Drama happens. People get upset with us, circumstances change, and life goes sideways. We can't control what's happening around us, but we can control how we respond to it.
So, let's stop letting external factors define our state of being, and take back the power to choose happiness. Here are five tips to staying peaceful, present, and positive no matter what the world throws at you.
1. Stop making excuses.
Happiness is a choice. No one is responsible for making us happy. Stop making excuses. Take a deep breath and embrace your ability to choose happiness.
2. Reflect before you act.
When a friend or co-worker is unhappy, it's easy to take it personally — especially if they're blaming you for their unhappiness. Rather than trying to fix the problem, or to escape it by avoiding the issue or the person, stay present within your own experience.
This doesn't mean becoming unresponsive to the legitimate needs of those you care about. It means staying focused, so you can appropriately analyze the situation. Take some time alone and calm any emotional reactions you feel about the other person’s problem. Notice any impulses that arise to take it on or defend your position in it. Breathe through the emotional waves.
3. Respond with intention.
Once you feel calm, objectively examine the situation. Ask yourself if you actually play a role in the other person’s discomfort. Is there something you can do to help without compromising your own boundaries? Can you respond without taking on a false sense of responsibility for their well-being? If so, make those changes.
4. Visualize resolution.
Whether you're struggling with your own unhappiness or someone else’s, practice compassion. We've all been in tough situations, so do what you'd like someone else to do for you. Send everyone involved in the situation, including yourself, thoughts of peace and strength. Visualize a harmonious outcome. Trust that each person can find his highest good.
5. Stay in your happy place.
Whether you've decided to engage in personal change, or support another in theirs, make the choice to stay happy throughout. Only you can create your happiness, through purposeful activities, loving relationships, creative pursuits, and spiritual practices. And, by sharing your happiness with others, you encourage positive change in their lives, too.