Happiness. What is it really? And maybe more importantly, how do you find it? Take a stroll through any bookstore and you will probably find a self-help section. More than likely, it’s a fairly large section. The global self-help industry is reportedly worth around $11 billion per year and a quick online search of “the answer to happiness” will reveal nearly five-million results. People are looking for happiness. But are they finding it?
A common way of thinking is that happiness is the result of having the perfect life. It’s the idea that once I have the ideal relationship, once I have enough money, when I move into my dream house, when this particular thing occurs, then I will be happy. If happiness is only found when everything is “perfect” then we are all in trouble because perfection is an illusion. And, if happiness only occurs when I have everything I have decided I need to be happy, then I am at the effect of people and circumstances. That’s a rather disempowering way to live.
Over the years, I have dealt with lots of people. Many of them come to me with their problems, their unhappiness, their dissatisfaction, and they want me to fix it. I have some amazing tools that I have used to change my life. These tools have taken me from wanting to take my own life, to waking up every day with a sense of joy and ease, grateful to be alive. I share these tools all over the world. Many people take the tools I share, use them, change their lives and enjoy deep satisfaction and happiness. Others use the tools, change a few things, maybe even a lot of things, and still remain unhappy. Why is that? What makes the difference? It’s simple really. Happiness is choice. It’s not something you stumble into. It’s not something you arrive at one day. Happiness is a choice you make.
If you would like to live your life with a sense of satisfaction and happiness, it is available. Right now. Start by making the choice to commit to your life and then choose the happiness that is available. Here are four pragmatic tools that will empower you to find your happy:
Start a Gratitude Journal
What we acknowledge grows bigger. When you start to focus on the things that you are grateful for, more of those things show up. A great way to be more aware of all of the amazing gifts in your life is to start a gratitude journal and actually write them down.
Each day, write down 3-5 things that you are grateful for. Include what you are grateful for about you. The first few days it will be easy. You will write down the things you are obviously grateful for. After a few days, you will have to look beyond what you are currently aware of. As you do, you will begin to see that your life is filled with gifts all around. The air you breathe. The beauty of the nature around you and so much more. Focus on gratitude. Gratitude grows.
Don’t Take on Other People’s Stuff
The thing that changed my life dramatically from wanting to die to living happily is a little question I heard, “Who does this belong to?” We are all very aware of the people around us. If we have people around us that are depressed, we often feel depressed and think that we are when in reality, we are just aware of others.
The next time you notice thoughts or feelings of sadness, loneliness, frustration, overwhelm, stop and ask, “Who does this belong to?” When you ask this question, if things get lighter in your world, those thoughts and feelings are not actually yours. You are just aware. You can simply say, “Return to sender.” This allows the negativity to dissipate.
Curiosity is Key
Research has shown that curious people – those who are constantly asking questions and looking for new possibilities – tend to enjoy higher levels of positive emotions, lower levels of anxiety, more satisfaction with life, and greater psychological well-being.
Take kids as an example. In case you haven’t noticed, they tend to have a higher level of happiness than most. They play. They imagine. They explore. They ask questions. They are curious.
Each one of us has an innate awareness of what decisions will bring us the best of love, life, health, finance and business. The trick to revealing this unconscious wisdom is to keep your mind open to every possibility – to never seek an answer to anything. To forever and always ask questions.
Practice Asking Questions
Often, in our search for happiness, we look for answers. We have been taught that the right answer, the right decision, is a key to happiness. Answers and conclusions actually keep something greater from showing up. So instead of coming to conclusion about what is happening in your life, ask questions and invite new possibilities.
Here are some examples of conclusions that can be replaced with questions.
- Rather than saying, “This situation is so bad” or “Wow, this situation is amazing”, ask “How does it get any better than this?” This triggers your unconscious self to make an unpleasant situation better, and an uplifting situation even greater.
- Instead of believing that you are a victim to life and that happiness is given or taken, ask “Do I want to be right, or do I want to be happy?” This empowers you to realize that happiness is a choice and can be called upon at any time.
- Instead of saying “I am stuck” or “I quit”, ask “What else is possible I have never considered?” This triggers your unconscious awareness to look for the various solutions and possibilities available to you.
Happiness is a choice. No one else can choose it for you. No one can take it away from you. So, if you want to find your happy…choose.
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