I know that life is filled with ups and downs. People feel sad, distressed or even a little bit lost every once in a while. But, these emotions and feelings do not define us, they do not define our day, our month or even our year! We have the power to change our thoughts, manage our moods and handle those tough situations. We have to think positively! Happiness is always within reach, we just have to make a few tweaks to our everyday habits to achieve that.
So, here are 6 ways to achieve more happiness in your life:
Gratitude is a beautiful example of long term strategy over instant gratification because when you express gratitude, you do feel a little better. But generally, it does not make you feel euphoric, ecstatic or joyful. It just makes you feel a little better. It shifts your perspective. There is research that shows that if you express gratitude on a daily basis, for 30 days, your perception of your own happiness goes up 25%. We have to look into long term strategies which maybe in the instant, are not as effective but in the long term, they help you raise your set points of happiness.
You express gratitude for the things that you are grateful for in your work life, your mission, your purpose, in your personal life and for the things that you are grateful for in yourself.
2. Being Present
Another methodology is the idea of being present. In reality, time is an illusion. There is no future and there is no past. Most of the unpleasant emotions that we feel, have something to do with either the future or the past. If we are scared or stressed, it is usually that we are afraid of something that might happen in the future. Usually! If we feel resentment or anger, these negative emotions are usually rooted in the past.
Happiness is the emotion you feel in the present. If you move happiness to the future, it will become excitement. If you move happiness to the past, it will become nostalgia. But the truth is that the happiness, the true pure joy, is in the present moment and ONLY the present moment. If you practice consciousness, bringing yourself back to the present moment will over time work wonders. Your set point of happiness starts going up. You walk out into nature and you feel the freshness of the air. That’s the moment to be happy about because there are so many times that we don’t even notice how we breathe or what we see around us. When we do see these things around us, we don’t bring ourselves back to the now to notice. Life might just pass by without you truly learning what happiness is.
You know in personal growth, we have the idea that transformation starts with taking on personal responsibility onto yourself. We don’t need anyone for happiness. Happiness is within you but if you’ve ever had a child who is sick or a parent who is sick or even a fight with a person that you love, with a friend, with a spouse, you know it is very hard for this wisdom to make sense in that very moment. In a moment when something is happening to you and your loved ones, it is okay that you do not feel happy. It is okay because you are a social being.
What is ‘I’? Is ‘I’ just a physical body? Does the perception of me include you or does it only include myself? As long as I have myself, I will be okay but it is also okay to not feel so happy when something is wrong with the person who is really close to you. You have to surround yourself with people you love, care about even if it means being unhappy if something happens to them. Scientists have shown that people in relationships are healthier, heal better and they love longer. The reverse is true.
Social isolation is an epidemic in the current day society despite Facebook and Instagram. But it is also because of Facebook and Instagram that we are forgetting how to interact. We are forgetting what it is to truly connect to each other. Social media is another layer that we put on ourselves. It is another thing that we have to learn to deal with and not to lose the social connection. Social isolation is the number one killer in the current day society because social isolation makes you less likely to heal from cancer or cardiovascular diseases. Relationships are important not just for our happiness but also for our health and longevity. The strength of your social relationships are super important for happiness.
It is clear that you cannot truly be happy unless you are happy with yourself. But how do we know the difference between healthy self-love and self-centeredness? Almost all the bad things we do to other people are because we don’t truly love ourselves. Because if we truly love and accept ourselves, we don’t need to prove anything to anyone. We don’t need to prove anyone wrong. All the unhealthy stuff happens when you don’t have self-love. People who seem like they are self-obsessed, this is them compensating for the lack of self-love.
You do not need anybody’s approval to be okay with yourself. When I hear someone say ‘Oh they are so full of themselves’, that is the problem, we do not see, we only see the mask, we only see what social media shows us. We do not see the void and the pain of those people. There is no such thing as too much love for yourself. You cannot be happy unless you truly accept and love yourself.
5. Dealing with the negative
When we talk about happiness, we often talk about shifting the perception. Looking at things or seeing the light versus the dark. But the truth is that there is both light and darkness. There is going to be negative in our life. The art to learning to be happy is not to ignore or not notice the negative or be okay with the negative. It is actually to learn to work with it. What do you do when you feel a negative emotion? First of all, you acknowledge that it exists, you give it a true, fair and honest name without spiritual bypassing. You actually acknowledge that this is what you feel and you allow yourself to feel it. Every emotion feels a certain way in your body which actually helps. I like the connection between the emotions and physical body because by translating your emotions into physical body, it is easier to work with them. So, let’s say, if you feel fear and it is somewhere in your stomach, just relaxing that part of your body really helps. Or if you feel anger and it’s in your chest, breathing deeply really helps. After you let it be, that’s when you’re ready to move on and transform this emotion. But you have to let it be.
One thing that life will throw at you are negative emotions! It can be in the form of you being upset with someone and we very often think that if we forgive, the evil is not going to be punished so we don’t want to forgive. But the truth is that forgiveness is not a practice for anyone else but YOU. Being upset with someone is like taking poison and hoping that the person who upset you is going to suffer. If you are upset with someone, if you are angry with someone, or holding a grudge against someone, the only person who is suffering is you. ONLY YOU! The moment you realize that forgiveness is not about the other person who has hurt you, but it is only about you, you will have much more motivation to work on that.
You cannot help anyone if you are not happy. Be Happy!
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