If your thinking this is a strange question, it may be, however it has been the theme this month as I have been in Sydney attending the “Happiness and its Causes Conference”.
We had the privilege of being in the presence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama as he opened the conference sharing his wisdom on love, compassion and ethics. With leading minds in psychology, science and business, exploring tools and techniques for a happier life and enhancing our human potential.
Do you really want to know the secret to happiness?
We are all eagerly wanting to know that magic formula – the emerging theme from many of our experts was this – it’s in your “daily practice“.
Transforming to a place of peace, happiness and contentment is determined by what we do on a daily basis. Starting each day in a relaxed way, being mindful, choosing not to engage in negative thinking, being grateful and compassionate.
What would you do differently if you were living to your highest potential and feeling happy and content in life?
Let me share with you a few key concepts and wisdoms from some of our leaders in this field:
Professor Barbara Fredrickson a psychologist and a leading scholar within social psychology, affective science (the study of emotion), and positive psychology.
Barbara’s tips to creating new wellness behaviours each day –
- Be mindful of people and events and saviour the enjoyment of that
- Practice compassion for self and others
- Be open to what the current moment offers – choose healthy attitudes daily
- Be curious – what’s the others persons perspective
- Be kind, be of service and think how can I help others around me
- Be appreciative – appreciate and express your appreciation
- Be real – be your authentic self
Russ Harris psychologist and author of the “Happiness Trap” Russ reminds us not to get caught in the happiness trap that leads us to believe that we should strive to always feel happy.
He says that to live a full rich human life we need to feel all emotions and it is normal to experience the ups and the downs of life and the full range of emotions that are a part of that.
There were so many insights I will continue to share.
Watch out for the Loving Kindness meditation classes due to commence in a few weeks.
Did you know yesterday was International Day of Happiness?
This day is celebrated around the world each year on March 20th for everyone to focus on their connections with others and bring more happiness to each other and the world.
Many people I talk to say they would like to be happier (and what happiness looks like is different for each one of us.) But what gets in the way of our happiness is the rules we put into place to be happy.
How many times have you heard yourself or a friend say “I’ll be happy when… I lose weight or when I have more money, when I find a better job, or when I’m not so busy or stressed” – does this sound familiar?
To be happier every day we need to look at what our rules are and make a conscious choice to choose happiness even when circumstances in life may not be ideally how we want them to be.
Rick Hanson, Ph.D., a psychologist and founder of the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience talks a lot about changing our brains to create more happiness and wellbeing.
He states that everything you do creates connections within the network of your brain, and the more you repeat something, the stronger that connection gets. These connections control your reactions, emotions, behaviours, and your overall happiness and well-being.
So it would make sense that the more we focus our thinking on positive and happy things in our life we will train our brain to default to happier and positive behaviours and emotions. Yes it sounds simple yet the trick is to be mindful to do this throughout each day.
If you want to create more happiness and fulfilment you must train your brain to seek out the good things in life and focus on these things the majority of the time – try these 3 simple techniques:
- It can be as simple as being grateful; start each day by writing three things you are thankful for and start training your mind to focus on the positive. This technique has been proven to be extremely effective in creating positive mood change.
- Reframing is a technique naturally happy people repeatedly use. It’s putting a positive spin on past and present negative events so you remember them as good.
- Expect things to get better; as Martin Seligman the author of Learned Optimism says, optimism can make you happier and it is a skill that can be learned and the more we practice it the more it will become a natural way we think.
If you are looking for ideas to change your rules for happiness you may want to try some of these:
- Happiness is a way of living your life, not a destination
- The quickest way to change your life is to change what you do and what you focus on every day.
- Decide to love yourself exactly as you are.
- Own yourself. If you worry about what others think of you, you are owned by them.
- Your choice – you can either gripe about the storms in your life or go dancing in the rain.
What will you do today to make everyday a happier one?
As 2014 is coming to an end, it is a wonderful opportunity to reflect on the past 12 months and celebrate your successes and review what you have learnt and consider what improvements you would like to make as you plan for a positive and successful 2015.
It is very easy to get caught up in the busyness of life and race into the new year and just continue doing what you’ve always done; this is fine if you are feeling happy and satisfied however if you are feeling frustrated, stressed or just not sure where you are going then this is a great opportunity to stop, relax and check in where you are at and make some adjustments.
It has been a full and exciting year for me and amongst my challenges and joys in 2014 I will share with you a few of my learning’s:
- Every day we choose our attitudes and therefore our outcomes so make a choice every day to choose a positive and happy attitude(even when we are feeling challenged).
- Be clear on what’s important to you. Know what your priorities are and what’s most important in your life so you can plan activities and have time to do the things that matter most.
- Take time out for planning and reflection. When I got busy and didn’t make time for reflection and planning, I became busier and found myself getting off track. Reflection time allows us to stay on track and maintain a balance and feel happy and content.
- Keep your life in balance-(whatever creates balance for you) I find this works best when I regularly have time to stop and reflect and look at areas of my life that I have been neglecting and set goals to change that.
- Remember to have fun – sometimes when life gets so hectic we need to schedule in time to fun activities, it reduces stress and allows us to remember what life is really all about.
- Be grateful- every day I affirm what I am grateful for my life and it really does bring things into perspective and allows me to appreciate who I am and what I have in my life.
Thank you for your support and interest over the last 12 months. If you feel you need some support, guidance, strategies or inspiration to get back on track and bring more bounce into your life and business do give me a call.
Have a happy, safe and relaxing Christmas and enjoy some time out to reflect and plan for a fun and successful 2015.
It seems to be that so many people are feeling pressured and under the pump and just a little stressed out…maybe it’s the build up to the “end of year rush” before the Christmas break. When we are feeling that way it’s important to ask ourselves what could we do differently that would give us a more positive and happy result.
With that in mind I came across a wonderful poster that read “you will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.”
Its our daily habits that bring us success and happiness or allow us to get caught in the busyness and negativity that surrounds us.
I believe there are certain habits that will enable us to live life to its fullest, making the most of every opportunity. These habits are not personality traits! They are little choices that we make daily that internalize into habits.
So what can we do to create positive and healthy habits?
Paul J Meyer the founder of Success Motivation International, inspires us with his 13 habits that helps to develop daily positive habits to “Seize the Day”:
- Be an inverted paranoid: I believe the whole world is conspiring to do only good things to me.
- Be a quick forgiver: I don’t have time to waste in unforgiveness
- Be optimistic: Believing the best of people and circumstances is a sure way to find that best.
- Be Thankful: I always give thanks, keep my eyes on god as my provider, and keep a smile on my face.
- Be an encourager: Encouragers make me feel better, stronger, and more capable of accomplishing my dreams. I want to do the same for others.
- Be spontaneous: I have a sense of urgency and a do-it-now attitude.
- Be a giver: My greatest joy is giving.
- Be positive: Being positive has the potential of turning the worst situations into victories.
- Smile a lot and laugh at life: Adversity is a stepping-stone not a roadblock. Why not laugh in the midst of the challenges?
- Live life with enthusiasm: I will only live once, so why not give it my all?
- Enjoy life: I truly enjoy life.
- Find a hobby you enjoy: No matter where I am, I have something I like to do.
- Look for people to help: I get up every morning excited about the person I might help today.
Paul J Myer (Success Motivation International)
Imagine if you were to put even a few of these habits into your daily life what a positive difference it would make.