Happiness is one topic we all want to know more about. In a world where “more is better” we can’t help but think the same is true for own emotions. We have become just as obsessive about positive emotions as we have the possession of money and material in hopes to get more happiness. I remember one day I was working at one of my first jobs as a busser in a restaurant. This is probably one of the least desirable jobs on the market; however, I did it with pride and the money was great. Little did I know there would be very valuable life lessons learned. One of those lessons was a lesson on happiness. I have not always been the type of person who saw the glass “half full”. Without any deep understanding of human emotions, I simply did my best to put on a smile but something didn’t feel right. I always felt it was okay to express my emotions both negative and positive. One day I will never forget the day I decided to feel happiness for no good reason. This was the day my life changed. But I want to share with you the story and lesson I learned that day.
Why are you so happy?
We’ve all heard this one before, even the more pessimistic of folks. However, like most of the sayings we have become familiar with I unconsciously would stand by. Until the day I decided to take conscious control of my mind and emotions that is. One day it hit me “what if I could be happy just because? For no good reason?” That seemed like the stupidest idea my mind ever came up with. Except it wasn’t my mind. This time when I thought I noticed a different part of myself asking the question. This is what we call the higher-self. Keep in mind, I had no idea what this was at the time. I was simply a young teenager experimenting with my emotions. So there I was in the midst of the craziness of the busy restaurant with a state of peace. I walked to a table and as I whipped it down with a smile and asked “how are you today?” the woman replied with a automatic response of “good, how are you?” I answered with a firm and sincere, “I’m fantastic! enjoying life!”
Now here is where things got interesting…She responded with a confused “You’re at work and your happy?” I instantly understood something I never understood and the most incredible part was so did she. I felt my higher self respond instead of my mind. My higher self knew immediately “Yes, work is bringing me money to share experiences with others, work is bringing me friends, being here right now is fueling my passions, and being here right now is bringing the delightful experience that is our current conversation.” Everything about being at work became a blessing. I felt it, and before she let me respond I noticed she felt it. She finished with a “…that is great, that’s really great.”
At that point I understood this thing called happiness. I understood A LOT about happiness. And the greatest part was so did she. I impacted her that day without infiltrating her with any of my opinions. My realness, my authenticity, and my conscious decisions made a profound difference in my life that day and hers.
6 Steps to Happiness
Out of that experience here is what I took home with me about happiness. For the sake of understanding and application I’ve narrowed my experience into 10 “things” about happiness. These are characteristics about happiness I had no idea existed until that day and I want to share them with you so you can transform your life by consciously choosing happiness, like I did for myself that day.
- Choose Happiness for No Reason– There is a quote that goes: “Happiness for any reason is just another form of misery.” Though this sounds harsh it’s true. Being happiness because of someone, something or some reason leaves you in the futility of duality. Meaning, when you need something to be happy you are setting yourself up for a dependency on something that is impermanent. Sometimes the thing that makes you happy can last days, weeks or years! But the truth is one day it will be gone. Even if you manage that thing to stay in your life forever, you will still struggle with happiness on a day to day basis by believing happiness is outside of yourself. It is Deepak Chopra who once said “Choose happiness for no reason because that reason can be taken from you.” And whether it’s taken from you an hour from now, tomorrow or in 70 years, it will be. The problem that occurs with dependency is addiction and depression. We become addicted and depressed so simply but their results can be deadly. The solution is simple. You have happiness in you. You are lying to yourself by believing you need something to be happy! It’s just a total lie! No wonder you feel depressed, we all hate being lied to. And there is no greater lie than the lie that is you need anything to be happy. Happiness an emotional state that is your natural state. It takes a lot of mental work to believe you can’t be happy. It takes no work to be happy. Just be happy! How simple? Stop believing you need to do anything for happiness. Simply be aware of that truth that when you get something that makes you happy, IT didn’t make you happy, you just believed it did and allowed yourself to feel happy. That is something you can do right now, for no good reason. That is inner-peace and the highest expression of your natural well-being.
