I recently interviewed fellow author Dr Robert Holden for an event I'm running later in the year. Robert works in the field of positive psychology and well-being and has written many books on the subject, one of which is called 'Happiness Now'.
We were talking about how we look for happiness in all the wrong places, mainly in the material world - food, clothes, gadgets and so on. We believe that the things we're taught to covert are the things that will bring us lasting joy and happiness. Yet they often don't. We may get a temporary fleeting high, but it quickly wears off leaving us with that all too familiar void inside.
We are in an endless cycle of chasing happiness. How do we end this fruitless cycle?
Robert shared something that really hit home.
He said that happiness doesn't come from the outside world; happiness is in fact an inside job! Every person that finds real happiness in life at some point made a decision to be happy.
Happiness is simply a decision we all have to make.
We can look at some of the poorest poverty-stricken families in the world, yet they seem to find joy and happiness in their daily lives.
Happiness doesn't come from outside of ourselves it comes from within. It's a mindset shift. It's a decision that no matter what is going on around us, you choose to look for happiness.
Here are three ideas to shift your mindset this year...
Create Your Gratitude Jar.
I love this idea. Gratitude is quite simply a state of mind, so in order to help you rewire your thinking why not create a 'Gratitude Jar'. Find yourself a nice big jar or even a small fish bowl. Each day on a small piece of paper write just one thing you're grateful for. This could be the Sainsbury's deliveryman, the socks on your feet or the sausage and mash you've just eaten for your dinner. Just write down one thing each day and pop it in your jar. This simple act is training your brain to find happiness. Over time you will start to notice more and more things to be grateful for. Plus, at the end of the year you'll have 365 notes of gratitude to enjoy!
Follow Your Joy.
I'm always talking about following joy in my courses and books. We are on this planet to play. Yes, we have many responsibilities, things that we simple have to do. But, we must not forget to pursue our joy, because this is our happiness. Find time each day or week to do things that you really enjoy; walking in nature, signing, baking, chatting over coffee with friends, taking a bubble bath, watching clouds drift buy, painting, playing games with the kids, exercise, sewing and so on. Make time to follow your joy and you will become a happier person!
Learn to meditate.
For hundreds of years, meditation was an exclusively spiritual practice for serious seekers. Yet, meditation is becoming more and more commonplace. Everyone seems to be at it! By quieting the mind and deeply relaxing the body, the person meditating experiences deep states of inner peace and, ultimately, higher states of consciousness. But many people wrongly believe that meditating is about sitting quietly for hours on end thinking about nothing. This is not the case. Meditating is about quieting the mind in order to go inwards in search of greater self-awareness. It's an active training of the mind to increase your awareness of self.
In my own personal experience the more I take time to meditate, the more content I feel with life. No matter what is going on around you, you feel at peace. Meditation has changed my life and made me a much happier and more content person.
Happiness is a decision we all must make at some point in our life. So why not set the intention this year to be happy, right here, right now!