Happiness is what we are all searching for on our journey of health to happiness. We want to feel good about ourselves every day if we can. Knowing that there are steps out there that can help us along this path makes things even better. This should bring a chuckle and some happiness to you right away knowing there are tips to get you going fueled with joy and happiness, and here they are. (Image by the half-blood prince via Flickr)
“Top Tips” to happiness that we can follow to start seeing a difference:
Wake Up Happy– As you wake up, take a few moments to become aware of the world around you; feel of the bedding, the quality of the light in the room, the sounds in the house and the sounds outside. Tune in to your breath and prepare yourself for whatever is coming next. Take a minute or two just for yourself. Gaze out of the window and take in the sounds of nature or the city – the world is waking too.
Find Peace – sit quietly for some time each day so that you have the space to pause for long enough to recognize and connect with how you really are. Practice mindfulness meditation is a way of bringing gentle and kindly attention to the moment by moment experience of sensations in the body, emotions and thoughts. Sometimes the rush of everyday life can force you to lose touch with yourself, and this in turn means you are less in touch with your children, husband, colleagues, and the environment around you.
Spend time in nature– Our lives are full and complex and giving ourselves time to connect and feel the ground under our feet gives us a place to stand. Step aside from constant doing by giving yourself time to be in nature, by running for the pure joy of running, or by immersing yourself in music. When we do this we find that we naturally connect in kindly ways with people around us. When we connect with ourselves we are discovering more deeply what it is to be human. It is easy to empathize with and be kind to others when we are in touch with this. We then don’t need a goal or a resolution to make us think of others – it comes naturally
Image by AlicePopkorn via Flickr
Mindfulness Meditation – Practice meditation to recognize these moments when our minds are slipping into unhelpful negative habits that we have rehearsed many times in the past. Take some time just for yourself. Follow your breath and settle inside yourself. These are rare moments, time just for you.
Spend more time with family – spending time with people we care about. There is a happiness that goes beyond momentary pleasures. It is an ease that arises within us when we connect with ourselves and our world with care and kindness, and we allow our speech, our choices, our actions in the world to align with this connection and kindness.
Live for the moment – If we have a practice like mindfulness that supports us in recognizing our moment to moment experience, we will be able to spot ourselves falling into old patterns, and so open the possibility of being able to step back, to disentangle ourselves and to take care of ourselves at these difficult times, which in turn helps fend off depression
Giving to others – Small acts of kindness really do help to make a difference in the world. This can be achieved by donating to charity, volunteering or helping an elderly person cross the street. Research clearly shows us that the good feelings that come from giving arise for both the giver and the receiver. Indeed the giver is the one who gets the biggest boost of good feelings – researchers track this by measuring shifts in serotonin and dopamine in the brain.
Be Kind to Yourself – Kindness isn’t something that we can just offer to others. It isn’t possible to sustain kindness if it is only being offered outwards whilst our own internal environment is filled with criticism and negativity. The kindness can take many forms – allowing ourselves to feel sad can be a deep kindness – particularly when our usual pattern is to berate ourselves for feeling this way; making less demands on ourselves when we are feeling troubled; or seeking out what we need to nourish ourselves like the company of a good friend, or some solitude, or rest, or exercise.
Take up a hobby or learn a new language – Joining new activities support us to see the world in new ways, with fresh eyes. For many, the default can be to stay within our comfort zone. Exploring ways that we can gently push our edges, challenge ourselves is a great way to nudge us towards new possibilities. How we gently challenge ourselves will be different for each of us – it might be a new job, taking on a new hobby, taking a mindfulness course, or volunteering. Strange though it may sound, for some it might involve doing less – deliberately creating spaces that don’t have an agenda, slowing down.
With these steps at hand you are ready to conquer the world with a new happy attitude that everyone will compliment.