“Each morning when I open my eyes I say to myself: I, not events have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be.” ~Groucho Marx
Are you living your happiest life?
Throughout my life I tried many different tactics to increase my happiness.
I believed that happiness was a prize to be won only when success was achieved. This mind-set drove me to spend countless hours working out, building my career, and looking for the next thing that would make me feel happy. Yet, as I went up the ladder of success, the more empty, depressed and emotionally flat I felt.
It took many storms to learn that being happy was actually very simple- it is a choice.
A choice we can make in any moment, despite the circumstances that we find ourselves in.
I know is easy to say, “Choose Happiness”.
And yes, it can be really hard to make that choice when you are grieving the loss of a job, the end of a relationship, or life has challenged you. But you don’t have to stay feeling discouraged, hopeless or empty. There are simple ways you can bring more happiness back into your life right now. Here are a few actions that have worked for me.
1. Connect to Your Breath
When things are just ‘too much’ try slowing down and concentrating on breathing deep into your belly. Breathe deeply and slowly for a few moments. Connecting to your breath will relax you, reduce anxiety and bring you back into the present moment.
2. Shift Your Perspective
Try looking at your situation through a different lens. No matter how bad things are remember that they could be worse. Being grateful for all the good things that are in your life will make you feel good. Take a minute to think of three things you are grateful for right now and write them down. Research has shown that if you do this action every day for 21 days you will expand your happiness.
3. Perform an Act of Kindness
Go do something nice for someone else. An act of kindness gets you out of your head and stops the cycle of negative thoughts. Go give someone a hug, buy a coffee for a friend or spend some time with your neighbour’s dog.
4. Move the Negative Energy
Fifteen minutes of cardio exercise has the same benefit as an anti-depressant and the effects last longer. Working out moves the energy through your body and releases chemicals that give you a mood lift. Take a jog, play tennis, or just walk around the block to increase you happiness.
The benefits of meditation are many and one of them can be encouraging positive thinking. By clearing your mind and relaxing, you can let go of some of the challenges that are troubling you. You don’t need flowing robes and incense. Just close your eyes, breathe deeply and slowly for a minute. Build up to 20 minutes daily.
According to current research, in the determination of a person’s level of happiness, genetics accounts for 50%. Life circumstances such as age, gender, ethnicity, marital status, income, health accounts for 10-20%. And the remainder is how a person THINKS and ACTS.
So make a choice to be happy and infuse your life with joy today. You have the power.
With light and love.