Stop Wasting Time on How to be Happy

happy Jan 10, 2019

Close your eyes and visualize happiness...

What do you see?

Does it take the form of money, a person, a relationship, a job, or good health? You may have all of these things and still feel unhappy. Others have none of these and yet radiate joy. How can this be?

Step into your courage with a different approach to happiness. Stop wasting time seeking a face outside of your own to bring in fulfillment. When happiness is a moving target in your life, like a job, a vacation, or a person, you will forever be seeking and unfulfilled. Start cultivating habits of self worth and personal empowerment instead!

Here are a few of my particular favorites:

1. Limit your social media usage.

Sure, social media platforms suck time, but unchecked, they can also sap self-worth. Social media posts only show one side of a situation and it’s often the most beautiful, profitable, and desirable side. As a result, you subconsciously compare yourself negatively against others and are potentially left feeling worthless and under-achieving.

And when you primarily follow or friend accounts in accordance with your own social values, a heavy dose of social media engagement can also leave you angry or disheartened over a political or social cause.

Curb this energy vampire by limiting your scroll time and only follow profiles who leave you uplifted and recharged at the end of a session.

Ruthlessly control what comments, images, and headlines you invite directly into your day. Be in control and notice an uptick in your mood!

2. Give what you want to receive.

Do you know the zen riddle about the man and the stove? The stove says to the man: give me wood and I’ll give you fire. The man says: oh no, you give me fire first, then I’ll give you wood. A silly riddle, but a good reminder that you must give first in order to receive.

The world reflects back to you your thoughts and actions. When you learn to trust that giving sets receiving in motion, you reap enormous rewards.

If you want to be loved, love someone, everyone. If you want respect, show respect. If you want honesty, speak the truth. If you want kindness, be kind to everyone, even those difficult people who come into your life and challenge you to behave as your best self.

Put down your phone when you are sharing a meal with someone. Maintain eye contact. Give one hundred percent of your focus to the person or people with whom you spend your time and experience the abundance of the universe flow into your life.

3. Drop your resistance.

Resisting what is and where you are shines a spotlight on negativity. Acceptance alters the light’s course to shine on the beauty of a situation.

Every situation has both positive and negative attributes. Life is complex and very few things can be classified as all good or all bad. Perspective plays a part. Choose to see the good.

Unhappy in your current job? Make a list of the skills you’ve gleaned and why you are now more qualified for that next opportunity. Stifled in your current relationship? Fully embrace this feeling because although uncomfortable, it shines the light to reveal your options.

Resistance is dark and lonely and hides possibilities. Acceptance generates light to reveal help and opportunities that were previously hidden.

4. Build your community.

In all of the award acceptance speeches you’ve ever heard, has any recipient ever said, “No one to thank here, I did this all myself!” Success takes a village! Are you cultivating yours?

Start simply and expand outward. Invite your neighbor over for coffee. Make eye contact with your local barista and waitstaff at your favorite local hangouts. Before dismissing these interactions as superficial small talk, realize that life is comprised of these small day to day interactions.

In weightier situations, like family and work, ask for help. (As a one woman show for many years within my own business, every day was a struggle until I put as much focus into building my team as I put into perfecting my product.)

See success and community as infinitely bound together. Building your tribe alleviates burnout and magnifies your success. 

5. Meditate.

A strong community is only one half of the equation to happiness. Alone time and inward reflection are equally necessary.

Meditation doesn’t mean sitting crosslegged on the floor, surrounded by candles and incense. It may, but simplicity is equally effective and less intimidating.

Download a meditation timer app (I currently use Zenso, but there are many options) and begin with 3 minutes of quiet time. If the silence is too daunting for you, play a piece of meditation music that is 3 minutes long, and use that as your timer. Sit comfortably with a straight spine and focus on each inhale and exhale through your nose. You can do this at home in the morning and evening or at work at your desk in between phone calls and meetings.

6. Exercise regularly.

Dropping into your physical form through movement pulls you out of your head, where your problems live, and into the beauty of the present moment, which is alive with possibilities. A daily dose of movement melts away stress, alleviates anger, and imparts a fresh perspective on old problems. Just a daily twenty minutes of focused movement can change your body and your attitude!

As long as you identify with happiness existing outside of yourself, you will never experience true fulfillment. Stop grasping for happiness. Cultivate a life well lived with a handful of simple daily rituals. You’ve got this!

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