For a long time, I relied on external events to be happy. Something good would happen (like I'd ace a test) and then I'd go chasing the next thrill, always thinking that happiness was just beyond my grasp. After some time, I began to understand that happiness and fulfillment were within me, and it was up to me to cultivate those qualities.
I don't know what happiness will look like for you. But here's what I do know is: happiness is a series of choices, a change in perception, and a commitment. It's accepting what is, being able to feel the dark feelings, and then letting them go and moving on. Eventually, this process becomes a piece of who you are.
This doesn't happen overnight. First, you have to want to ignite that inner light we're all born with. Then you've got to work at it, one day at a time. There are three essential tools that were huge in helping me to develop my happiness. I still rely on these anytime I'm feeling defeated. They are simple, doable, and most importantly: they work.
The ABC's of true inner happiness…
Sometimes things just suck, and that's true for everyone. Anytime you notice negative feelings creeping in, start appreciating what IS working for you. It can be as simple as being grateful for the roof over your head, having food in the fridge, or the lesson you're learning from this difficult time. The more you can appreciate all things in your life, the less room you allow for the negative to sneak in.
Full disclosure: I'm not that great at breathing properly. When I tense up, I stop breathing. So this means that anytime I feel angry, anxious, sad, or fearful, I stop dong the one thing essential to my survival! It's a conscious effort to breathe and to breathe deeply. When you do this, it reconnects you to the present and rebalances your emotional state. Through breath, you will be led to happiness.
When you disconnect from all the clutter in your life (media, work, drama), you create space for new possibilities. How you connect is going to look different for everyone. I like to meditate, have meaningful conversations, and write. It's especially important to do this when things aren't going so well because when you connect in a way that feels good to you, you'll uncover a sliver of happiness within that moment. And that will change the outcome of the future moments.
Inner happiness is as simple as A, B, C!
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