”For The Moment Of Happiness”

IMG_6614

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” 
― Dr Seuss

What do you need to be happy? All too often, we list the things we want: a bigger house, a cooler car, a trip around the world, money for retirement, a new friend or lover.

While striving for more is one of the things that makes us great, it’s never wise to make your happiness dependent on it. All too often, it’s hard to bring the things we want into our lives.

But one thing you do have the power to do is let go of things you don’t want or need. Whether out of habit or because of peer pressure or family pressure, we often cling to poisonous thoughts, feelings, and individuals.

Our unrealistic expectations set us up for failure, and our addiction to toxic people and activities brings us down. And then we wonder why it’s so hard to be happy.

Well, this year is going fine, and I can say: It did. I made myself happier. And along the way, I learned a lot about how to be happier. Here are those lessons.

1. Don’t start with profundities. When I began my Happiness Project, I realized pretty quickly that, rather than jumping in with lengthy daily meditation or answering deep questions of self-identity, I should start with the basics, like going to sleep at a decent hour and not letting myself get too hungry. Science backs this up; these two factors have a big impact on happiness.

2. Do let the sun go down on anger. I had always scrupulously aired every irritation as soon as possible, to make sure I vented all bad feelings before bedtime. Studies show, however, that the notion of anger catharsis is poppycock. Expressing anger related to minor, fleeting annoyances just amplifies bad feelings, while not expressing anger often allows it to dissipate.

3. Fake it till you feel it. Feelings follow actions. If I’m feeling low, I deliberately act cheery, and I find myself actually feeling happier. If I’m feeling angry at someone, I do something thoughtful for her and my feelings toward her soften. This strategy is uncannily effective.

4. Realize that anything worth doing is worth doing badly. Challenge and novelty are key elements of happiness. The brain is stimulated by surprise, and successfully dealing with an unexpected situation gives a powerful sense of satisfaction. People who do new things―learn a game, travel to unfamiliar places―are happier than people who stick to familiar activities that they already do well. I often remind myself to “Enjoy the fun of failure” and tackle some daunting goal.

5. Don’t treat the blues with a “treat.” Often the things I choose as “treats” aren’t good for me. The pleasure lasts a minute, but then feelings of guilt and loss of control and other negative consequences deepen the lousiness of the day. While it’s easy to think, I’ll feel good after I have a few glasses of wine…a pint of ice cream…a cigarette…a new pair of jeans, it’s worth pausing to ask whether this will truly make things better.

6. Buy some happiness. Our basic psychological needs include feeling loved, secure, and good at what we do. You also want to have a sense of control. Money doesn’t automatically fill these requirements, but it sure can help. I’ve learned to look for ways to spend money to stay in closer contact with my family and friends; to promote my health; to work more efficiently; to eliminate sources of irritation and marital conflict; to support important causes, and to have enlarging experiences. For example, when my sister got married, I splurged on a better digital camera. It was expensive, but it gave me a lot of happiness.

7. Don’t insist on the best. There are two types of decision makers. Satisficers (yes, satisficers) make a decision once their criteria are met. When they find the hotel or the pasta sauce that has the qualities they want, they’re satisfied. Maximizers want to make the best possible decision. Even if they see a bicycle or a backpack that meets their requirements, they can’t make a decision until they’ve examined every option. Satisficers tend to be happier than maximizers. Maximizers expend more time and energy reaching decisions, and they’re often anxious about their choices. Sometimes good enough is good enough.

8. Exercise to boost energy. I knew, intellectually, that this worked, but how often have I told myself, “I’m just too tired to go to the gym”? Exercise is one of the most dependable mood-boosters. Even a 10-minute walk can brighten my outlook.

9. Stop nagging. I knew my nagging wasn’t working particularly well, but I figured that if I stopped, my husband would never do a thing around the house. Wrong. If anything, more work got done. Plus, I got a surprisingly big happiness boost from quitting nagging. I hadn’t realized how shrewish and angry I had felt as a result of speaking like that. I replaced nagging with the following persuasive tools: wordless hints (for example, leaving a new lightbulb on the counter); using just one word (saying “Milk!” instead of talking on and on); not insisting that something be done on my schedule; and, most effective of all, doing a task myself. Why did I get to set the assignments?

3478307-DZYBYNYI-7

10. Take action. Some people assume happiness is mostly a matter of inborn temperament: You’re born an Eeyore or a Tigger, and that’s that. Although it’s true that genetics play a big role, about 40 per cent of your happiness level is within your control. Taking time to reflect, and making conscious steps to make your life happier, really does work. So use these tips to start your own Happiness Project. I promise it won’t take you a whole year.

”Don’t Forget to Appreciate How Far You’ve Come”

”Remember how far you’ve come, not just how far you have to go. You are not where you want to be, but neither are you where you used to be.”

