I am regularly asked in my talks, “Barb, what do you define in your life as happiness?” I smile and answer easily, “Happiness is knowing that whatever happens in my life, not only will I survive, I will thrive!”
Having this sentiment as my own personal motto has greatly helped gear my thoughts more toward the positive, especially in trying or difficult situations. We cannot predict what, when, or how life will throw us a curve ball, but what we can control is our action. The best way to take tough situations is to be prepared.
Fortunately, we have everything we need to live the magnificent life we yearn to have. Have your toolbox ready so that when something jarring arises, you're ready to take positive, conscious action that can help lead us back to peace.
Below are a few tips and tools I always have on guard to help me through whatever life throws my way.
The first tool I always suggest is meditation. Starting your day in stillness and peace sets the tone for your whole day. In a five-minute meditation, you train your mind by placing your attention on your breath, not engaging the thoughts, practicing being patient, and spending time with yourself, connecting with that deep place of calmness and strength. This time in the morning grounds you as you go into your day with the knowledge that you're carrying this peace with you.
Even in the most stressful or chaotic situations, I find that if I just take a small step back, close my eyes and focus on my breath, I find peace and relief. Many times we get caught up with the whirlwind of life and forget to breathe! Having this one small tip in your back pocket can bring so much clarity to your life.
3. Stay in the present moment.
Don't allow your mind to wander back to what has already transpired, or forward to the “what ifs” of the future. Gently bring your mind back to the present — with your breath, an affirmation or your sacred mantra — and tackle any problem you may be experiencing from there. You're in control of your own mind, so produce thoughts that are beneficial for your life in this very moment.
4. Talk it out, ask for help.
You aren't alone in life, and if you are experiencing a hardship, sometimes it’s helpful to seek guidance from a trusted friend or adviser. Sometimes by physically speaking about a problem out loud, the solution appears.
There is a place inside each of us that is unchanging, always strong, confident and ready to meet the challenges and hardships that life will certainly send our way. This is our source of strength, confidence, courage, support, and unconditional love. Trust in this inner knowing, and remember that everything that happens to us in life is meant to teach us something.
My belief in life is the “we are here to learn,” so when you have this beautiful thought that things do happen for a reason, you can shift out of the “why does this have to happen to me” mindset and into a more proactive, positive thought pattern of “what can I learn from this.” Have faith and trust that all will work out just as it should.
Life is always going to send things our way that we may not like or expect, but we have everything we need to not just survive, but thrive!
Barb is the author of The Practice: Simple Tools for Managing Stress, Finding Inner Peace, and Uncovering Happiness, available now.