What would you say if I told you there is a way for you to attain and increase your level of happiness and have it last?
From the moment you’re born, happiness is the one thing that we all strive to attain.
Happiness is your birthright.
Founding Father Thomas Jefferson knew this when he said, “We have an unalienable right to the pursuit of happiness.”
So what is happiness?
It depends on who you ask. Happiness is subjective to the individual and what makes one happy may not have an impact on someone else. This subjectivity makes the definition of happiness difficult, let alone the idea of achieving it.
While the triggers responsible for feeling happy differ from person to person, in spite of its subjectivity, universally we can agree, happiness is an emotion we feel.
Some people experience happiness when they find their ideal mate, when they make love, when they are comfortable in their skin, when they achieve a certain goal, or when they buy certain things.
Ninety-nine percent of the time we are seeking and chasing happiness in the external world. For many people, happiness is based on possessions, achievements, and circumstances. We have been conditioned to believe that happiness comes from an external source.
So why are there so many unhappy people in the world?
We live in a world driven by instant gratification, consumerism where we have no qualm about going into indefinite debt for the simple pursuit of the golden ticket to happiness.
We often obtain the things that we think will make us finally happy just to find out that we have arrived and we are not happy at all.
We find the ideal mate; we achieved the perfect weight, we land the perfect job, we buy all the new toys and what happens?
A short time after, we find ourselves unfulfilled. The chase starts, the cycle repeats all over again for the next thing that is going to give us the next high of happiness.
The race for happiness is a race that never ends, and this belief is like a drug addiction. We get our next fix; our bodies get a momentary taste of happiness, energy, and clarity. Once we get used to the external stimulus, its effects wear off. We live in withdrawal for the next fix. You chase the next and the next.
In a short time you realize that you are not getting the same high you used to, so you strive for more – a higher dose to obtain the same effect.
For our brains to get the same feeling of satisfaction, the excitement needs to be higher than the first, and the cycle is a never-ending recipe for perpetual emptiness and dissatisfaction.
We have an epidemic in our society of unhappy people. A report in a podcast recently stated that one in four American adults are unhappy. We live always looking over someone else’s fence. We are caught in the illusion that someone else’s grass is greener than our own.
Happiness is not a thing to acquire.
Happiness is not a thing you can chase.
Happiness is not something to obtain or buy.
Happiness is a state of being. It is a state independent of reason, circumstances or things.
Have you noticed some people are always happy while others are not?
Every wonder why?
Studies show that each person has a range of happiness, a set point in which they operate and that range differs depending on the person, much like your weight. Unless you take drastic measures, your body fluctuates in a certain range. Well, the same can be said for happiness.
Fortunately for us, there is a non-drastic way to increase our range of happiness.
We have within us the means to increase our range of happiness and have it last longer than we have been accustomed to in the past. Where science once thought that our happiness was partially the result of our genes, new advances in genetics are now eradicating that notion.
We are not a victim of the genes that we were given. We are not a victim of the past. Discoveries in epigenetics and neuroplasticity show that our perceptions, thoughts, and emotions can influence and change our genetic makeup.
Changing our subconscious programming, thoughts, beliefs, and emotions can create new neurons and grow new neural-pathway connections in our brains giving us the control to create a new reality.
Therefore, our thoughts and emotions influence our happiness set point.
What does this mean?
You can create your state of happiness yourself without the external stimulus.
“Your Happiness is an inside job.”
The following are techniques that you can use to increase your level of happiness:
Stop Playing the Victim:
You and only you are responsible for your life. You are the co-creator of everything that happens to you. Yes, you read that correctly. You are the architect, and as such you are responsible for every event, action, and circumstance in your life.
You are made out of pure energy, and your thoughts are powerful transmitters signaling vibrational waves into the universe which mirrors back to you things that are in your same frequency wave.
So energetically you attract things to your life; the good, the happy, the ugly, the painful, the love, the grief – everything in its totality. So be aware of what you allow to take residence in your mind.
Take responsibility for your happiness instead of relegating that role to someone or something outside of you to fulfill it. Stop blaming the world and start being the change you want to experience. Dr. Joe Dispenza says it best, “You can’t create a new future as a victim.”
Change Your Thoughts and You Change Your World:
“Change how you look at things and the things you look at will change.”
That is a powerful quote from one of the greatest teachers ever lived, Wayne Dyer. Or if you rather a more common saying, “Shit happens.”
Things will always happen. It is how you react and change your perspective about those things that will cause you to increase or decrease your range of happiness.
No matter what painful circumstance you are going through, learn to see the gift.
Everything we face in life is there for a reason and 99 percent of the time it brings a lesson you can learn to help you evolve and change. You just need to be willing and open to see it.
Rather than looking at things happening ‘to you,’ learn to see them as happening ‘for you,’ to teach you something that will propel you closer to your destiny.
Stop the blame. Blaming others excuses you from taking responsibility for the life you have created.
You have the power to choose how you react to circumstances. The power is in the way you think towards things. You can react in ways that will add more stress and anger, or you can react with acceptance and learn to see things for what they are and not for what you think they should be.
Expecting the world to behave through your lenses and preconceived notions is a quick recipe for disappointment.
Instead, find the silver lining in things. I am not saying that this will work 100 percent of the time, but many of us spend our lives not trying to find the gift even in ten percent of the things that happen for us.
