What is Happy anyway? (And confessions of a sweary happiness coach)

coaching fear happiness Nov 22, 2021

“You’re a WHAT?!,” is the usual response when I tell people I’m a happiness coach.  Quickly followed by: “So are you happy all the time?”

The answer to which is, of course, “No.”

Take today, for example. My Monday morning started at 5.45am with my husband looming over my bed to tell me my watch alarm was going off. Poor hubby has the not-so-super 'supercold’, so I’ve been camped out in my daughter’s bottom bunk, sharing a tiny bed with a massive pile of soft toys and sweetie wrappers.

Startled and half-asleep, I leapt up, cracked my head off the bottom of the bunk then proceeded to stand on the three-point plug of my straightening irons, which my daughter had ‘borrowed’ from my room then helpfully dumped beside my slippers.

Suppressing swear words, I crawled back into bed only to be awoken by Dog #1 licking my face to check if I was OK. Sniffing the chance of an early breakfast, Dog #2 appeared doing that spitty bark/cough thing she does to demand food. 

So, am I happy all the time? Hell, no. Sometimes I’m tired, grumpy and sweary. Like today.

And on other days I’m sad or scared…or angry or upset…or worried or guilty…and the whole spectrum of emotions in between. But what I’ve learned to be pretty good at is allowing myself to experience all of the emotions. Because that’s a big part of being ‘happy’. It’s not always easy. Even happiness coaches find running away from big emotions easier sometimes. But that doesn’t really get you very far.

So, what is happy anyway?

Another question people ask me a lot when I tell them I’m a happiness coach is: “What is happy?”

That’s a brilliant question and one I wish I could answer for them. But I can’t. I can only answer that for me. Because ‘happy’ is different things to different people. In fact, it’s different things to different people on different days. There’s no universal ‘happy’. And no magic recipe I can share that I can promise will make you or anyone else happy.

But here’s something I will share that I totally believe: YOU know what makes you happy.

You do. You won’t always remember it, or act on it. And when life’s busy you might not take the time to think about it. And it might even be that what makes you happy is also a bit scary, so you put off opening that box of potential delights.

But still, you know.

Let me share one simple strategy that can make you happier.

Start your day by asking yourself the question “What do I need to be happy, today?

To make this real, let's go back to my sweary morning. By the time I’d fed the dogs, unloaded the dishwasher, made breakfast, fetched meds, cleaned muddy boots, packed my daughter off to school and loaded the washing machine for what felt like the 700th time since Friday, I was not feeling happy. I was feeling sorry for myself and wanted to sit on the couch feeding my sorry feelings with buttery toast.

Now, I’ve nothing against toast but I know myself well enough to be certain that the toasted bread strategy does not make me happy. What does make me happy is getting outside. Swapping tidying for trees and fluffing cushions for fresh air. So, without thinking about it too much and before the temptation of sourdough and full-fat Lurpak became too strong, I pulled on my trainers and beany, rounded up the dogs and stomped off to kick up the leaves in the local park. And 20 minutes later, ‘happy’ had returned.

And one of the things I love most about my work is that I get to help people find their happy and do more of it. 

Through deep listening and curious, considered and sometimes challenging questioning, I help you work out what you need in your life – and what you need to let go of – to feel fulfilled, content, balanced and joyful.

This always involves some type of change. Sometimes it a small change. A tiny tweak to your routine or way of thinking that ends up being transformative. And sometimes it’s what I call a ‘Big Gulp’ change. That one thing you know will make you happy but you’re not quite ready to do. (You’ve got one of those, right?)

So, there you have it. Now you know that happiness coaches aren’t always happy.

Not this one anyway. This one's sometimes a bit sweary. But hopefully you know a bit more about what we do when we're not swearing. 

Maybe you even fancy working out what ‘happy’ means to you?

If so, you're welcome to try a coaching session on me. 

Stay happy.


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