying to think about it.

If you are content with where you are in your life right now, then there really isn’t any great need to change anything. However, if every day is a struggle, if you are experiencing burdening sadness and grief, if you feel as though you are never happy or you never will be, then I’m suggesting you give this a try.

Once you have written down your “current location” (how you are/have been feeling), it is then time to consider where you want to go next. No differently than the individual who is planning a road trip, you need to think about where you want to go. What is your destination? Do you want to be happy?

Step 2: Direct the Course

When you decide to take a road trip somewhere, you look at a map and consider what roads you will take. You look at all of the possibilities and determine which one is best for you. Well, directing your path to happiness is no different.

Consider the course before you. What is the best way (for you) to get to where you want to be? Take into consideration all of the possible roadblocks, hazards, obstacles and unknowns that may effect your journey. Do the best you can to have alternate routes available.

navigate-roadblocks

Identify what obstacles may arise. This could be specific people in your life, current living situation or job, your personal financial situation, marital status, your physical health and so many others. What or who do you think are your biggest obstacles? Be better prepared by identifying each of these before you even get started.

When you have identified each of these, you will then want to look at “rest stops” and “motels.” Of course, these are terms used when planning your road trip. However, they can be used here as well.

Plan your rest stops. Think about your own path to happiness. Allow yourself time to stop and enjoy the scenery along the way. Celebrate even the smallest of accomplishments. Reward yourself for having the strength and courage to move forward in your life. Just as if you were actually traveling, stop and check into a motel along the way. Make sure you stop to take care of you. Get plenty of sleep, eat well, and take care of even the very basic needs.

Step 3: Find a Way Through

You have now decided where you want to go. You have plotted out your own personal journey towards happiness. And you have identified the many obstacles and challenges you will face along the way. It’s now time to start driving. But, you will need to know how to deal with those obstacles. This is how you’re going to “find a way through.”

Let’s look at some common driving terms as you think about how you’re going to get to your destination.

  • Speeding – In most places, this is a punishable criminal offense. When you’re speeding, you are putting yourself and everyone around you in harm’s way. Your life isn’t a contest. There aren’t any awards for going fast. “Go with the flow.” Don’t speed ahead as you will likely derail.
  • Detour – Sometimes obstacles occur on our roadways that prevent us from taking our preferred course. In this situation, you might face a detour. This is a new course to get you around what is blocking your path. Many times, trying a different route is better than waiting for someone or something else.
  • Curve ahead – No road is perfectly straight for its entirety. There are going to be twists and turns that need to be taken slower and more carefully. As you are traveling down your path to happiness, there isn’t one speed or mindset to accomplish the entire journey. Do what you can at the moment.
  • Reduced speed – Different speed limits are imposed in different locations. Sometimes you have to slow down. Don’t get frustrated with your pace. Moving at any speed is better than not moving at all.

Allow commitment toward your path to fuel your determination. Turn the obstacles on your path into stepping stones. Let nothing deter you from your happiness – see your path clearly. -Ritu Ghatourey

I encourage you to create your own map. Fill in where you are on the happiness scale. Designate where you want to be. Draw and mark all the ways (steps) to help you get to your final destination.

Be sure to grab a souvenir along your way!


As we continue this journey together, I encourage you to keep reading. If you have yet to find your own how or why to happiness, I strongly believe you will. Please come back tomorrow as we explore the letter “O”.

©2017

2 responses

  1. Great post Julie. I love how you use language to help, us to map out where we are starting to where we want to go. Really practical and inspiring, thanks you!

    Like

    1. Thank you Carrie! It just kind of came to me to use a car ride as a metaphor for navigating our own life. It’s so true though. You need to have some sort of an idea as to where you want to be in order to figure out how to get there!

      Like

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