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 we are coming to the end of 2012, one of my end of year rituals is to reflect on what were the highlights of my year, note the things I would like to improve on in the coming year and to remember what I am grateful for in my life. Our life is what we choose to make it so now that 2012 is coming to a close what are you planning to create in 2013?
My end of year gift to you is to share the heartfelt wisdom of Maya Angelou that you can take into the Holiday Season…download here.
Have a wonderful Christmas and may this holiday season bring you the music of laughter, the warmth of friendship and the love of family and good friends.
I look forward to connecting with you again in 2013.
Smiles and warm wishes,