A co-worker recently asked me what I do that seems to always make me happy. It was an interesting question. On the surface, it didn’t seem like there was much I was doing. It was more a state of being. It is who I am. Nevertheless, as the question continued to roll around in my mind, I came up with the following list. In my experience, executing this list (it’s not a comprehensive list. I’m sure there are other items each of you does that helps bring you joy) will help uplift your state of being. It is my hope that this list helps you enjoy more happiness in your life. In no particular order:
1. Make the choice for happiness. The decision to accept that happiness is a choice puts you in control. If you believe that happiness is derived from outside circumstances then you have given away your power. You become a victim of the world. Your boss, the economy, your spouse, children, politics, the weather, and everything and everyone else will control you. Sure, having certain things or events go your way contributes to happiness. But because they are based in time, they are temporary. Remove them and the happiness affiliated with them goes away.
2. Don’t take things personally. All around us we interact with people who live from their ego. The ego’s goal is to inflate itself and put itself at the top. It needs to be right and to do so, it needs to make others wrong. The ego will attack, and when you defend, you are agreeing that you were attacked. What others do has nothing to do with you. They are projecting their thoughts onto you so that they can validate their view of the world. When you don’t take things personally and let their ego be who they need to be in the moment, there is no resistance. Because the force of the ego has nothing to push against, the situation will be less volatile, helping you maintain your happiness. The ego doesn’t want you to be happy. When given the choice it would rather you be the victim. Resist the ego, don’t take things personally and make the choice for happiness.
3. Get some exercise. It is no secret that exercise (even walking) stimulates the body’s desire for oxygen and the production of endorphins; those feel good hormones that are so delicious. Exercise, however, also clears stagnant, dead energy. Frequently, Pat and I walk, do yoga, the 5-Tibetan Rites or other exercises specifically designed to clear energy, before we meditate. It absolutely makes a difference. Exercise can also be a form of meditation. Do it and do it regularly.
4. Be Mindful. Mindfulness is being aware of where you are and what you are doing. I know you are probably saying you are already mindful, because how could you go about your day if you are not aware of where you are and what you are doing. As with everything, it is a matter of degrees. Because our mind is a chatterbox of thousands of thoughts coming and going in a single day, our mind is never really quiet. The busy mind wears on us and makes us tired. Most of these busy thoughts are about problems, worries or things of the past. We are never really present with what is going on around us. When you took a shower today, where were your thoughts? Were you planning your day, trying to solve a problem, wondering how you are going to get it all done? Or, were you present with the feeling of the warm water caressing your body? The freshness of it? The smell of it? Being mindful places you in the present moment where life is happening. Being mindful will help stop the negative thought loops that continually play in our minds. With less negativity, there is room for us to experience our true nature of joy and to be present to the richness of life.
There is so much more to be said on this subject. I would like to continue this dialogue in next month’s magazine with other thoughts on happiness. In the meantime, make the choice for happiness. Try some of the suggestions and let me know how they worked by posting a comment at our blog at www.ascensionbreathing.com or commit to a happier life by joining us for our one-day workshop on, “Happiness Rising” on November 11, 2018. Call us at 734-416-5200 to reserve your space.