7 Steps to Lasting Happiness
Lasting happiness sounds pretty good, right? Well, here are seven steps that will help you achieve it:
Stress never caused anyone to be happier.
The happiest people are usually the most relaxed and at ease with themselves. How you view stressors is directly proportional to your ability to live a happy life. Developing the ability to relax and “let go” of stress, is crucial to happiness. This letting go includes healthily releasing anger and embracing forgiveness. If you can learn to trust yourself and trust life, then you'll be well under way to experiencing deep relaxation and happiness. Another benefit, is that relaxing changes your perspective on life - something that may have seemed “difficult” can become “easy” when you relax into it. Spend a moment connecting to your internal awareness. Now imagine that beyond your body is a field of consciousness enveloping you. This field expands outwards into infinity. Surrender to it. Allow yourself to flow naturally with the seasons of life. Just relax into it...
Imagination fires motivation. Create a dream board and dream up something new you wish to experience. It could be finding a new lover, climbing a mountain, learning calligraphy, or going back to college. Dreams motivate, inspire and expand our sense of self. They also make us happy because they give our lives a sense of purpose. Happy people usually love what what they do, and if they don't, they love who they are. Dreams remind us who we are.
Connect to a higher power. You're probably already doing this with or without knowing. Just a quick meditation or prayer is easy. If you have the time, join a local prayer group, visit a meditation center, or simply spend some time alone in nature. People who believe in a deity are generally happier than those who don't. Sometimes all you need to be happier is a little faith!
People who believe in God are more likely to be grateful for what they have, as they feel they have been gifted something. Even if you don't believe in a higher power, you can still develop gratitude. Time spent being thankful for what you have increases your capacity to be happy - it also gives you more reasons to be happy even when things don't seem to go your way. Make sure you keep adding to your gratitude list.
Shift from a state of stress to a blissful state of gratitude. How? Simply by moving your attention to the things you have in your life. Everyone has something to be grateful for. Take a moment to consider what you have compared to others. Perhaps a visit to a children's hospital or hospital cancer ward could help you to realize how much you already have.
Believe you are guided. Believe you are here for a reason. Believe in your dreams.
Take a walk on the beach, jump in the air, dance, run, swim, do yoga -- or even do a walking handstand if you like...just make sure you move regularly! Moving engages circulation and endorphins that make you feel great.
Taking yourself too seriously won't make you happy!
Somewhere inside you is a kid just waiting to be expressed. Your inner child would love you to play again. Kids express pure happiness by simply playing. Give yourself the license to be silly or strange or funny. Dance like no-one's watching, paint without fear of judgement, draw with eyes of innocence, act like spiderman or your favorite superhero, kiss with wild abandon. Promise yourself you will regularly break routines and habits by doing something new and playful. The happiest people are usually the most playful and spontaneous. Sometimes all it takes to break the routine, is a little silliness or craziness!
Cultivate a habit of sharing with others – your money, knowledge, service, wisdom, care, love. Find me a person who shares a lot with others, and you will find me a happy person. In giving, you always receive more. Not only do you get pleasure from giving, you give someone else pleasure. Giving has many unexpected benefits from attracting more happiness into your life, to inspiring others, and changing the lives of those you touch. In the end the whole world is made into a better place. Ask, “how can I serve?” Pay it forward. Give freely.
Connect with a friends and loved ones. Make sure you connect with someone you care about daily. Social support predicts longevity as happy people live longer. Support others and foment supportive relationships in your life. Love yourself. Do a daily check-in upon rising and before you go to sleep at night.
Find me a person who loves boundlessly and without reservation, and you will find me a happy person. If you have a partner, you're at an advantage as touch activates feel-good hormones and making love turns on abundant happy hormones.
Perhaps you've been holding back from truly appreciating yourself and the people in your life. Or you've forgotten how it feels to love unconditionally. For the next week, spend your daily commute downtime (either in traffic, on a bus or train, or walking/cycling) loving those strangers around you. Loving strangers opens doorways to happiness in the strangest of ways. Try it and you will find out for yourself...
To learn more about meditation, check out The Essential Guide To Meditation With Charlie Knoles.
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