- Change Your Physiology- In order for you to feel happy your body actually takes on a physical state. Your physiology responds to your internal dialog. For example, when you become happy, you tend to breathe deeper, your eyes light up, you walk with a skip in your step, you move quicker, talk more clearly and so on. The opposite is true for unhappiness. When depressed, sad or generally unhappy we dip our heads, slouch our shoulders, drag our feet, talk quite and mumbled, breathe shallow, hang our eyes, and our entire energy decreases. Becoming aware of your physical state is a great tool for consciously creating more happiness in your life; which we will talk about in step 6. When we become aware of our bodies response to negativity we can use that to our advantage to “trick” our bodies back into happiness. Now I am not advocating that you suppress your negative emotions; however, I am implying here that majority of our unhappiness is completely mental and illusory. Stepping back into our bodies when we are sad we can consciously choose to smile, laugh, dance, breathe deeply, stand up straight, walk, run, skip and by doing so we can better determine whether or not our unhappiness was authentic or created by the neurosis of the mind; worry, fear, anxiety. These are all very real emotions but the point is to use them as signals to create more happiness in your life, not to wallow in them. Only when you become aware can you figure out their signals though. I find getting back into your body the greatest tool for waking back up and moving you back into your natural state of joy. Next time you are unhappy try putting on a smile, deep breathing, randomly sprinting, jumping up and down, dancing or singing a little bit, then after that, if your problem is still there you can decide what you might need to do next. Chances are though you’ll be too happy to remember what was bothering you!
- Practice Gratitude- When you practice and truly feel gratitude your entire life changes. With a grateful mind you are capable of tapping into something much higher than you, you eaves drop on the wisdom of the universe. The tricky thing with gratitude is that like a rose, it must be cultivated, loved and cared for. If we do not consciously and deliberately practice gratitude we can easily fall back into an unconscious state of being. To truly start feeling gratitude we have to let go of the judgements we have others and the rest of the world, so we can finally stop judging ourselves. Lack of gratitude or ingratitude is expected, so focusing on your lack of gratitude is pointless, its a form of self judgement and gets you only deeper into the hole of unhappiness. Instead, give just for the joy of giving. There doesn’t have to be a reward, you are not to give to “make up” for your lack of gratitude. When you practice gratitude then for the mere joy of feeling good you are opened to the world of unlimited possibilities, ego and gratitude do not exist at the same time; therefore, your ego’s limitations, judgements and narrow minded control vanish. Gratitude is not selective, it is not about appreciated something that you “deserved” or “earned”. Gratitude is a graceful and free as breathe, and that might be a good place to start the practice of your gratitude. The fact that you wake up each day with an abundance of air to breathe, to nourish every cell in your body with oxygen shows you the true riches surrounding you in every moment. Gratitude opens the gates for your to receive more; not by reward, but by awareness. The highest expression of gratitude is to feel thankful for life itself; after all, life is thee greatest gift there is. Truly happy people understand the appreciation of life itself. We all understand that at any moment life could be taken from us, there are deaths happening all the time to remind us of the gift of life. When you open your mind to the field of gratitude, you open yourself to the higher source of where everything was created. You become aware that you are connected to life itself through the source of life and within every act of you is an act of something beyond your understanding; you are powerful, fearless, and creative. One of the best ways to practice gratitude is to become aware of the things you are already truly grateful for; your health, your heartbeat, your limbs, your relationships, any income you are making, food, shelter, etc. And then think about why you are actually grateful for those things. As you trace back the whys, you being to see the interconnectedness of all things. All roads of gratitude lead back to the truth that you are alive, and what an incredible thing it is to just exist.
- Just for Today- Happy people live in the now. If there is one thing you could tap in to; to create more happiness, it would be the present moment. Though all these steps help you become aware of your present moment I want to talk specifically about living for today, or this moment. When we think about it, we are not promised tomorrow, or even our next moment. Life is not a linear progression. We are not promised the timeline life we have imagined. It is this time line too that creates most of peoples unhappiness. We get caught up in the length of time it will take to create something, earn a certain amount of income, lose weight, etc. Instead of focusing on your ten year plan try adapting the “Just for Today” attitude. I know this scares the ego a bit, you wonder how you will ever function unless you plan for tomorrow, but as of right now, tomorrow doesn’t exist and therefore is only an illusion of expectation in your mind. To help you better adjust to this mind set I want you to consider a thought…If each of your present moments are successful, done with care and consideration, then inevitably your life will become a success. This not only helps you become much more efficient but you become much happier knowing the only thing you have to deal with is RIGHT NOW, because in reality that’s all there is. So for today, or better yet, just for NOW, decide you will be happy. Decide that happiness is created within and you can have it now otherwise you might not have it at all. Just for today you will adjust yourself to what is and make the most of it, instead of trying to change the entire world to your desire. Just for today you will take care of your health; walk, eat well, not feed it toxic substance. Just for today you will do someone a favor, act courteous, and choose a positive though. Set up a plan for only today’s success without attention to tomorrow or the next five years. What would it take for you to make TODAY the most successful day you could without trying to tackle your life’s problem all today. Just for today, you will not be afraid to be happy, you will enjoy the beautiful, love and believe.
