I’ve been thinking about happiness lately.

What makes me happy…let’s see. Flowers make me happy. I love to have lots of flowers around my house and in my office…but I haven’t bought myself any flowers in months…need to start buying flowers again.

What else makes me happy…let’s see. A big bowl of angel hair pasta with Victoria marinara sauce makes me happy. Yes, I do love my pasta and I love to sprinkle freshly grated Parmesan cheese over it too…ooh…that’s yummy…that really makes me happy. Add a glass of Pino Grigio and all that would make me happier is enjoying it in Italy.

Sitting on my deck in the sunshine makes me happy…so glad I was able to do just that this weekend. I watched the squirrels scampering around my backyard…that makes me happy too. Watching the bunnies hop around makes me even happier…pure joy…pure joy. Although, I would be truly happy if I had my big deck umbrella to put up to block the sun. I don’t have my umbrella because my son decided to leave it outside all summer and some bees decided they would build a nest in the umbrella and then we had to throw it out. Bees do not make me happy…never did and never will. I only like the honey they produce.

I listened to Cathy Greenberg, Ph.D, last week at one of the many women’s conferences I have attended lately. I listened intently because she is the author of “What Happy Women Know” and I want to be a happy woman. She talked all about ‘happiness traps’…there were six of them:

1. Wanton Wanting – getting things you don’t really need (ahh, yes, I did buy a bunch of clothes this weekend…not sure I needed all of them…I was happy right after I bought them…and when I got home I cleaned out my closet …emptied out all my old clothes that don’t fit me anymore…that made me even happier…no, I didn’t throw out the Ralph Lauren suit from the ’80s…too many memories…I think I will keep it forever…maybe eventually it will come back in style…then I will be really happy).

2. People Pleasing – peace keepers…we make connections (yep, that’s me…I try to keep the peace all the time…have been doing it since I was a teen…yep, I get into that happiness trap quite a bit).

3. If Only I Were – this is a fun trap (hmm, if only I were younger, if only I were taller, if only my nose was smaller, if only I had straight hair without any gray hairs, if only I had less wrinkles. That’s enough of this trap…if, if, if.)

4. What Would I Be Without – this trap is a tough one to conquer (maybe because I’m in the middle of finding out – what would I be without my husband – yes, I’m finding out – I’m strong, I’m weak…I’m weak, I’m strong.)

5. Holding A Grudge – Dr. Greenberg says “if you don’t forgive you are stressing your body.” (I don’t want to carry anger and stress with me. I want to be happy. At 50, I very rarely hit this trap anymore.).

6. Circling the Career Track – Dr. Greenberg says that the last happiness trap is getting wound up in your career. (I am pretty wound up in my career…have been for the past 25 years…but, I’m trying to conquer this trap too. I do need more time for relaxation. Maybe if I learned how to relax more I would be happier. Maybe if I would relax more and do more yoga and be able to do the dog and the pigeon asanas I would be happier.)

I think tomorrow I’m going to conquer one of these happiness traps. I think I’m going to treat myself and go to Starbucks on the way to work and try out some of their new Perfect Oatmeal for breakfast. I just read that you can get different toppings like brown sugar, nuts, and dried fruit toppings on the oatmeal. I’m getting happier just thinking about it. I might even leave early and read my New York Times at Starbucks while I eat my oatmeal and drink my coffee.

Better get to sleep so I can wake up in the morning and go get my oatmeal. Maybe I’ll even sleep better knowing that I’m going to wake up and be happier tomorrow morning.