What Makes You Happy?

Andrew Hutchinson
Jun 20, 2019 · 2 min read

Last year I suffered a concussion, and it sidelined me for a few months. While the recovery process was slow, the hardest part was struggling through the depression that came along with it. To lift my spirits, I made a short list of things that make me happy — and I tried to do at least one of those things every day.

At the beginning of 2019, along with a list of intentions for the year, I also expanded on my happy list. As I was making my list, I got curious about what others would put on their list, and if any themes would emerge.

I wrote about two dozen letters to friends and included a sheet of paper titled, ‘Things That Make Me Happy’. I asked all my friends to fill out their list and send me a photo.

While everyone’s list was unique, most of the lists were strikingly similar. Here are the top 5 themes that emerged and some examples.

1. People

  • Sharing a meal and laughing and sharing stories with family or close friends
  • FaceTiming or calling to catch-up with family
  • Meeting someone new

2. Traveling and the Outdoors

Watching a sunrise or sunset or taking in an amazing view

Traveling and exploring new places and road-trips

Being in the mountains, on a warm beach, or under the stars

3. Hygge*

  • Warm drinks, comfy socks, wine, coffee, fireplaces, fresh sheets and warm blankets, freshly baked goods, candles, cuddling and quality time with that special someone, receiving hand-written letters

*Hygge, pronounced “hoo-ga,” this Danish concept encompasses a feeling of cozy contentment

4. Being creative and engaged

  • Writing, making music, creating art, learning something new, reading a good book, cooking

5. Movement

  • Running, biking, or backpacking
  • Dancing

My happy list is taped to the back of my bedroom door now, and it’s a good reminder to do these things more often :)

What makes you happy? Leave a comment and let me know!


About the Author:

Andrew lives and work in San Francisco. He’s newly married, a big brother in a family with eight kids, and an uncle to two amazing nieces. A combat veteran who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, he writes about mental health and wellness, relationships, and finance. When he’s not working, you can find him running or biking, doing yoga, cooking with his apron on, or adventuring with his amazing wife. You can find more of his writing and life adventures at aahutch.com

Andrew Hutchinson

Written by

Husband. Uncle. Veteran. Therapy and yoga for mental health. Enjoy running, biking, cooking, piano, and photography.

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