Happiness: A way to live.
Stuff to ponder
This is the module where the rubber meets the road. Here you get to take what you’ve learned and integrate it into your life and biz — by creating a happiness practice that works for you.
The power of creating habits: a happiness practice
In the previous modules we’ve discussed how happiness relates to various aspects of life like creativity, relationships and spirituality. We talked about the benefits that happy people experience, like more resilience, better health, improved connectivity, increased creativity, productivity and intuitive insights. It’s great if happiness is your default setting, but what if you need to adopt happiness as a new habit or behavior?
You need a happiness practice.
Experts say it takes on average 21 days to successfully integrate a new habit or behavior. Using the tools in this mini-course will get you well on the way to living life with more joy.
Decide for happiness
Happiness is a state of being. Much of our personal disposition is learned from our family of origin, teachers, society, etc. The good news is that if our disposition is a little less than sunny we can choose again for happiness. Advise yourself on positive steps toward your happiness.
You can use tools to help you create and continue a happiness practice, but the number one secret to living a life of happiness is to DECIDE to live a life of happiness. Choice is power. Decide for happiness.
Stay close to anything that makes you feel glad to be alive.
Cultivate habits that lead to happiness
Gratitude: Gratitude is like magic. There is no room in the space of gratitude for negative emotions and behaviors. Keep a gratitude journal. Write in it daily. Read it regularly. If a gratitude journal seems too much for you to tackle, consider a “What went well today” journal.
Meditation: Getting in touch with your inner environment is important. Awareness of your emotional and spiritual landscape is part of healthy emotional hygiene. As you check in with yourself during meditation you may find more peace, and more happiness.
Be infectious: With your happiness, that is. Humans are like walking radio transmitters and other people can pick up on our moods. Be responsible for the energy that you emit. Be a force for happiness in the world. It’s your personal contribution to world peace.
Exercise: Exercise is great medicine. Copious research exists on the benefits of exercise on just about every aspect of being a human. There’s a direct correlation between exercise and mood (serotonin and endorphin boosts to name just two) so walk, run, swim or shake your groove thing. It will make you happy.
Set boundaries: People with a healthy sense of self set good boundaries. If you find yourself saying “yes” to requests when you really want to say “no”, you need to erect better fences around your time and energy. Those who chronically overextend become cranky and resentful, the opposite of happy.
Write a happy ending
As humans, we have a tendency to spin off into worst-case scenarios. We’ve all done it. When you’re challenged with a relationship, or anything for that matter, resist the tendency to finish the story from the negative. Don’t write the future from the past. Be open to a happy conclusion.
Cleanse conditioned patterns
If certain parts of your life feel like Groundhog Day, it’s time to release. One of my favorite methodologies for releasing old patterns is EFT, Emotional Freedom Technique, commonly called Tapping. It works on the premise that all emotions are energy, which flow (or get stuck) in the body’s energy meridians. Tapping allows you to focus on negative behaviors and emotions and release them, through the EFT process. It’s similar to acupuncture, with no needles.
Working with a coach or mentor is another great way to help us process old, limiting thoughts and behaviors and replace them with new, more supportive ones. The accountability piece of working with a coach is invaluable.
Create positive change in your world
If you watch TV or scan the inter-webs, it’s easy to get bummed out by all the bad news in the world. However, you, my friend, are a powerful creator and therefore, you can make more happiness in the world. Here are a few ways to do just that:
Be an instrument of happiness in your own life.
Share your happy. Give a compliment. Say something nice. Pay it forward. Happiness is contagious (proven fact).
Alleviate suffering. You don’t have to be Mother Theresa or His Holiness the Dalai Lama to reduce misery in the world. Volunteer. Support a Kickstarter campaign to help others doing good. Adopt a homeless pet. Tutor a kid. You really can make a difference.
What to do when you fall off the happy wagon
If you’re human, you’re going to fall out of happiness every now and then. Avoid the temptation to berate yourself and go into guilt. Instead, use the awareness to get back up on the wagon.
Scan your emotional weather every day. If you notice you’re feeling more Seattle than Miami Beach, decide for happiness.
Assessments are commonplace in the world of business, but you can also self-assess. Make that a part of your daily journaling or meditation practice and find out where in your life you’re out of happiness and who or what is sucking the joy out of you/your life.
Once you’ve identified the leaks, use the tools. Remember the old adage: “How does one eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” With apologies to vegetarians and animal lovers like myself, this is a good reminder to take small steps toward your goal.
Trying to institute every tool all at once is a recipe for failure. The better strategy is to analyze where you need support and then find the tool that feels right for the job. You’ll have greater success if you focus on one or two strategies for generating more happiness in your life.
Remember that when your bum hits the ground after you’ve fallen off the happiness wagon, it’s a sign to get back up. Happiness is your right. Use it to illuminate your life and business.
Wishing you love and light on the journey. Be happiness 🙂
Revisit the happiness map you created in Module 1. Review each category and the happiness rankings you assigned each. What’s changed and why? Which tools have you used?
What does your happiness practice look like? How will you integrate your practice into your life and business?
Happiness Map (pdf)
Classic Happy Official Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6Sxv-sUYtM