What is the secret to happiness? April 30 2018, 0 Comments
Happiness. That elusive state of being. We all want it but can't quite seem to find it or stay there for very long. I spent years searching for it, mostly in external things that I naively assumed would bring me joy. Yet still it escaped me. Instead I found myself stressed out, burnt out and overwhelmed. I was giving to everyone else and there was nothing left in the tank for me. Underneath the noise, when I got really quiet, I could hear a faint whisper, telling me there was another way. I'm so pleased I listened, because there really is another way. Life is meant for living. It's not meant to feel hard or meh all.the.time.
Your roadmap might look slightly different to mine but I believe there are some essential ingredients to this happiness formula.
1. Make a conscious decision to feel good everyday. Commit to a non-negotiable practice or devotion to feeling good. What are you going to do or how are you going to ‘be’ to feel good? Will you be mindful in the shower rather than being on autopilot and running through your to-do list. Really feel that delicious hot water hitting your body. Will you put your favourite music on while making the breakfast and have a dance off? Will you think about what you’re grateful for when stuck in traffic instead of stressing? Will you come to yoga with a friend to find peace and calm in your day?
2. Tune in first thing on waking. Spend a few minutes tuning into your body, mind and spirit - your state of being. How do you feel? Tune in and notice without judging it as good or bad. Notice your thoughts, again without judging. If you wake up thinking you’ve only had 4 hours sleep and you feel tired, and this is the story that runs all day long then you’re going to feel tired. Instead notice this is your experience without judging it as good or bad, just accept what is, then let it go. Don’t let that run your day. Of course you can also decide to do something that will energise you - take a shower, make a green smoothie, move your body, meditate.
3. Check in throughout the day with gentle awareness. Awareness is key! If you’re living on autopilot throughout the day you will pass the days and weeks away without stopping and focusing on feeling good. Feeling good will just be incidental. So make feeling good your daily priority. If you feel resistance to feeling good, do something where you feel less resistance. For example, if you’re putting off your meditation practice even though you know it's good for you, mix it up, get outside and go for a walk instead. Once you’re outside on your walk and in the moment you’ll feel less resistance to meditate. Take the pressure off and let go of any self-imposed rules about what your feel good practice ‘should’ look like.
4. Remember that life is a series of moments. Be here now. In the present moment we aren't ruminating about the past or worrying about the future. We are 'simply being' in a non-judgemental and intentional way, tapped in and tuned into our senses. Enjoy the journey. Don’t wait to arrive at Point B before you start choosing joy, peace and contentment. If you wait for external circumstances to change, you will never find what you are seeking. Be happy first, then you will arrive at Point B, C and D. Everything you desire will be attracted to you, the right opportunities will pop up, the right people will cross your path and life will feel much more effortless. Follow the cookies crumbs. Listen to your intuition. This moment is all we have!
5. Live and love unconditionally. Choose to stay on the ship, even during rough storms. Learn the life skills to keep you from drowning or going overboard into the water. Learn mindfulness so you can respond to life rather than react. Don’t wait for the conditions to be perfect before being happy. “Even though I feel stuck right now, I choose joy.” “Even though my child isn’t doing what I want right now, I love them anyway and I choose peace.” “Even though I haven’t met the ‘one’ yet, I love myself and I am worthy. The one is on the way.”
6. Recognise that happiness comes from within. While we are built for connection, you can’t rely on anyone to make you happy. You are 100% responsible for your own happiness and for your own feelings. That may sometimes seem hard to take or believe but it’s absolutely true. Once you accept this then you can start to take the small steps towards living a more joyful and fulfilling life.
7. Practice self-love and mindfulness. Be kind and compassionate to yourself always. This isn’t just by doing things that are nourishing but also being mindful of the way you speak to yourself and showing yourself compassion every single day. Become your own best friend and be quick to forgive yourself when needed. Know that you are absolutely enough just for being alive. Continue to spend more time tuning into the present moment, non-judgementally. Remember too that these are practices, not quick fixes. It's the small, consistent steps that lead to big changes.
8. Have an attitude of gratitude and a empowered mindset. Research has proven just how beneficial gratitude is for our happiness. Focusing on what we have and all we are thankful for means we’re not focused on the negative. When we are grateful, it’s impossible to feel bad! You can’t help but feel warm and fuzzy inside. Our mindset, perspective and attitude is also essential. The lens in which we view the world sets the tone for what we believe and how we show up. It’s impossible to cultivate positive, lasting change or be truly happy when we are stuck playing the victim. The victim blames others for their unhappiness, doesn’t take responsibility and always has plenty of reasons why something isn’t possible and loves to throw pity parties. If you can relate to playing the victim, start with bringing gentle awareness to this and start to shift your perception.
9. Monitor your thoughts, feelings and actions. If you always think the same thoughts, feel the same way and do the same thing, you will keep recreating your past. Your thoughts and beliefs they lead to your feelings and this dictates the actions you take or don't take. Start to tell yourself a new story that is more accurate than the one you're currently telling yourself. Most people I work with have two core issues I see come up time and time again. They feel unworthy or 'not enough' and they don't like feeling out of control. Both of these scenarios suggest that you've disconnected from the essence of who you truly are, disconnected from the present moment and are living from a place of fear and doubt, rather than love and trust.
10. Seek support and guidance. If only we came with a detailed instruction manual on “How to be happy.” The thing is we don’t. Don’t waste 1, 10, 20 years or more trying to find out on your own, reading self-help book after self-help book. Working with a coach can help you tap into your inner guru and connect with your intuition. As an occupational therapist, life transformation coach, self-love and mindfulness mentor I can teach you how to understand and utilise the power of your mind, tailor your own self-love and mindfulness practice so you can enjoy the journey and create the life you truly desire. You don't have to stay stuck on that exhausting hamster wheel. Learning and mastering life skills that lead to happiness is one of the most loving gift you can give yourself.
If you'd like to discuss what takes you away from experiencing more joy and find out what is holding you back, book a free discovery session here. There is no need to go it alone. If you're experiencing a life transition or mid-life crisis, feeling triggered, anxious or stressed regularly I'm here to tell you there is another way. I offer individualised 1:1 coaching, online group programs, mindfulness meditation sessions, workshops and retreats. If you'd like to join my free Facebook group you can do so here.