Here's a New Years resolution for you; And guess what, it doesn't require an expensive gym membership, a liquid only diet, deprivation or self punishment of any kind. Sound like your kind of resolution?
If there were one thing to try to work on this year, that will have the biggest possible effect on your levels of happiness, it's this.
As a teenager I was obsessed with a cover song of Gerry Rafferty's 'Baker Street' by The Foo Fighters. Was it the catchy hook? Was I just in love with Dave Grohl? Who knows, but one line has stayed with me ever since. Here it is;
"Just one more year, and then you'll be happy."
How sad, to have to wait a whole YEAR to be happy. Some of us wait all of our lives for the stars to align, the earth to move or a money tree to spring up in our back garden.
How many times have you said to yourself, "when I get a new (delete as applicable) job/partner/lose weight/get healthy THEN I will finally be able to be happy". I'm guessing practically ALL of us are guilty of this at least some of the time.
Stevie Wonder warns us; "They've been spending most their lives, living in a future paradise". Somehow, we always assume that the future will be better than now; that all we need is for things to be a little different, a little 'more' in some way, and then, THEN our lives can really start.
I hope I'm not stating the obvious when I say that the future never actually comes. It always evades us. With this attitude of 'the future is always better', even when it does arrive, we're never satisfied. However, we continue, like a dog chasing it's tail, to believe that life will be more excellent in the mythical future.
So what to do? Here's my suggestion; Quit thinking that the future will be better than now. Give up living for a future paradise and lose the idea that anything other than the present moment can make you happy.
Here's how to start practising this now; tune into your body, how does it feel? What do you notice? Practise paying attention to what is going on right now, using all of your senses. The best chance for you to be happy is right now.
When you full pay attention to what is going on right now and accept it just as it is, nothing can really be wrong. William Shakespeare said it best, "There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so."
As you tune into the present moment, you quieten down the incessant chatter in your mind which tells you things aren't good enough. If you listen to that, things will never be good enough and you miss an opportunity to be happy right now.
"Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans." - John Lennon
So start enjoying your life now. This is it! Right now. Every moment already contains everything you need to be happy.
Here are some tips to get you started;
- As you walk down the street, notice the feeling of your feet on the ground, the sounds around you, the colours, shapes and textures of things that you pass along the way. What can you smell? What is there about right now, that you can appreciate.
- Practise while eating - It's amazing how much you enjoy your food when you focus on every mouthful, the smell, taste and texture. When you slowly and consciously chew each bite thoroughly and really savour each bite. Who knows, you might even find yourself eating less.
- Try some Mindfulness meditation, either by joining a class, reading a book or listening to an audio recording.
This could help with a myriad of issues, from stress and anxiety, to weight management, fears and depression.
Has anyone tried this already? How's it going? Do you have any tips?
Chloe Brotheridge uses hypnotherapy in London to help people with a range of issues from anxiety and stress to IBS and stopping smoking.