Why is happiness so hard to come by these days? I see clients struggle with it every day in my fitness facility, and I’ve struggled to find it myself. What I am learning is that happiness and success all come from within and there are small but significant steps you need to take in order to achieve them. Here are my top tips to help you get started.
I believe you won’t find happiness, nor will you reach your potential, if you always come from a place of deficiency, concentrating on all of the things we’re missing in our lives whether it’s a mate, a job, a dream house or a fancy car. Instead of focusing all of the things you don’t have, begin focusing on the things you do. For the most part, we our struggles are first world problems, inconveniences.
Strategies: Begin each day with gratitude – perhaps writing it in a gratitude journal, making notes next to your coffeemaker in the morning or on a post-it in your bathroom. Begin each day by giving thanks and watch your mindset begin to shift.
How many times have you been at coffee with a friend, in a meeting a work or dinner with your loved ones and they continually glance at their phone? They respond to texts or update Facebook? Studies have shown the happiest people are those that create long lasting, genuine relationships, but how can you do that if you are not fully present to create those relationships? How can you possibly give 100% to any task at hand if you are not full focused on that task. Multi-tasking is great…to a point. When you are too scattered you lose your ability to do anything well. We can’t even watch TV anymore without constantly also scanning our phones. I know. I do it all the time!
Strategies: At work dial it down. Focus on only one task at a time. Close your email while you’re working on a project. Silence your phone or forward your calls.
At home put your cell phone in time out. Create a time out space for your tech. When you get home at the end of the day, if possible put your phone in it’s time out space. Maybe it’s a shelf or a basket. When the phone goes in the basket you are done with your technology for the day. Maybe your calls can come through or other important messages, but take the time to be present with your family.
Now that you are no tied to your tech, practice sitting in silence. We learn a lot about ourselves when we’re quiet and yet we rarely do it. Maybe because it makes us uncomfortable, maybe because we are afraid of what we’ll find. You’d be surprised what you learn about your hopes and dreams and problems when you just begin to think about them.
Strategies: Start a silence practice, perhaps daily meditation (there are lots of apps to help you do this), sitting in a quiet church, taking a hike with no headphones or a yoga class.
You can also learn a lot about yourself when you step outside of your comfort zone. We don’t learn things when we’re comfortable. Nor do we improve. We learn and grow when we are challenged, when we are scared. Try new things that make you feel uncomfortable. For me, it might be a new biking trail. Or it may be as simple as joining a new running group where I know no one. Try a new sport or sign up for a new race…and maybe try not to overanalyze it. Don’t spend time testing the course or micro-managing your training. Train appropriately then just go out and do it! See what happens. You might find that you are much stronger than you think.
External forces cannot create your happiness. You must create your happiness, your sense of fulfillment. And that journey begins with creating a mindset ready to accept it.
No go out and live an active life!