On International Happiness Day, the IMAGE team opens up about what makes them happy.
Are you happy? It seems a strange question to ask, but think about it before you answer.
I consider myself a happy, glass-is-half-full person. My outlook is generally bright and cheery and I know enough to truly appreciate how lucky I am to have wonderful friends, family and I job I love. That in itself is different; feeling lucky isn’t the same as feeling happy and nor does having one mean the other is automatic. But generally yes, I’m happy. Today, on International Happiness Day, however, I woke up grumpily having been awake most of the night battling with my stomach over what appears to be mild food poisoning. This did not make me happy. And underneath my optimistic disposition, I worry (always) that I’m not being nice enough, kind enough to those who need comfort or that I’ll look back and think I spent too much of my time writing about life, instead of living it.
But I’ve never gone out to “seek happiness,” per say. I believe that happiness is fleeting, not constant; it ebbs and flows in and out of life at a natural pace at different times but seek it out directly and you’ll only be left despairing.“It is the very pursuit of happiness that thwarts happiness.” It’s a quote that always sticks in my mind.
And these days, there is an awful lot of pressure on people to “seek happiness.” The premise that if you do certain things by a certain age – fall in love, get married, have children, get your dream job – will naturally equate to feelings of happiness is more prominent than ever. DO ALL THESE THINGS AND YOU’LL FIND BLISS! That’s what social media seems to shout. However, this also works in reverse; if you don’t hit these ‘targets’ you feel you’re falling behind, and this only mounts as you get older. You’ll perhaps feel that you aren’t happy because perhaps your friends are succeeding more than you, faster than you are, or you feel under pressure to have children “before it’s too late”, or even if you haven’t done x, y and z in the normal societal order.
Because, as we all know, life is not so simple. Why are so few shouting that the goal should be contentment? Because goalposts shift and change; you grow, you mature and with this wisdom will invariably come the knowledge that true happiness can’t be measured by just ticking items off a checklist, it simply comes as it will, with the ups-and-downs of life and in the little moments, bigger moments and everything else in between. Do you feel your life has meaning or a sense of purpose? This is far more likely to make you feel happy in the long run, as is focusing on the “little moments” in life.
And when you’re down, it’s the little things that offer instant moments of joy and happiness, sometimes unexpectedly. These don’t guarantee happiness but they do make life a whole lot easier. Here, the IMAGE team shares what makes them feel instantly happier:
Spending time with my nieces and nephews is pure happiness. They’re an instant injection of joy, a total tonic and bring nothing but sunshine to my heart and life.
Clodagh Edwards, CEO
My Pinterest pins…my dream life is on there. I love all the images/quotes and style/interiors things gathered there – curating it is a personal joy to me. It’s an aesthetic ‘control in a world gone mad’ kind of thing, and it is quite an insight into what makes me tick!
Ellie Balfe, Digital Director, IMAGE.ie
Finding perfect pairings: A glass of top-shelf Pinot Noir and very ripe brie on rosemary crackers … a well-made flat white and a warm hazelnut brownie … firm castelvetrano olives and a wedge of aged manchego … a G&T … find pairings you love and make them happen, often.
Eoin Higgins, Cara Deputy Editor
Getting away from the rat race … walking on the beach in Wexford, having a quiet moment with my kids where I’m properly listening to them and hearing them, doing the things I never get to do well because I’m usually in a rush, like cooking something different and putting some effort in (rhubarb ice cream was the last stab at this) and those rare moments when I’m feeling like I nailed it.
Meg Walker, IMAGE Deputy Director
Eating/cooking outside. Whether it’s a barbeque or a picnic on the beach, hot soup after a sea swim, or even just taking my coffee into the garden before going to work or eating something I baked. There is no guilt in eating treats you made yourself.
Lauren Heskin, Senior Editor, IMAGE Interiors & Living
Dancing to Gorillaz’ Dirty Harry cannot be beaten. Neither can curling up with a good book; a book so consuming that you start slowing down towards the final chapters because you don’t want it to ever end.
Lucy White, Cara Editor
A snuggle with my Schnauzer (Flumpy the dog).
Melanie Morris, IMAGE Editor-In-Chief
Three words: CUPS. OF. TEA.
Niamh O’Donoghue, Junior Social Editor & Content Creator
The general password I use online is a particular word/phrase that makes me grin whenever I key it in. That’s a nice little pick-me-up sometimes. Also, anytime I watch the film The Linguini Incident (1991). Rosanna Arquette + David Bowie = happy me.
Aisling O’Grady, Beauty Assistant
Whether it’s a line from a film, my favourite song or a quote in a book, lovely words have always cheered me up. Words are important to me; I write them for a living, and when I’m engrossed in a film, it’s the dialogue that captures my attention before the visuals. On a bad day, the dialogue in Groundhog Day or Pulp Fiction will always make me smile.
Jennifer McShane, Senior Staff Writer