When was the last time you felt happy? Really, really happy? Would you like to feel steadier in a healthy, mind-body way?
Today’s crazy world has us running in every direction, sometimes we try to go in all directions at the same time. How often have you felt overwhelmed just thinking about what’s in store for the rest of the day, and that’s before your feet hit the floor in the morning? On days like these, it feels as if we’ve lost all of the enjoyment out of our life. There is precious little fun and almost non-existent downtime in our lives today. We have become masters at multi-tasking and we excel in the act of doing.
Maybe it’s time to rethink the ways we choose to live our lives and the ways we choose to fill our life. The life you are leading now is the life you are passing on to your children and grand grandchildren. Is that what you want?
I’ve read and studied countless articles and books on this subject. I’ve combined all of this knowledge into the five simple strategies to help me rediscover the happiness, steadiness, and balance in my life.
Wake up. And I don’t mean just get out of bed or off the couch, I mean become mindful of what’s going on in and around us. Pay closer attention. Savor every moment. Happiness studies tell us that being mindful is the #1 factor in creating a happy life. Remember the 80/20 sales rule? You get 80% of your business from 20% of your customers, but we end up spending 80% of our time on the 20% that don’t yield the results we want. Apply that to being mindful. Where do you focus your attention? We need to focus and figure out what is important to us and place our powerful attention and intention there.
Just change one thing. Choose one thing you can do differently. Commit to making that change every day for 30 days. Then extend that commitment to 60 days. If you really want to go for the gold, make it a 90-day commitment. What happens when you commit to yourself and you keep that commitment? You learn to trust yourself. As we go thru life, we become very good at giving our word to our family, our friends and our co-workers, but what about ourselves? Do we make a promise to ourselves and keep that promise? Most of us probably don’t and that makes it harder and harder for that internal trust. Part of the formula for real happiness is knowing that you can count on yourself.
Just stop. This was extremely difficult for me, and I still struggle with it. But to reach real happiness, we need to stop and allow ourselves to correct the course and find our center again. One suggestion I read was to take a few deep breathing breaks during the day. You will bring yourself back to center, re-oxygenate your body, and tap into the here and now. A couple of other suggestions are to unplug from all technology a few hours before going to bed, to end the mental gymnastics for the day and wind down. Maybe you could add quiet time to your daily ritual, write in a journal, meditate, listen to music, draw or paint. Another way is to learn how to say “no”, or at the very least, “I will think about it and get back to you.”
Do something expressive. Have you ever heard this quote from Mark Twain? “Sing like no one’s listening, love like you’ve never been hurt, dance like nobody’s watching, and live like its heaven on earth.” What lights us up and turns us on is an important part of rediscovering our happiness and re-centering our lives. By the time we stopped being teenagers, most of us have figured out that the world doesn’t stop and it doesn’t revolve around us. When we’re overworked and way too busy, the activities that feed, comfort, nurture, and soothe us can slip thru the cracks.
Honor thy body. It’s never too late. We all know it’s time, no matter how much we struggle, pout and resist. It’s time to get pro-active and support our physical beings. Start slowly and work yourself up to a more optimum way of being. We all know that we will feel much better, we all know that we will feel happier and stronger in both mind and body, we all know that we will become more productive and balanced. So seriously, what’s to lose but a couple of old bad habits? The steps are pretty simple and self-explanatory – get enough rest, eat well and sensibly most of the time, move your body in any way that makes you happy, make choices based on what resonates within you and your body, create some space and time to treat yourself. The greatest gift we can give ourselves and model for our loved ones is a life well lived.
In today’s upside-down, pedal to the metal world, taking action is our primary modus operandi. Consider tweaking your idea of action and focus. Try these five strategies – one baby step at a time. What have you got to lose? It can’t hurt and could help. Your life might just become happier, steadier, and more balanced – after all, is said and done, isn’t that what it’s all about?
Photo Credit: Nick Youngson CC BY-SA 3.0 Alpha Stock Images.