- From Within not Without- Here is a basic truth that will change how you see happiness from here out and listen carefully. Happiness is something you create inside of yourself and put into the things you do and have. Yes, you heard it here, happiness is created within. Happiness is not bought, it didn’t come from money, sex, material, travel, places, environment, or even other people. That is all false. The truth is somewhere during the conditioning of your mind you picked up a few beliefs; one common belief being that things make you happy, when they do not. Perhaps you were poor growing up, it was probably fairly easy for you to believe that your unhappiness came from lack of money and if you just had more money you would be happier. Beyond having your basic needs met; food, water, shelter, more money does not make you happy. In fact, even most of those basic needs are conditioned beliefs. There are people who live off the land to this day in primitive cultures that are happier than most millionaires. That perspective can teach us a lot about happiness. The thing about happiness is it’s created for most people when their outside world matches their ideal inner world. However, this can be a problem and is for many. Most peoples inner world is complete caught up in the idea that more is better. But the question is, where is the peace in more is better? Have you found it? I thought not…Because there is no peace in more is better. The idea that more is better is a belief and only a belief that limits your happiness to the duality of external things. You can create and cultivate happiness from within at any moment. If you keep functioning from duality you will never become happy. The part of your ego that tells you “you need this to be happy” does not have a limit. Once you get it, you will need something else to replace the happiness and you will become just as addicted to money, material, and people for your happiness as an addict does on substance. There is nothing more to know here other than the truth that is; you create happiness within yourself, so simply be aware of that and when you need happiness look inside instead of outside.
- Happiness is a Choice- Few people seem to understand that happiness is not something that happens to us but it is our choice. We have discussed that happiness comes from within; however, in order for us to harness that internal power we have to strengthen our decision making muscles. Most of us hardly know what were going to eat for lunch let alone deciding our own emotions. The thing about emotions is that they are not us. Emotions are recycled energy. Think about a time you walked into a room where you could “cut the tension with a knife.” That realization is one that shows you the reality of emotions; they are energy, they are borrowed, shared and recycled. Being an energetic being, made up of moving matter, you are capable of picking up others emotions. You do not have to be an intuitive genius to experience the feelings associated with being around a negative Nancy. It’s hard not to cling onto their negativity. However, awareness can transcend this. First of all, knowing you are not your emotions will empower you to detach yourself from them. Yes, you are human and things will happen to you that trigger emotional response but the point is to express them for what they are and not to convince yourself they are reality. When you realize this it becomes much easier to get back to your natural state of joy and happiness. Let’s pretend you are at work and someone lashes out and criticizes you. It might be your conditioned reaction to feel upset and hurt; however, if you can understand that your emotional response was only a conditioned response and not YOU, you can start to strengthen your decision making muscles. Ask yourself the question; do I want to choose to be hurt or do I want to choose happiness? If you are struggling with choosing happiness you might need to express your initial emotions to release them. Speak up for yourself from your higher self, communicate your emotions openly to the person and people involved to let those emotions be released from you. Happy people say what’s on their minds, not to have control, but to let go. When you communicate you release built up negative energy which frees your mind to create. This is a great tool to work your decision making muscles. Eventually you become more conscious of how your body picks up and responds to outside energy from people and circumstance and you will be able to move back to happiness much quicker. At the core of this exercise though is your decision to be happy. You have to decide you will choose happiness because it is a choice. You decide to get angry, you decide to hold on, and you are in total control. Decide to be happy and do what you have to do to get there, you will be rewarded with a recycling happiness, being aware you are in control of your responses and always capable of reaching a higher state of emotional well-being. We all have the ability to control and direct our own minds, which is the greatest blessing of all. So use that ability to choose happiness deliberately.