Life can be as beautiful or as difficult, but it all depends on what lenses you chose to see it through. I love a story I read many years ago about two men sharing a prison cell. Through the same window, one man sees the bars and the other man chooses to see the stars.
Change your story:
Only by changing your limiting thoughts, beliefs and fear-based emotions can you create new possibilities for your life. Your world is a reflection, a mirror of your inner state of mind and it will reflect that which you think about.
We think about 70,000 thoughts a day, and those are the same thoughts that you had the day before. Ninety percent of those thoughts you are unconscious of.
What is the story you are playing in your mind?
For most people, their story zaps happiness out of their lives.
They say that every story can be the drama of the victim or the drama of the hero. Which are you?
It is simple. Your level of happiness is in direct proportion to the stories that we tell ourselves to be true about us and the world that we live in. Be mindful of what you allow into your mind because what you think about, on the consistent basis, you manifest.
Remember just because you think a thought doesn’t make it true.
Make peace with your past.
Living in the past and holding on to old hurts and disappointments is a quick way to never reaching happier ever after. Make peace with the past, so it does not ruin your present and your future.
Grieved what needs to be grieved.
Mourn what needs to be mourned.
Forgive what needs to be forgiven.
Lose what needs to be lost and that is how you begin to heal your life.
Forgiveness leads to healing and healing leads to peace and peace leads to happiness.
Being present in the moment is important because the present is the only time you have. It is called a present for a reason because it is a gift.
The best gift you can give yourself and those you love is being fully present at that moment without worrying about things you can’t control.
Easier said than done. I know. But with practice, you get better at it. I am giving you the strategies. I do not claim these strategies will be easy. What I do claim is that these strategies are worth it. If you want to be happier that is!
Focusing on the past or the future simply robs you of the happiness you can experience by staying focus in the moment. Staying present reduces the depression associated with living in the past and the anxiety of living in the future.
Guess what? There is nothing you can do. You can’t control either so why bother taking away from your today to worry about something that may or may not happen tomorrow anyway.
Don’t live your days on autopilot. Be mindful of the things that surround you. Stop to notice the beauty in the world. The little things we take for granted that are there to add meaning to our lives.
When was the last time you went outside to notice the moon?
Stop a moment and walk barefoot on the grass. Close your eyes on a sunny day and just feel the warmth of the sun on your face.
Look at someone in the eyes when they talk. Don’t just hear your children when they talk, listen.
Next time you hold your partner’s hand touch, feel the texture of his or her skin, the temperature.
Kiss with your eyes closed and kiss deeply.
The next breath you take right after reading this, try to gift your lungs with slow and deep breaths.
We are all guilty of going through our days unaware. We miss all the beauty. Break the habit. It is tragic that we humans only appreciate and notice things once they have passed, once they are gone, once they have died.
Notice and appreciate everything while you can, while it is still there. Especially your loved ones.
Don’t notice how much you appreciate the light until the light its burning low. Don’t miss the sun only when it starts to snow. Don’t value your family until you are missing home. Don’t realize how much you loved and needed your partner until you have let her or him go.
Live a life of purpose:
Find something that you love. Dig deep for your special gift. We all have one. Find it and share it with the world. It may be something that you are already doing in your job, and if that is the case, you are fortunate. If it is not, find it. You will know when you find it because it will resonate at the core of who you are.
It needs to be something that is bigger than yourself and not self-serving. When you live your life with purpose and passion, it is difficult to feel depressed.
Focus on Gratitude:
I’ll let you in on a big secret.
The people who are happy for no reason are the ones who have learned to want for nothing more than what they already have.
My friend Michael is an example of that. We were talking about life and our children as we often do, and he said it beautifully, “I don’t want anything new, I just want more of what I already have.”
Brilliantly said, and if I knew nothing else about him, for me, that was enough.
Focus on the things you have in your life rather than on the ones you think you lack. This is the shortest shortcut I know, to not only experiencing happiness but to also sustaining it.
Find beauty and appreciation of the little things as the little things amount to the big things.
Try starting your day giving thanks for the things you have; your health, your kids, your job, whether it is the one you love or not, be grateful you have one.
Be grateful you have someone to love.
Be thankful you have clean water to drink, electricity, a warm bed, eyes to see.
Be grateful for the cold, snowy days because they make you appreciate the sunny summer days.
Be thankful for the storms because the stronger the storm, the more beautiful the rainbow.
Gratitude turns what you have into enough.
The more you practice gratitude, the more of it you will experience in your life because we live in a reflective reality.
Whether you realize it or not, the Universe mirrors your inner world. You attract what you think about.
Neale Walsch, Author of: Conversations with God, tells a story that best illustrates my point on being grateful for what you have: On his deathbed, a man tells his wife to come close as he has very little strength and little time left and wants to share a great lesson. “I’m going to tell you what I’ve learned. Remember this always: each morning the moment you take your head off the pillow you have all you need.”
You can’t chase happiness.
You have to PRACTICE happiness.
Be the change inside that you want to attract and reflect to the world.
Practice the habits that contribute to living in the emotions of peace, gratitude, appreciation, forgiveness and watch your life go from sickness to health, from surviving to thriving and from disappointment to happier ever after.
As happiness guru, Shawn Achor says, “Happiness is a choice.”
Make it your choice!
Wishing you all a HAPPIER LIFE!