No matter how diverse we are from our neighbors in other countries; people from other religions; those who have different philosophies or even our neighbors down the road, one thing is certain, and that is that we are all striving for happiness.
Even though this is a global quest and a commonality amongst Men there still does not seem to be a tangible recipe for happiness, because being happy isn’t quite as simple as having money or being famous.
On thing that we can all agree on however is that the true meaning of happiness is a feeling of joy in ones heart. It is quite a stretch to say that it would be easy to always feel joy, but some people do seem to experience more joy than others, or to lead more fulfilling lives. What is their secret?
When you look at the advice from teachers of different origins and you look at people you know who seem more fulfilled, some patterns do start to emerge.
Stress is probably the thing that most often stops us from feeling that joy in our hearts. And the thing is that that being stressed out is habitual. Yes, feeling like you are always in a rush, that everything always has to be done right now, that someone is always waiting for you is a habit. Take a deep breath and slow down. Enjoy your cup of tea. I promise you that you will not suddenly become tardy. You may instead begin to see that a lot of the stress that you carry around is all in your head and the things that stress you out are not warranted.
Trust your God, or our Universe, however or whomever you believe created you. Trust that you are on the right path; that things will work out for you. Trust that you deserve to enjoy your life. Trust your family and your friends and most of all trust yourself. Much anxiety is caused by a lack of trust.
Don’t Take Yourself So Seriously. Lighten Up
Being happy is a choice. So choose it. Learn to laugh at yourself. Also when we take ourselves very seriously, we create the perfect playground for our ego, which is certainly not a desirable factor in cultivating happiness.
Just as happy thoughts can create a smile, so can a smile create happy thoughts. What’s more, when we project a certain feeling, we often get that feeling back. For instance if you are in a grumpy mood, you are most likely to find yourself in altercations with other people who frustrate you further. However if you approach the day with a smile, you are most likely to come into contact with people who are happy to assist you. What this basically boils down to, is that a smile will make the people around you feel good, and those people in turn will feel good and project that back at you. A smile creates a smile, creates a smile.
Be Present. Enjoy the Small things
This is your life. Be present, choose to participate in your life, and take joy. Enjoy the view; cooking dinner for your loved ones; the smell of the cool crisp air when you leave for work; the beautiful and eerie light that the sun is making on your trip back home; the smell of your pets fur; the story you husband or children are telling you. Take joy in it all!
Notice how many blessings you have and give thanks for that. Remember that we are what we perceive, and that our thoughts create our future. So if you start to notice the blessings around you, you are going to feel more blessed because you will notice more and more of the things that make your life wonderful. There are blessings everywhere. Some of us just walk with our heads facing down so that we can’t see them.
Accept the Good with the Bad
We live a dual existence, which means that positive and negative things happen all the time to all of us. At the same moment that a baby is born, or that an entrepreneur makes his first million, or that a child passes their first exam, someone finds out that they have lost their handbag or that they have been let down by a loved one. Recognise that we cannot change the past but we can relish the present and look positively to the future. Good and bad would not exist without each other. Each one is there to teach us a lesson or to shine a light on the experience following on from it.
Be clever and put energy towards things that you can actually change. You will never be happy being anything but yourself, so the sooner you treasure the wonderful and unique combinations of traits that make you, you, the sooner you will be able to attract experiences and people that really satisfy you. If you don’t accept who you are, you won’t know who you are, and if you don’t know how you are, how can you know what makes you happy?
Know What Makes You Happy and Pursue That
Happiness like anything else needs to be cultivated. So like anything that is grown – what is put in, is what comes out. Treat your experiences as your happiness food. In order for there to be lots of happiness in your heart, the experiences that feed it, need to be happy ones. Sit down and find a space where you can be really honest with yourself. Write a list of all the things that make you happy and then see how much time you are dedicating to those things in your life.
Make Someone Else Happy
When you can make someone else feel good or smile, you are left with the fuzziest feeling in your heart. Maybe it’s because when we see how easy it is to make someone else happy we recognise how much potential we really have to be happy ourselves. Or maybe it’s because at the end of the day we are all connected, and in some way we all care about each other, even when we perceive ourselves to be strangers. At the end of the day, I think most of you would agree that it’s the happiest people that are usually the most giving and the most enthusiastic about the well-being of others, and unfortunately, the less happy people that are more selfish and demanding.
Forgive and Forget. Let Go
Imagine that you are jug that can only hold so much, and that the thing that you are holding is energy – both good and bad. You obviously want to try and hold more positive energy than negative energy, and that by releasing negative energy; you create more space for positive energy. Well holding on to grudges and to pain created in the past gets carried around in your heart and your soul in the same way. Its heavy and it takes up space where happy energy could be instead. So recognise those negative feelings, give thanks for the experience, and then let them go!
Sing and Dance. Express your Joy. Laugh
When you are expressing joy, you are in the moment, you are showing how grateful you are, you are living in the present, you are making others around you happy and you are releasing unwanted stress!