As a life coach, I always ask my clients, “What do you hope to get out of our work?” The most common answer by far is, "To find joy in my everyday life.” The simplest way to achieve this is to see happiness as a choice you make every single day.
It’s a concept we’ve heard before. Ghandi said, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” We’re just focusing our energy on something more specific. You want to find happiness? Embody it. Here’s how.
1. Take charge of it.
Ask yourself every day, “How can I be happy?” No, we cannot control our circumstances. But we (and only we) control our response to them. Do not give that power away. One of my daily practices is positive affirmations. I have sticky notes everywhere, just reminding me of things I want to keep at the forefront of my mind. For example: “I AM worthy of being happy.” If you’re the only person responsible for your happiness, no one else can take it from you.
You are the author of your story. You can write and rewrite it as many times as you need. If you want to be a different person, a better person, a happier person, you just have to decide to be. For many years I allowed other people to determine my mood and emotions, and it wasn’t until I’d developed an eating disorder, anxiety, and depression that I finally decided to own my life.
Don’t allow others to dictate your emotions. No one should have that power over you.
2. Make the journey the goal.
It’s easy to be so focused on the destination that you don’t see all the beautiful scenery along the way. I used to spend every day looking forward to the next one, thereby entirely robbing myself of any joy in the present moment.
The process is where the magic happens. As we make mistakes, we learn, and we grow. Not honoring and acknowledging every step of your journey can actually impede your progress, keeping you from reaching that finish line. Stopping to smell the roses isn’t necessarily a detour. Sometimes it’s the whole point.
3. Do you.
Value yourself enough to take time to recharge. The way you treat yourself shows other people how to treat you. If you engage in drama, you are inviting other people’s drama. On the other hand, if you’re happy and calm, you invite that energy.
4. Seek balance.
We can be fooled into thinking more work is the secret to success. We wear the 80-hour work week like a badge of honor, sending 3 a.m. emails with pride. But if you consider what really matters to you, you’ll realize it’s the intangibles. It’s time spent with the people you love and experiences that can’t be replicated.
Having boundaries makes you a better employee and/or leader, a better parent, significant other, and friend. Not to mention, it’s a crucial element in lasting happiness.
Choosing to be happy is not difficult. The hard part is following through every day. It is a practice. Over time, it becomes easier to not get sucked into the negativity around us. We’re as happy as we make up our minds to be.
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