All of us have the ability to be hard-hearted. Life brings pain and trauma, and our ability to love and be vulnerable becomes compromised. Physically, our upper spines round, our pecs become too tight, and metaphysically our heart chakras become imbalanced. So why are some people perpetually happy and successful in life? They obviously have pitfalls and struggles too. Here are five tips to help you stay smiling.
1. Happy people are resilient.
Life knocks everyone down, but staying down only leads to misery. Have your day of wallowing and then get up, dust off, and try again.
2. Happy people are open.
Being hurt makes you never want to feel pain again, but if you want to be happily successful in life you have to open yourself up to new opportunities—and the chance to get hurt again.
3. Happy people know sadness is temporary.
Viewing the snowstorms—and occasional blizzards—that we all go through in life as showers before the sun shines is a must. Yoga teaches us balance. Call it yin and yang, light and dark, because whatever you choose the meaning is the same. Unfortunately, we all have to experience negativity in life. How you deal with it is where the true challenge lies.
4. Happy people choose to be happy.
Here’s another thing my physical yoga practice teaches me—how I react to stress on my mat is a choice. I can be angry and frustrated or I can choose to lighten up and take it one breath at a time. Sometimes that’s all you can do in life off of your mat as well—smile, breathe and choose to see the world as a generally good place that occasionally flat-out stinks.
5. Happy people fake it.
When I was waitressing, I had to put on a smile and be kind even if I just had a terrible fight or some other personal distress in my life. The way I looked at it was that for all I know, this could be someone’s special anniversary or birthday and who am I to spoil it when my job is to bring these people food and a good experience? That carried over into the realization that misery doesn’t have to love company, and that sometimes simply pretending to be happy makes you feel better. I’m not suggesting that you hide your feelings—I’m big on communication and sharing. What I am suggesting is simple—sometimes you have to fake it to make it.
Happiness doesn’t have to be some pie-in-the-sky dream that we only see in movies, but the thing is that we often have to work at it. We see these happy, successful people and assume that they are “born that way” or “lucky.” The reality, though, is that like most wonderful things in life, happiness is mindset that for many of us takes—wait for it—practice. Learning that we have the ability, more often than not, to deal with a situation in more than one way is liberating because it gives us some semblance of control over things that we have no control over. So when life hands you lemons, try making some kick-butt limoncello—and try choosing to be happy during the process. I think that’s step one.