A friend recently posed this question to me “What makes you happy?” This seemed easy so I started thinking of all my favorite stuff. Twenty came to mind right off the bat. Good health for me and my family, laughter, feeling love, dancing, conversation, BBQ potato chips, and a good haircut are just a few. I couldn’t let the idea go for quite a while and kept thinking of more things that I love. This was fun. This photo is something I’ve used before, but I don’t care. I love laughter and this is perfect. My daughter Christy and I are cracking up in the kitchen during our pretend Hawaiian Christmas one year. Wish I could remember what the joke was! 
As I added to my list, I realized that the concept of happiness includes key words like “contentment, satisfaction, joy, and pleasure.” Whereas, feeling loved is monumental, the momentary pleasure of gobbling potato chips fades after the last chip has been chomped. Unfortunately, as a writer I often go overboard on correct word usage, and this overthinking wastes lots of brain power. I certainly can’t afford that! 
This brain exploded nilly until this great idea hit: use the five senses as prompts. What do I love to eat, smell, hear, touch and see. And, most important of all, what do I love to experience, both physically and mentally. 
This happiness list is a great tool to use for improving the quality of your life. A contented life includes at least SOME of those things that make you truly happy, and having an actual list to refer to makes sure that you keep those things in it. Remembering to look at it once in a while is the key, though.  
Just ask yourself “What makes me happy?” and start writing. Then prioritize and maybe condense a bit. You’re more likely to use this list if it’s easy to read, and 20 items are easier to see at a glance than 100. Be sure and type it, for clarity, and put it someplace where you can refer to it once in a while. Just to check in with yourself. 
If your life is crap right now and you feel that nothing makes you happy, start small, with one thing. If you like a good book, libraries and thrift shops are full of them. Maybe you’ll think of a second thing next week or in a month. 
When you think about it, our lists are probably pretty similar, with good health in the top 10. The next step is to break each one down, thinking about what you have to do to achieve it. For instance, good health is the result of good eating habits, plenty of exercise and managing stress. Now a plan is developing. 
What started out as a fun exchange with a friend has now become kind of a blue print to follow. “Taking my time” is on my list, so I have to start putting fewer things on my list for the day. Rushing around makes me crazy. And kitchen rushing leads to cuts, stabs and broken dishes.