How To Be Happy
One thing I have noticed throughout lockdown is the propensity for people to moan. I mean there's always been moaning, but for some reason there's been more. The majority of people haven't taken the changes in lifestyle well at all. Some even go as far to cite that lockdown is an infringement on our human rights and is illegal. Whatever your situation though we all want one thing and that is to be happy. In this blog I'll explore some of the ways you can be happy and how you can turn a difficult time around to be one of more joy.
"There Is No Way To Happiness – Happiness Is The Way"
This quote from Thich Nhat Hanh rings true like the Westminster Chimes welcome in the New Year. To me, the essence of the saying is that happiness is not goal that can be attained. Instead it's a by-product of doing (or not doing) certain things. The most important thing is the choice. Everything we say and do, everything we feel, every way we react - they are all choices. Ergo, happiness is choice. You can choose to be happy...or not. I don't mean for that to sound glib and unfeeling but the reality is it's true. That's not to diminish feeling sad when a loved passes on; grieving is a very natural and necessary process. However, should the fact that they've died preclude your happiness?
Ask yourself now – “What makes me happy?” Go on, do it. Write down a list of things that make you happy. Are you doing any of these happiness inducing things on a regular basis? If you aren't try to include at least one thing every single day that is going to make you happy. Now write a list of things that make you unhappy. Be honest. How many of your 'unhappy' list are you doing regularly? My list of happy things includes: going for a walk, playing music, watching someone be a success, spending time with like-minded people. My list of unhappy things includes:Social Media, other people's bad manners, overthinking, lacking motivation. I do things to make sure my Unhappy List doesn't come into fruition.
I'll Be Happy When...
Let's face it we've all used the phrase “I'll be happy when....” - I find my soulmate, I get promoted, I win the Lotto, I get my new car. By using those four words alone you are feeding the thought of being less than you want to be. That in turn is going to feed the feeling of being unhappy. So why do we do it? Why do we put conditions on our happiness? One of the reasons is that it seems to be the way most humans hobble through life. Rather than choosing to be happy every day simply because we're alive we choose to impose restrictions on ourselves. That's not to say that any of our desires won't actually add to our happiness but they shouldn't be mutually exclusive.
One of the best ways of being happy is to have an attitude of gratitude. Be grateful for what you have. If you don't think you have anything to be grateful for here's a few things to get you started: are reading this so you have eyes to see and a level of education that enabled you to read; if you are wearing glasses you were able to visit a specialist who tested your eyes and obtain a prescription to see clearly; if you're reading this on a computer, phone or any other device then you have the technology at your disposal to do amazing things if you choose to....the list could be practically endless. A simple change in thought pattern could make a huge impact in your happiness levels.
Five More Ways You Can Be Happy
1. Change your negative words into positive words. I did a post about Transformational Vocabulary which stated that in essence your words have power. Rather than saying things are s**t, think of yourself on being on the road to a turn-around. Don't have problems, find solutions. Don't think “I have to...” change it to “I get to...”. “I have to pay my bills...” changes to “I get to pay my bills so I can...[continue enjoying the internet, hot water, heating etc.]”
2. Be mindful about what you share on social media. There are so many fake news items, conspiracy theories, and general tosh that we're made to suffer if we choose to scroll endlessly through our timeline. Personally I've taken a break from it all and I'm loving it – though I am missing some lovely updates from friends I'm sure. Anyway, before you share that petition and berate the powers that be; or you share Katie Hopkins' latest blather ask yourself – has it made you happy? If it didn't, why share it? As I said at the start, we all want to be happy, so why do something that isn't going to make others happy? Why make potentially make people annoyed, angry or upset?
3. Be compassionate. As the Dalai Lama said “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” The easiest way is to recognise similarities that you have with another person, rather than looking for differences. Here's a good starting point...we're all human! That's not to say that you should be best friends with people you don't have much in common with. Nor should you tolerate people who push your buttons, are generally rude or just simply not the kind of person you with whom you wish to spend time. But, recognise that like you, they're seeking happiness – it's just they have a different set of life rules they follow.
4. Be Peter Pan! The brain cannot tell whether you're doing something that makes you happy or just thinking about it. Therefore, think happy thoughts!
5. Create a happiness container. This can be a box, a jar, a nice bag...anything – but make it something lovely! Anytime you experience something that makes you smile, made you joyful, given you satisfaction, or yes – made you happy, write it down on a slip of paper and pop it in the container. Anytime you need a boost of happiness you've got all these lovely pieces of paper to look at!