Happiness doesn’t depend on any external conditions, it is governed by our mental attitude. Dale Carnegie

Yesterday, on the fifth day of my holiday in Montenegro, I finished reading the third book on my Summer Reading List: The Kicking the Bucket List by Cathy Hopkins. Unlike the other two previous books I read, this is a work of fiction. It is the story of three sisters whose mother has recently died leaving them a list of tasks to complete before they can inherit. The mother’s aim is to teach her daughters that life needs to be seized while they can and that they can achieve true happiness if they know where and how to look for it. The three sisters had grown apart over the years but as they undertake each task, they start regaining the bond that they had in their childhood.

At the end of the book, Cathy Hopkins gives a list of ten things we should do in order to become happier people. I love lists since it is easy to measure my progress as I tick along.

Ten Steps to Happiness

  1. Let go of worry. Still some work to do here, as I am a worrier.
  2. Let go of blame. Nearly there although it comes and goes…
  3. Let go of people you’ve outgrown or bring you down. Tick.
  4. Let go of the need to always be right. Tick.
  5. Let go of the need to be in control.  Still need to work at it but getting better…
  6. Let go of self-criticism and feeling you have to be perfect. Done.
  7. Let go of anger and complaining. Almost there…
  8. Let go of the need to impress anyone. Done.
  9. Let go of working too hard. Absolutely done!
  10. Let go of believing that happiness lies in the past or the future. Working on it.

I score 5 out of 10. This is not bad, as a few months ago, I would have scored 0.

Now I can appreciate the present without letting the past drag me down, without regretting my past choices and without worrying unnecessarily about the future. Every day there are beautiful things to enjoy: watching the reflection of the full moon on the water, feeling the heat of the sun on my skin, meeting new people, swimming in turquoise blue water, watching a dolphin bob up and down. And there are many more things to look forward to.

I am undeniably on my way to happiness. Something which I could not have even imagined two months ago, when I was suffering from anxiety and panic attacks.

The journey will be difficult and prone to accidents and setbacks but the destination is unquestionably worth it!

Happiness, here I come.


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