Most of us go through life with the idea that happiness is something that comes to us when we obtain a certain thing; popularity, money, riches, fame, the right job, the sports car, the dream home, the perfect body. It seems that we are always chasing that elusive something:
“WHEN I get _____, THEN I’ll be happy”
“WHEN I am _____, THEN I’ll be happy”
We are always waiting for that certain something to appear in our lives before we give ourselves the permission to be truly happy. We allow our state of being to be at the mercy of our circumstances and give all of our power away to what we believe is out of our hands; fate.
We are living in a world full of instant gratification, living for short term, fleeting happiness, to fuel for our egos, and mask our dissatisfaction. Addictions in all forms, are an extension of this need that we have to gain quick, instant moments of joy, satisfaction, happiness, euphoria. Junk food, exercise, social media, shopping, sex, or tv addictions, as well as drug and alcohol abuse, are all forms of escapism – a way to get happy, quick. But the problem with these habits and addictions is that the ‘happiness’ that we are seeking is always short lived. Until we find a way to obtain real happiness, we’ll continue to sabotage ourselves over and over again.
Happiness is not only a choice, it’s a commitment. It is something that needs to be worked on, every single day. It is not a result of any outer circumstance. It is not a result of anything, other than our decision, commitment, and mindset. It requires discipline and dedication. But as with anything that requires our attention and commitment, the more we practise, the easier it becomes.
So how do we Choose to be happy?
Live With Intention
Who is it that you want to be in life? What do you want to have be or do? Find your mission, find your purpose, and let it guide you. When you know what you want from life, then you can begin to live intentionally. Decide who you want to be, and start living that life, now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. Not next year. Now.
Establish A Routine
Develop a routine that sets you up to become that person. Creating healthy habits and routines that aligns with our intentions is one of the best ways to change the way we feel about our lives. These habits and practises can include, but aren’t limited to;
A Gratitude Practise
Begin to see all the good in your experience, and you will quickly discover that we have so much to be grateful for. There are so many benefits to living with a gratitude mindset. Start and end your days by listing at least 3 things that you are grateful for, and really feel into it. It should feel really good. See more of the things that you want and focus less on the things you don’t. Remember, we live in a Universe of abundance, not lack, we just have to choose to see it.
Journaling can look different for everyone, but may include writing affirmations, intentions, gratitude lists, habit tracking, stream of consciousness or ‘brain dumping’, where we unburden our brain by getting our thoughts out onto paper.
The act of being, not doing. Giving ourselves the time to simply be, invites mental clarity and happiness, and reduces stress and anxiety. We all know the benefits that mediation can have on our wellbeing.
I know, this seems like a pretty obvious one if you want to live more happily. But it can not be under-stated – the power of positive thinking is immense. Catching our negative thoughts are replacing them with thoughts of optimism, joy and gratitude, can and will literally re-wire our brains to respond differently to triggering situations. We will be better equipped to deal with any events in the future that would have otherwise made us angry or upset.
Have you ever heard of “Helpers High”? When you are kind and helpful to others, your body releases endorphins and the happiness hormone, serotonin. These are responsible for the feelings of satisfaction and joy that we feel when we are being of service. Being kind to others is one of the best ways that we can be kind to ourselves. It’s a win win.
Surround Yourself With Happy People
Get honest about the people you spend the majority of your time with. If you are constantly surrounded by negative people, maybe its time to distance yourself. Sure, you can influence others with your new-found happiness, but if they aren’t taking the bait, it might be time to expand your group of friends with people who align with your intentions.
It would be impossible to monitor each of our daily thoughts. It is estimated that the average human being has up to 60,000 thoughts a day, and more shockingly 80% of these are negative. It no wonder that we are all searching for that quick ‘happy’ fix.
Sometimes we feel as though life is something happening to us, that we have no choice in the matter; we are at its mercy. Things happen; stresses, challenges, road blocks and upheavals are all a part of life. We can’t always control our circumstances, but we can decide how we respond, we can decide how we feel.
Every day we are bombarded with choices, and ultimately most of us make our choices based on our desire to experience the best of our lives. There is no decision we can make for ourselves that is more important than that of choosing to be happy.
The choice is yours. What will you choose?