Ever notice how ephemeral happiness is?
One minute you’re high on life, enjoying good company and a beautiful sunset, the next minute you’re spiraling into an argument, in the depths of emotional struggle.
How is it that we can feel so good in our lives and then BAM, we do a 180 and we’re anxious, angry, afraid or just downright down on life?
You might think it’s because of what’s happening to you or around you. You might think it’s because of an accident or a break up or getting a pink slip.
But TRUE happiness, the kind that comes from within, doesn’t vanish into thin air the moment life throws a curve ball.
The brand of happiness that comes and goes is the brand that is dependent on external circumstances. We can’t control the world around us so we are subject to ups an downs if we are sourcing our happiness from there.
This includes depending on ANYTHING or ANYONE outside of us to feel good. If you choose to rely on external factors for happiness you are choosing a very risky way to lead a happy life. It makes your happiness a gamble!
Sure you can still enjoy the happiness that external things bring you…but can you imagine if you were also able to feel good no matter what was falling apart around you? If you could source something inside of you to keep you happiness level stable and flush?
Here are the top 10 secrets you need to know to build happiness from the inside out:
1. Adopt a daily practice to optimize your inner life.
This includes observing, managing and cleaning up your thoughts, beliefs, emotions, attitudes and especially your habits of mind. Starting your day of with a personal practice of even 5 minutes that includes meditation and/or journaling is a way of keeping your inner life clean and positive. Your thoughts create your reality, they are the seeds of the future you are creating. Make sure you are encouraging high quality thoughts in your mind daily to set yourself up for sustainable happiness.
2. Express your emotions.
It’s important to fully feel and express your emotions so that they don’t get stuck in your system. It takes up a lot of energy to push down or neglect emotions and when we keep emotions locked up inside they will significantly influence our mood and choices for the worse. Many of us never learn how to feel safe expressing our emotions so we just don’t! The first step is to simply acknowledge that you are having the emotion and from there allowing yourself to breathe through it for at least 90 seconds so it can pass through and out of you.
3. Align with your values.
If you’ve never done an inventory of your core values, this will be ground-breaking for you. It is very challenging to design and create a life that supports inner joy if you aren’t aware of what’s most important to you. Once you identify your values it is much easier to make choices that are authentic to who you are deep down every minute of the day, from what you eat to who you hang out with to what career you choose!
4. Move your body.
Exercising in a way that you love will stimulate the release of happiness-hormones in your brain. YES, the experience of well-being is also influenced by the chemicals you trigger within you. Exercise has been clinically proven to decrease depression plus us it has so many other benefits we all already know. Even in small amounts, building this in daily helps sustain happiness from the inside out.
Gratitude is a happiness shortcut. It’s another thing that has been proven to release favorable chemicals in the brain. Even vague gratitude will do the trick so you don’t even need to know what to be grateful for, just start saying “thank you!”
6. Take radical personal responsibility.
See if you can see all of what happens to you as something you have created, consciously or unconsciously, on purpose or not. It’s called “radical” because it feels a little crazy to agree that we create all of our reality especially things we don’t like, like a health problem or loss of a loved one. This isn’t a blame game but rather, it’s an invitation to consider that we are all participating in a much bigger “cosmic creation picture” than we can image. When we take responsibility for our part (whatever that part may be) in what happens to us and around us, it gets us out of victim mode and empowers us to take action towards right change.
7. Connect to “Something Bigger.”
I recall an article that was published in National Geographic magazine last year about the power of belief. It demonstrated that people who believed in a higher power of any sort proved to be more successful, lived longer healthier lives and were significantly happier in their relationships. It’s well worth establishing a higher power of your own, one that you can truly believe in and communicate with through prayer or in nature. This higher power can also become a constant source of love, worth and validation so you no longer have to source it from others!
Generosity will unleash wild unconditional love in your heart. Once again, there is a proven chemical reaction in the brain when we give that gives us a happiness boost. It’s essential to ditch the “get, get, get” attitude that is so rampant in our consumer culture and start thinking in terms of “what can I give?” Not only do YOU benefit with an immense increase in well-being but the receiver of your generosity benefits too and that has a huge happiness ripple effect!
9. Keep good company.
Be mindful and intentional about who you are hanging out with regularly. Thoughts, ideas, beliefs, behaviors and habits are all contagious. When you spend a lot of time with negative or unhealthy people, you will ingest all of the above and you will carry it around with you wherever you go. Think about it: if you have coffee with someone who complains incessantly right before a job interview, what energy do you think you will carry into the interview?
10. Ask for help.
There’s a common belief in our society that we are supposed to figure all of life out on our own. Gone are the days when we had a tribal elder or wise-person that was a built in mentor for the community. On the flip side, thanks to technology, we have access to more people now then we ever had before. Find your guide, find your mentor. When we have a touch point to someone or many people who can bolster us when we are fumbling through life they help us build our own inner stamina that sustainable happiness can emerge from. We were never meant to learn or know it all on our own!
11. (BONUS SECRET) Always, and I mean always, look for the humor in every situation.
Our sense of humor is our 7th sense and it is greatly lost to us!! Don’t take my word on this, just try and watch what happens!
Which secrets will you implement to create sustainable happiness in your life? Remember knowledge is interesting and all but it’s worthless until it is applied or implemented.
If you want to learn more about implementing your own personal Happiness Practice to create sustainable happiness in your life, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can show you how.