03/26/2014 12:11 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Want More Happiness? It's Hidden in the Ordinary


When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down 'happy.' They told me I didn't understand the assignment, and I told them they didn't understand life." -- John Lennon

Your television may tell you that spending more money and taking lavish vacations are the pathways to happiness, but finding extraordinary pleasure in the ordinary moments, even the mundane, is your true route to happiness.

If you doubt that pleasure is easy to find without spending money, first realizing that it's your natural state, is a step in the right direction.

Ever spend some time watching children?

They are pleasure-seeking, in the moment, happiness machines. So what happens to the rest of us 30 years later? Somewhere between our younger years and adulthood, we get lost in responsibility and actually forgo pleasure as an important component of living. We buy into the belief that pleasure is to be saved for after 5 p.m., on weekends, and once a year on a two-week vacation.

To be authentically healthy, we need to find the balance between juggling adult responsibilities, and enjoying simple happy pleasures.

Balance consists of doing all those adult things we're supposed to be doing, yet having some fun in the process. We must remember happiness and joy are a choice. Dishes? Laundry? Commute to work? With a little creativity, all of it can be pleasurable.

For me, I'm more than happy to stick dirty clothes in the washer, toss them in the dryer and witness their clean, soft transformation, and then let them sit in the laundry basket for two weeks -- until they wrinkle beyond recognition. I hate to fold laundry. I loath it. So I sneak a little fun in.

I put on a motivational CD, light some incense, dump the basket on my bedroom floor before bedtime, and sit there folding and putting everything in its rightly place as I absorb some interesting information I'd never take the time to listen to during my day.

The joy I end up feeling as I go to bed with every piece of laundry in its proper place always surprises me. The task I hate most actually makes me happy when I do it in this ritualistic way.

Sound silly? What other choice do we have? Adult responsibilities aren't going away, so why not inject them with some free fun while we're at it? Creating ritual in the mundane allows us to find more joy in life.

Lighting a candle while making dinner so a warm glow shines on the chopping board makes preparing meals beautiful. Waking up to a favorite song programed into an alarm, or smelling coffee brewing in an automatic coffee maker, can make even cold winter mornings palatable.

Get my point? We have to make pleasure happen in the seemingly mundane routine of adult life.

Pleasure is a muscle that once formed and exercised, becomes habit.

When we become a pleasure seeking person creating joy in the ordinary -- our life becomes extraordinary.

Originally posted via Daily Transformations

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