Happiness isn’t the feeling you get when you indulge in a piece of chocolate or win an award – those things are joy or pleasure. They are fleeting.
Happiness is more of a long term thing. Happiness is a practice. It comes from within you. A study done by Harvard University finds that 90% of our own happiness comes from how we internally process our world. Optimism, positive thinking, gratitude and compassion – and how we incorporate these things into our lives – help to form our perceptions of the world in which we live. These things also help us to form our connections in life.
Some people have to work harder to achieve happiness than others, but it is possible for everyone to discover happiness in their life. Practicing healthy behaviors like turning your negative thoughts into positive ones, or simply being grateful every day for what you have in your life – are great ways to kick-start some healthy habits to finding happiness.
Behavior matters. It really does! Your behavior not only affects your own day, it affects everyone around you. Hold the door open for someone, wave to people, smile at others when you look at them. Make eye contact, and say “thank you” often.
We construct our world the way we see our world and by the things we tell ourselves about our world. Just like anything else you build, you start with a foundation. If your foundation is rooted in negative belief you will build a negative world. Your negative land will be filled with negative thought, negative energy, and negative people.
The goal is to shore up those foundations with a more stable, positive foundation. This is done by changing the way you think, and changing the way you look for happiness. It is making a conscious effort over and over again to replace old habits, thoughts, actions, and feelings that are rooted in negativity – with new, fresh, and positive ones.
Make it a point to spend time DAILY doing these 5 things:
1. Practice gratitude for what you have right now. All of it! The good, the bad, and the ugly. It’s all YOURS at this moment so OWN it!
2. Practice daily prayer or meditation (or BOTH!) so you can find that quiet space within, relax, and regroup.
3. Thank someone daily. Spend just 1-2 minutes a day thanking just one person for something. Text it, write it, call them, or do it in person.
4. Watch your thoughts throughout the day and catch those negative thoughts as they pop into your mind. Toss them aside and focus your attention to something more positive. (My boss is such a jerk he makes my life miserable…. Oooooo look! Puppies! Puppies are so cute and cuddly, I love the way they smell and get so excited.) You have a choice as to what you want to give your attention to.
5. Practice compassion and kindness. Do little things throughout your day, such as holding the elevator for someone, saying hello, telling someone you appreciate them, or letting someone in front of you while driving. SMILE at people! Ask them if you can help them with anything, or do something for someone completely out of the blue. These little things condition the mind to be more compassionate and kind.