Happiness is a practice, a decision and a discipline
We all want to feel happy right?
But so often, we don’t feel happy right now. We might be hoping to feel happy later, when we leave work; when we have dinner; when we get home and see our partner/children/dog; when we go out with a friend; when we are doing a hobby we love. But what is stopping you from feeling happy now? Is it the external activity you are doing – or how you are feeling internally?
You can be doing anything and feeling happy or feeling sad/angry/negative/low. Happiness is an internal process, a decision to feel happy has to be taken. It is not what is happening in your life externally. Yes, you might feel a surge of happiness as you leave work, as you get home, as you get ready to go out, as you watch a great film, as you have physical intimacy with a partner. But these aren’t the only moments when you can feel happiness.
You can have an inner sense of happiness, peace and contentment all the time, if you choose. When you are doing household chores, when you are commuting to work, when you have had an altercation with someone. You can learn to not let external circumstances affect your inner sense of peace and contentment, if you choose to and if you practice mindfulness practices with a kind discipline.
Life has it’s ups and downs, and its challenges. But by staying open in your heart centre, by connecting to your deep inner feelings of love, for yourself and others, you can have a feeling of inner contentment, peace and happiness at all times.
And from this place, you are powerfully connected to your inner guidance, and your creative problem solving facilities.
What can make you feel happy right now? Changing your inner awareness and focus.
- By practising living in the present moment, by drawing your attention back into your present moment experience, you can learn to let go of the negative/troubling/challenging thoughts that you have going around in your head. Very rarely in our present moment experience are we having actual difficulties; most of them are in our heads – worrying about something that may occur or ruminating over something that has passed. The quickest ways to bring your attention back to your present moment experience are by focusing on your breath, or an aspect of your physical body.
- Gratitude is one of the most powerful tool to shift your attitude to your current life circumstance. Look around you right now and notice all the blessings in your life – your physical health, your friends and family, your financial situation, your job/career, your partner, your home. Any of these that immediately bring up negativity – please explore a bit further.
- Letting go of situations and dramas that you don’t need to get involved in. By keeping your life simple, by focusing on what is – not what has passed or what may or may not occur.
- Letting go of judging, gossiping about or criticising others (or yourself). Letting go of negative self-chatter.
- Helping others to achieve better lives, helping others to be happy, helping others to reach their goals, to feel more comfortable and offering others a loving listening ear. Helping others is considered in Buddhism to be one of the main ways to feel happier inside yourself.
- Humans are recognised as having a “negativity bias”. Observe if this is the case for you. If so, choose to stop indulging it. Stop complaining, don’t join in with idle gossip. Spread love, positivity, encouragement and especially towards yourself!
- Lighten up. Don’t take life so seriously. Learn to laugh at yourself and the crazy unhelpful thoughts you have going around in your head. Do you want to believe them? Or do you want to have fun and enjoy your life? Seek out things and people that make you laugh and fill you with joy. Skip, jump, sing, dance, pull silly faces – lighten up your life.
These are just some simple but potentially powerful examples. Please add other things to this that enable you to feel contented, fulfilled, happy inside and at peace in the world.