Build Yourself a “Happiness Box”

iStock_000034950462_SmallI always learn so much from the people I work with, whether it be clients, colleagues, or other professionals.  One creative individual shared with me an idea that has been useful to them and I think it may be of benefit to others as well.  This person created something called a “happiness box”, which is a collection of items and resources that remind them of what is important and good in life.  I’m sharing the idea here so you can take it, make it your own, and use it to create more peace and contentment in your own life.

A happiness box could be as simple as a shoebox or binder or it could be a piece of technology, like a Pinterest page, blog, or application.  The point is to fill your happiness box with things that symbolize what is meaningful to you and trigger feelings of hope or contentment.  You can “open” the box whenever you are feeling lost, disillusioned or down.

Everyone is different and so are the things that inspire and resonate with us.  So what we each store in our happiness box will be unique.  If you’re not sure what to put in your happiness box, you can start with things we know tend to be correlated with happiness in general.  Researchers have discovered through studies in the field of positive psychology that there are a number of characteristics that are correlated with happiness:

  • Gratitude – being thankful for what you have

  • Altruism and kindness – helping others

  • Forgiveness – letting go of anger and blame

  • Optimism – focusing on the positive and fostering hope

  • Love & affiliation – have a loving partner, friends and/or family

  • Esteem – valuing self and others, not comparing yourself to others

  • Self-actualization – setting reasonable goals and pursuing your potential

  • Finding meaning – discovering what motivates and inspires you, exploring your faith or spirituality

Given these characteristics, you can start to think about things you already have and look around for new resources that stimulate these attitudes in you.  Then you can add them to your happiness box.

I have several happiness boxes.  A couple of them I have made public in the hopes that others may use them as inspiration and it may benefit them.  One is a Pinterest page and the other is Google+ page that anyone can view and make suggestions.  Happy box building!

For more information and resources regarding a variety of mental health concerns please check out our Kansas City Mental Health Resource List.

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