Happy Habits

In this day and age of lots to do and multiple devices to do it on, you might sometimes feel stressed. After watching family members, co-workers, and random strangers in the grocery store, gym, and other gathering places, I’ve come to the conclusion that we need more happy habits. Sure, most of us have developed some pretty good habits, but they’re not always happy habits. Often times, they’re more like responsibilities; you know, the kind of things we have to do (like cleaning the bathroom) or we’re supposed to do (like going to the gym every day. Or maybe that’s every other day?).

As I was thinking about my stress levels, I started making a mental list of my happy habits. It wasn’t long before I thought about one of my favorites: eating See’s candy. (Yes, I readily admit that my See’s habit is one of the reasons I go to the gym.) I have been enjoying See’s candy since I was a little kid. And when I say little, I mean little. Both sets of grandparents introduced me to the delights of See’s when I was just old enough to walk. Now that I look back on those early days, that’s probably why I learned to walk: “Brian, come here! Come on, walk to grandma! Come and get a piece of See’s!” Once I figured out what See’s was, I needed very little encouragement to walk.

One of my earliest and fondest memories of enjoying See’s candy was riding in my grandfather’s 1953 Chevy Bel Air 4 door to pick up my grandmother, who worked part-time at the nearby department store. This was in the days when seatbelts weren’t mandatory, so we kids were like dogs with our heads sticking out the windows, enjoying the cool Southern California breeze blowing in our faces. Picking up grandma also meant treats from See’s. Grandma would be waiting by the curb with a small white bag of those wonderful butterscotch lollipops.

On the drive home, my grandfather would honk the horn (which embarrassed my grandma, which only encouraged my grandpa to honk even more) any opportunity he got. Us kids thought it was the funniest thing in the world. It didn’t seem that life could get any better than those moments. Cool breeze, butterscotch lollipops, laughter, and being with grandma and grandpa. Those were good memories—happy memories to be sure. And that’s what I’m talking about: first, always be aware of opportunities to create happy moments with the ones you love. And then develop the habit of looking back to relive those good feelings when you’re feeling stressed. And even when you’re not stressed, happy memories make today a lot better, and they make our tomorrows a lot more enticing. While it’s true that you can’t relive the past, the sweet habits we’ve created because of them can sure help us minimize our stress levels. For me, a butterscotch lollipop confirms that.