I find it heartbreaking that so many of us walk around feeling a sense of unhappiness every single day, and yet…all we want as humans is to feel truly happy. We search and search for this “happiness” as if it’s something tangible we can find…but in reality, the only way to find it is to dig deep within ourselves. So, today…I’m starting that conversation and helping you dig a little bit deeper.
To begin…just a little known fact about me – I LOVE talking about all topics related to self-love and happiness. I have read too many ‘self help’ books to count on my two hands. And just to be clear – this statement doesn’t mean that I don’t have ‘rough days’, or that I don’t feel all the human feelings related to doubt, anger, frustration, sadness and disappointment. I’m a full time stay at home mom of two young girls, and I have days where I wonder if I’ll make it to four o’clock. By 7am this morning my one year old was fishing through the toilet bowl and licking her fingers while the other simulatensouly spilt coffee all over our new rug. Frustration was certainly running through my body while I semi-joked to my hubby about trading places for the day. With that said, what I’ve learned from all of the self work I’ve done is that most people live in these states most of the time.
Let me ask you this…what was your first thought when you rolled out of bed this morning? What types of feelings did you have during your work day today? What types of thoughts kept you up last night? Now to a different (and perhaps, heavier) question…Are you happy? And by happy, I mean…Do you feel fulfilled, inspired, and excited about your life? Do you believe in yourself, your abilities and what you have to offer to the world? If your answer is a big “NO”, or even if it’s an “ummm…most of the time, NO” then read on…
Reflecting back on my own personal growth (and I’m by no means an expert…more of a consistent work in progress), I have discovered that there were five areas of my life that I made big changes in. When these changes were made, I truly began feeling a deep sense of happiness and peace in all areas of my life, and the five areas are as follows:
1. Repetition, Repetition, Repetition (OR, in other words…Training Your Brain)
I remember when I first took an interest in personal growth. The first thing I learned to do was become hyper aware of my thoughts and feelings. When I started to do this, it woke me up to the realization that much of what I was thinking was negative in nature. My thoughts and feelings were often centred on what I believed I was lacking or missing in my life. It was a big ‘ah ha’ moment for me…my brain was so used to thinking this way, that it had become my (very unhealthy) ‘normal’.
And I know, ‘training your brain’ sounds very strange, doesn’t it? Let me explain further. When you engage in negative thought patterns on a daily (and moment by moment) basis, this becomes your ‘normal’ way of thinking. Some examples of negative thought patterns are: “Ugh, I look awful today” or “Of course this would happen to ME, bad things always happen to ME” or “I always get sick”…I think you get what I’m saying. In order to be happy, you must think happy, and in order to consistently think happy, you need to practice it day in and day out. To give you a clear picture of what I mean, I’ll give you an example of learning how to ride a bike. You probably practiced this over and over. At first it was difficult and challenging, balancing felt strange and it took constant repetition. Well, your brain is the same way. You are teaching your brain to engage in new thought patterns (and therefore getting rid of old ones), so keep at it…You must be deliberate and consistent. This is one of the hardest steps, because it means letting go of a habit that you’ve been partaking in for likely many, many years. So, begin by observing your thoughts, and when they aren’t so pleasant try switching them for positive ones. This will take time but I promise, it will change your life.
2. Let Go of the “Poor Me” Dance
When I first began reading self development books, this was one of the most common topics…stop feeling sorry for yourself ALL OF THE TIME, and be grateful. At the time, I struggled with this a little bit. I felt like I was appreciative of all of the blessings in my life, but I also had some health issues going on and was struggling through a major life event. I felt like I had reasons to feel a little bit sorry for myself… life is tough and I believed that it was acceptable to feel a deep sense of sadness and frustration with the situations that I was going through. But the more self development I began to do, the more I realized that my ‘poor me’ dance wasn’t getting me anywhere. Nope, it wasn’t healing me physically and sure as hell wasn’t healing me emotionally. So, I decided to make a conscious effort to stop focusing on the difficulties and pay way more attention to the blessings all around me. I tried to be very deliberate with my ‘moments of gratitude’. In specific terms, I found it incredibly helpful to find something to be grateful for first thing in the morning and again right before bed. You can set a timer if this helps, but be as consistent as possible.
This heavily relates to the first suggestion, because when your goal is to get rid of negative thought patterns, we must replace these thoughts with new, feel good ones. When we are consistently in a state of gratitude, we often times see beauty in things we would have never before. I’m a firm believer that when we actively pay attention to the things around us that are beautiful, happiness flows in.
3. Don’t Assign Your Own Happiness to Anyone Else
This is a big one for me. When I first began my personal improvement journey, I would allow other people’s words, thoughts and actions to seriously impact my own happiness. It was “their fault” if I felt sad, angry or defeated. “How could this person do this to me?” “They ruined my day”, etc. Any of these statements ring true for you? Well, this is a lot of people’s realities…so if it does, it’s so wonderful you are acknowledging it and on the road to fixing it. And what’s even better is that it’s incredibly empowering when you realize that you are fully in control of every single emotion you feel. You have an active choice on how you interpret, feel and respond to other people’s words and actions. You aren’t a helpless bystander of your own thoughts and feelings, you are the driver of them and you can choose happiness always.
4. Discover What Gets You Excited, and Do It Often!
The reality for many of us is that much of our life is spent doing things that unfortunately we may not love (i.e. working at jobs we aren’t truly passionate about). This is an unfortunate reality, and we don’t always have the freedom to quit our day jobs and pursue a life of pure passion. For some of us, life can begin to feel boring or uninspiring. In order to counter act these feelings, you need to be aware of things in your life that excite you, and do them as frequently as possible. Do you have a hobby you simply love? Do you have a deep interest in traveling, or playing an instrument? Have you developed a love for running or building things? When you talk about this particular thing and you beam with happiness and excitement, then you have discovered a passion. When you partake in this passion on a weekly basis, it will make room for a natural and authentic happiness and you will be in alignment with your true self.
5. What You Give Off, You Get Back
I have discovered that the Law of Attraction is an incredibly powerful thing. Yes, our bodies are physical entities. But more than that, we are all made up of energy. A question for you…Have you ever been in a room with someone and felt an overwhelming sense of irritability or sadness? How about the opposite…have you spent time with someone and felt incredibly happy and inspired simply by being around them? That’s because we are constantly transmitting energy – good or bad, and that directly impacts other people, our environment, and our own well being.
When we begin to introduce new thought patterns that are positive, we start ‘vibrating’ at a much higher frequency. When this happens, you will begin to notice that who and what you attract starts to match what you put out. You may meet a friend who radiates the energy you do, or you may find that a job opportunity arises that you felt was out of reach. The bottom line – when you radiate happiness, you will begin to notice that various areas of your life will begin to come into ‘alignment’ and people and opportunities will start to show up in various places.
If you’re reading this, I challenge you to start implementing these changes in your life today. Be deliberate, consistent, and honest with yourself, and reap the benefits.
Lots of love,