– Rick Warren

Appreciate What You Have:-

pexels-photo-604x270

Why is it so hard to appreciate what we have? Why is it so difficult to be sated with everything in our lives in the here and now? We always seem to be chasing the next big thing. Constantly lusting and yearning after the newest and best I’ve-just-gotta-have-it object, we move from one point to the next on this Hedonic Treadmill that we call life, and we can’t seem to get off.

The funny thing is that, for the most part at least, everything in our lives was once just a wish. We wanted that car we drive today so badly just a few years ago. The house we live was once just a goal. The people or situations in our lives were once just a wish. So why is it that, today, we can’t appreciate all of those things? How come we’re not satisfied with the status quo?

remember-how-far-youve-come-not-just-how-far-you-18012185.png

This conversation isn’t a new one. I don’t know about you, but I’ve certainly been unappreciative of the things I’ve had in my life. Although I once lusted and yearned for those things, attaining them seemed to remove their lustre and their shine. When I achieved my goals, I wanted the next best thing. I was never really happy with the things that I had attained.

It just goes to show you how little we appreciate in life. When we stop to think about it, we’re so blessed to even be alive that we fail to appreciate all of the things that are happening in our lives in the here and now. We look past the miracle and beauty of life and all the little things we have and instead focus our mind’s eye on the things we don’t have.

The food that we eat goes unappreciated until we can’t afford to buy a meal. Similarly, the roof over our heads is unappreciated until we can’t afford to have it and are effectively homeless. The clothes on our backs are similarly unappreciated. The point? We need to learn how to appreciate what we have right now because it can be gone in an instant.

Clearly, we’re not usually focused on what we have. We often focus on what we don’t have. And when we do focus on the things that we have, we zoom in on the problems, making them bigger and brighter. However, anytime we do that, those problems just take centre stage in our lives.

While there might be hundreds of ways that we can do simple little things to appreciate our lives just a bit more, there are few profound things that we can do today, right now, to harbour a bit more appreciation towards the things we have rather than the things we don’t have.

* Be Grateful:-

Relaxing-in-the-grass

Gratitude is the pathway to happiness and success in life. The more we’re grateful for the things we have, no matter how little they might be, the happier and stated we’ll be in life. Why do we have to wait until something is taken from us to appreciate it in the here and now? Learn to be grateful and count your blessings, because tomorrow it might all be gone.

Keep a journal and jot down your thoughts every single day. Write out everything that you’re grateful for. Even if it’s just for the air in your lungs and the heart beating continuously in your chest, write it down. If you can speak, read or write, then be grateful for that as well. Or, simply for the fact that you’re six feet above the ground.

* Be Present And Live In The Moment:-

how-to-let-go

It’s important to be present and to quite literally live in the moment if you’re serious about appreciating what you have. There are so many miracles that are occurring all around us, that when we stop to actually pay attention, it a complete marvel and a wonder. The simple beauty of life and consciousness is so utterly astonishing that we have to be present and appreciate it.

Take a walk in the park and literally listen to the birds chirping or smell the roses. It’s hard to do when we’re so immersed in our problems, but also a very important step to take to appreciate life. The truth is that life is a beautiful gift. It’s here today, and can easily be gone tomorrow. Don’t take that for granted.

* Stop Comparing Yourself To Others:-

i-dont-care-anymore-tumblr_mksi38rmin1s2ajc4o1_400_large

Sure, it’s easy to compare ourselves to those who have more. It’s quite simple to look to that car or house that we want and allow it to ruin our mood. We beat ourselves up over not having certain things. Why do we need to constantly compare ourselves to other people in this world? Why do we allow that to eliminate our chances for happiness?

I’m not saying that I’ve never done it. But stop comparing yourself to others. There are far more people who have less than the people that have more. Appreciate what you have right now because those small things could also be gone tomorrow. Keep that in mind next time you longingly look at someone else and wildly diminish yourself compared to that person.

* Ask Yourself Different Questions:-

identity

Sometimes, the questions that we ask ourselves preclude us from appreciating what we have. When you ask a poor question, you often get a poor answer. Instead, we need to ask better questions in an effort to get better answers. Instead of saying, when will I ever have something so nice? We should ask, what can I do today to help someone less fortunate than myself?

We need to search for ways that we can improve our lives by first improving ourselves as human beings. Appreciation of things shouldn’t arise from some monetary metric. Rather, it should come from the values that we harbour and the things that we can do in this world to make it a better place.

* Let Go Of Hatred And Negativity:-

4_Amaro_Quinn-Dombrowski

Hatred and negativity won’t serve you whatsoever. You have to let go of it if you’re serious about any semblance of appreciation or happiness in life. Hatred and anger are negative emotions that heavily weigh on the mind, constantly causing us to replay events over and over again, driving us crazy internally.

There’s almost no way to appreciate the things we have in life when we’re so consumed by the ensuing negative energy created by things like hatred and animosity. There’s no room for it in your life. Let it go. You don’t need to forget. Just forgive. I know it’s hard, but it’s an important step in the healing and maturing process.

