This I know for sure
Happiness is a choice. If you can’t be happy, wherever you are in your life, then chances are you won’t be happy when the things you think will make you happy occur. Being happy isn’t about acquiring stuff or making lots of money or being super fit. What I have found is that happiness is about making those moment by moment choices to be at peace, to be grateful, to focus on the positive aspects of you, your life, and the people around you. It’s about self-love, believing in yourself and treating others with kindness, love, respect, and compassion.
Happiness is an inner journey
Happy people live in the present, able to accept and love the person they are and stay committed to showing up in the world the way they want and choose to be. Being happy means having meaningful connections with people who matter to you and knowing that you matter to others too. It’s about having peace, confidence and joy in your life, and being crystal clear on your own self-worth and loving yourself completely.
Choosing to be happy, no matter what, is perhaps one of the most important life skills you can master.
So here’s what you do:
Reframe: Life shows up for you based on the lens you use to look at it. If you are using a pair of red tinted lenses, everything will look red. Change your perspective. View your life or situation from a new lens, a new perspective and imagine reframing how you now choose to see things. What new context can you apply to see things differently?
Release: Living a life without limit to your happiness requires you to be open to raising your own personal ‘thermostat’ for joy and happiness. By detaching yourself from the past, you release the hold it has on you and empower yourself with the freedom to soar. You cannot choose happiness and remain anchored to your past at the same time.
So, let it go.
Accept that the past was what it was. No more. No less. We can’t go back and change or fix any of it, no matter how much we may want to. And, so it just is. The stories we create about what our past means about who we are today and our value or worthiness, are just that – stories. They don’t define us and they are no more factual than a Dr. Seuss tale.
Retrain: Although happiness exists deep within us, we often have to retrain our brain to keep focused on it to experience it in our lives. Develop these new skills by being committed to practicing consistently. These practices will assist you with being fully present.
What to practice:
Deep Breathing: For 15 minutes daily, inhale to a count of 5, hold your breath for a count of 5, and exhale for a count of 5. Just focus on the breathing and the counting to help you stay focused. Deep breathing relaxes every cell in your body and relaxes your brain also. Either sit upright (do not slouch) or lay flat to ensure unobstructed air to your lungs. Use this practice anytime you feel anxious, upset, or angry to help your body and brain relax.
Gratitude: Begin your day with a moment of gratitude and appreciation before you even get out of bed. Keep a daily gratitude journal and write down all the things you appreciate and are grateful for about yourself, your life, and the people and things that are already in it. Learn to focus your attention on and appreciate all that is present in your life right now.
Positive language: Change the way you speak – to yourself and others. Words are so very powerful and they create your reality.
For example, if I keep telling myself that I hate the rain, and I keep telling all my friends and family that I hate the rain…and every time it rains, I say to myself, “Ugh, it’s raining. I hate the rain! Today is going to be a bad day!” How am I going to feel? Terrible, of course!
But, what if instead I started telling myself, “Rain makes things grow! All the flowers and trees I love need the rain to grow and blossom and look beautiful. Rain makes lots of big fun puddles to splash and dance in.” And actually went out and played in the rain…how do you think I would feel then? I would have completely changed my reality. I would have changed the lens I used for perspective, as well as the words I used to think about it. My experience of rain would then be different. And so, instead of being unhappy each time it rained, I could retrain my brain to experience joy.
So, choose your words wisely. You can also include positive intention and affirmations to help focus your brain on positive words and ideas.
And, remember, no matter who you are or what you have been through you can choose to be happy, right now.
Dr. Samantha Madhosingh, Psy.D.
Speaker and authorof Magnify your brilliance: 5 Keys to Emotional Freedom