When I started out on the fascinating journey of personal development nearly 20 years ago, my life evolved into technicolour. It was enriching and led to so much growth, I’ll be eternally grateful to those who first started me out on my way.
A few subjects have the gurus divided, though. For example, most of them agree that in order to attract good things, you need to develop a positive outlook on life. However, some take it as far as saying that any negative feelings are detrimental and should be avoided at all costs. Others, among them psychologists, point out that to try and suppress feelings like anger and sadness can lead to serious mental health problems.
In my experience both personally and as a Coach, the latter group have the right of it. There’s nothing wrong with negative emotions, they are part of life, normal and healthy. The important part is how you deal with your emotions, because that’s what determines actual levels of happiness. Wallowing in the negative and looking for the fly in every ointment is definitely not the way to go.
There are certain, very simple steps anyone can take in order to be happier in life. A lot of them are easy to do but require you to form a habit. Therefore, I recommend trying any or all of the following for at least a period of several weeks in order to fully experience the increase in happiness.
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Authenticity and positivity
Instead of panicking whenever you feel something you don’t deem “spiritual” or “positive”, try and choose authenticity. Be completely honest with yourself and experience the full extent of your emotions. This may even require you to cry, or to grumble or even yell for a bit. It’s all good.
Positivity comes in when the immediate emotional response has been dealt with. It’s not useful to wallow in your negative feelings indefinitely and won’t accomplish anything. When you’re ready, gently steer yourself towards pleasant thoughts and activities you enjoy. Surround yourself by people you love and by plenty of Self Care.
Remember the movie “The Secret” where Rev Beckwith explains that a positive thought has a much stronger vibration than a negative one? So it’s not necessary to always be smiling. However, it’s a good thing to feel good more often on balance.
You knew this was going to come up sooner or later, didn’t you? Indeed, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t mention passion. The simple fact is that nothing is more important than doing what lights you up when it comes to your personal happiness.
There’s a reason why I talk about prioritising passion so much. It’s not just about making time for your passion (or multiple passions); it’s about radically putting it first. This results in a mindset shift which almost automatically increases happiness. It works every time and it’s like magic – try it!
If you’re very busy, you may think you can’t afford to prioritise what lights you up, but I’m here to tell you: You can’t afford not to. Focusing on your passion creates space in your life for everything else. Dare to schedule in your passion(s) before anything else. If you’re struggling with this, consider Coaching. This is exactly what I specialise in.
The habit of happiness
As I mentioned above, happiness is just like any other habit, it needs to be practised for a while in order to become fully established. Here are a few shortcuts to help you along the way:
Check in with yourself. At least 2-3 times a day, pause for a moment to sit still, take a few deep breaths and ask yourself how you feel. Really listen for the answer. Act on it: If you’re tired, try taking a nap, if you’re hungry, feed your body.
Practise gratitude. Every day, list at least three things you’re grateful for. They can be tiny, or the same things every day, but be sure to list them and truly feel your gratitude.
Look after your body. Get enough sleep, eat well, exercise. In order to be able to focus on your passion and live your life to the full, your vehicle – your body – needs to be in top condition. Make sure it is.
Have a little patience with yourself. If you stick with the above techniques, happiness is practically inevitable. It’s worth the effort!