* Smile Even When You Don’t Feel Like It:-

Girl

Studies prove that by simply smiling a genuine smile, also known as a Duchenne smile, we can lift ourselves out of depression and sadness, making us happier in life. It sounds like such a simple thing to do, but it’s truly integral to any life that harbours an appreciation for the simple little things.

Look in the mirror and smile for 20 minutes per day. Smile a genuine smile by placing a pencil between your lips and holding it there. Think about all the good things you have and all of the wonderful people in your life. Think about all the things you’ve been given that so many others would only dream to have.

* Focus On Your Faith And Belief:-

human-energy-field-glowing-girl-neon-aura-300x150

If you’re a firm believer in God, Allah, Buddha or even the simplistic power and energy that binds us all, focus on your faith and your belief in that. If you can focus on your belief, you’ll understand that Creator doesn’t put things into your life that you can’t handle. All of it is meant to serve you, to allow you to grow and mature, and to eventually reach new understandings about life.

The importance of faith is second to none. Believe and it shall be given to you. Seek and ye shall find. Appreciate everything in your life, even the problems, because they were put there for a reason. You can’t have sunshine and rainbows all the time. But when you have faith and belief, eventually, good things will go to pass as long as you don’t give up hope.

remember-how-far-youve-come-not-just-how-far-you-18012185.png

”Moments of Clarity”

50916-man-standing-sunset-dark1200u.1200w.tn

”The beauty is that through disappointment you can gain clarity, and with clarity comes conviction and true originality. Conan O’Brien”

For each of us, we have at least one moment of clarity in our lives. This moment defines us and determines who we will become from that point on. To me, this was the point in my life where I found myself on the edge. I was financial, spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically bankrupt, and I didn’t know where to turn. I had tried everything I could think of, but I could not control my drinking. Even more, everything in my life was out of control. I was completely unmanageable. Something had to change and for the first time in my life, I knew that what needed to change, was me.

”Sometimes a moment of clarity shines so brightly, your only choice is to either walk into the light – or hide under the rug”

M5untQnq

 

Moments of Clarity

I have always believed in turning points, just not as a unique defining moment when our whole perspective on life suddenly changes. Now that may surprise you considering the story I shared at the beginning of this article but bear with me.

Crossroads in life are easier than you might think to predict because – with the exception of life-altering events that are out of our control such as a catastrophic injury, unexpected health crisis, or the death of a loved one – turning points rarely happen in a vacuum.

The truth is, even if our health, circumstances or relationships aren’t quite what they should be, more often than not we let things slide. As the old saying goes, first we tolerate and then we accommodate.

But when an inevitable turning point is on the way there will almost always be brief moments of clarity that signal something in your life could use your attention.

hqdefault

The realization that you’re dreading a defining birthday (21, 30 or the big 50), a warning from your doctor about your weight or that high blood pressure, struggling to get out of bed every morning to head to a job that pays the bills but falls far short of feeding your soul, a relationship that has you thinking you really do deserve to be treated better.

You see these nagging feelings of discomfort are like pieces of a puzzle that float around in your subconscious and periodically come together to give you a tap upside the head that is your inner self is trying to get your attention “You-hoo, trying to tell you something here!”

Oh, these feelings may make you pause to consider your life, and you may even promise yourself to take action to make things better. But it’s far too easy to slip back into old conditioned patterns of living, which may not be ideal but there’s a certain comfort because at least you know what to expect.

Real change is after all hard work and to be brutally honest, sometimes we just don’t have the inner strength or commitment to go there. So we put off taking action in the hope that things will eventually get better.

images

Life in Transition

The thing is life has a habit of repeating these signals in the form of escalating wake-up calls until finally, we have no choice but to acknowledge the reality of our situation.

This is most often the crossroad where we suddenly recognize a “turning point” ahead when in fact it’s a transition that’s been in progress for weeks or months if not years.

Change can be good or it can be bad depending upon how we respond, but it is a natural part of life, and it’s often in transition that we experience some of our most profound personal growth. But change doesn’t have to blindside you.

By paying attention to what is going on with your health, career, finances, and relationships, you can learn to recognize moments of clarity for what they are, signals that your life is off course.

Incense+copy

”Eventually, all of the pieces will fall into place and your life will make sense. Until then, laugh at the confusion, live for the moment and know that no matter what has happened up to now, you will be okay. ~Marquita Herald”

The next time you experience a moment of clarity about a situation in your life, write it down and take some time to explore what’s behind the message.

Keep in mind that sometimes the catalyst for your turning point is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. In my own case, the long overdue end of a relationship was only the beginning of my transition.

4

I realized I’d clung to a job so I ended up a career change that involved leaving the corporate world for a far more satisfying career as a life and small business coach, which led to developing training courses and writing blogs, and well, being here with you now!

It is my belief that we each hold the power within us to become the architects of our lives. Personally, I feel like my turning point is continuing and I’m loving every minute of it!