Some say New Year’s resolutions are silly. I disagree. The purpose of incarnating into physical beings, is to evolve, to expand, to increase the knowledge and wisdom of the Whole through our physical experience. We should constantly be trying to be better, in whatever way feels good to us.
One area where we can always improve, is happiness. For some reason, we humans seem to be miserable a lot of the time. We lose sight of the notion that we ought to be giddy just because we’re here. We’re alive! We’re in bodies! We’re on Earth! These are blessings we don’t appreciate nearly enough, probably because we don’t really know the alternatives. They’re beyond our current ability to comprehend.
We should be happy most of the time. Lest you think that’s easier said than done, here’s how in three easy steps.
1. Be more optimistic! If you can shift the balance of your mood scales a little more toward optimism than pessimism, you’ll see an instant and undeniable change in your life. The simplest definition of optimism is to expect good things. Pessimism is to expect bad things. Quantum Physics seems to be pointing toward reality being created by us according to what we expect. We experience what expect to experience. So by becoming more optimistic, we create more good things in our lives.
How do I do this?
Begin each day with a morning prayer or affirmation. “Today, no matter where I go or what I do, I’ll see things that make me smile.”
End each day by writing a list of ten happy things that happened to you today. This is a trick that will result in you looking for positive things so you’ll have something to write each night. And the act of looking for them, will bring them into your experience. Trust me. Try it. What do you have to lose?
Try to pay attention to what your conversations are about. If your phone calls, texts, emails and chats are complaint-fests, change that. Make it a habit to talk about the good stuff, and ignore the bad. Never complain again. This will bring a huge change. Try the complain-free challenge. I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s a simple process where you take a small elastic bracelet and put it on your left wrist. If you catch yourself complaining, you have to switch it to the right wrist. The goal is to go 21 days without changing wrists. It’s fabulous! And it works.
2. Take Responsibility for Your Own Happiness
“I’d be happy, if only he/she/they would ___” (Fill in the blank.) If you’ve ever said this, it’s time for a big change. Realize that you will never be happy if your happiness depends on the behavior of others. Your spouse, your kids, your parents, your employers. Doesn’t matter. Happiness isn’t something other people give to you. It’s a choice, one that you have to make for yourself. Choose to be happy no matter what other people are doing. Choose to be happy because it feels better to be happy than to be miserable. Choose to be happy consistently, so that your mood isn’t whipped by the winds and whims of others.
How do I do this?
Stop dwelling on things others say or do that upset you, and instead, choose to dwell on things that bring you joy. Everytime you find yourself bitching mentally about something someone said or did, stop it, and steer your mind elsewhere. Distract yourself however you can. Eventually it will get easier. Stop hanging around with people who are morose and complaining, and choose to spend time with people who are cheerful and upbeat. If you find yourself with a complainer, resist the urge to dive into the fun and start complaining yourself. (It’s a real risk. Complaining is contagious. Again, I refer you to the bracelet challenge.)
Stop allowing other people to hang the responsibility for their happiness on your shoulders. Tell them exactly what I’ve just told you. Your happiness is YOUR job. No one else’s.
Understand that, as long as your happiness is in the hands of others, you will never be happy, because there will always be someone behaving in a way you don’t like. Get it through your head that their journey is their own, and they have to take it in their own way. Not yours.
3. Be More Present in Each Moment
Most of us spend every moment of our lives either thinking about the future (the to-do list, the appointments, the deadlines, next week, next month, tomorrow) or thinking about the past (Why did I do that? How could I have forgotten that? Why didn’t I say this instead?)
“A happy life is just a string of happy moments. But most people are so busy trying to get a happy life, that they never have a happy moment.” ~Abraham
How do I do this?
The secret to happiness is to be happy right now. Stop what you’re doing right this second, and look around you. Find the things that surround you that are wonderful. Think about the people and the animals you’re with and find joy in being with them. Feel the goodness in your body and rejoice in that. Look at the beauty outside your window and relish it. Be thrilled that you have eyes to see with, and the ability to read, and access to this wondrous Internet thing and all it has to offer. More wisdom than the Library at Alexandria. All at your fingertips.
Choose to be happy now, in this moment, and try to make this your practice. Choose to be fully present now, in each moment, and gently stop your mind from racing ahead to what comes next, or reliving the moments that came before. The only reality is now. Choose happiness, and start stringing those moments together. And before you know it, you’ll have a happy life! Next time we’ll discuss some easy ways to be more spiritual in the coming year. Now, go start practicing being happier!