Do you ever wake up one day and suddenly ask yourself where the years have gone? It’s very easy to get absorbed in everyday life. Our jobs, relationships, and the hectic pace of life can rob us of simple things that make us happy people. I know for myself when I was in my twenties I felt like there is always time left to do what I want to do. However, it’s funny how we tend to put these things off such as traveling to an exotic location, or just picking up the phone to say hi to someone we haven’t seen in a while.
As the years roll by you finally realize that you haven’t spent enough time making yourself happy. In the past couple of years I’ve had childhood friends who became ill with cancer and relatives who have passed on due the disease. It is during these periods I came to the realization that life is much too short to be bitter about the past. As well, I have learned not to get worked up over the small things in life.
Everybody wants to live the happiest life they possibly can don’t they? I’m sure we don’t walk around enjoying misery. At least I don’t. So how does one become happy? Well, it comes from within us. We determine our own happiness. However, many of us have it backwards, instead allowing others to control our happiness. Perhaps it could be your boss, the mean unscrupulous co-worker, relatives, or the driver who cuts you off in broad daylight.
These things are out of your control. You can only control your own environment. As soon as you grasp this concept you will find happiness. The dark clouds that once hovered over you will be lifted. It is than you will experience life in a whole new way.
How To Cultivate Your Happiness
1. Live In The Now Or The Present
• Starting living in the moment. To many of us live in the past or the future. I know I did for many years. This was due to my childhood where my mom was always freaking out about the future worrying about negative what if scenarios. This perceived danger became her truth which in most cases were unfounded.
• We can’t control what happens one or two hours from now. So just enjoy life. Go take a scenic walk. Have a look at the flowers, beautiful landscape, and feel the sunshine. Tell yourself how nice this is and how lucky you are to be living this wonderful life.
• Stop watching the news. It’s depressing and there’s nothing you can do about it anyway. All the news does is bring about negative emotions. Instead, pick up a book on personal development or learn a new skill.
2. Be Grateful By Showing Gratitude
• No matter how bad you may think your life may be there are always positives. Perhaps you might not be a millionaire or have the job you enjoy but if you look deep enough there is always a silver lining. There could be other things such as great friends, healthy family, adequate amount of food and a roof over your head. So many people in third world countries don’t enjoy these same luxuries we take for granted here in North America.
• Showing gratitude will tell the universe to bring more good things into your life. Trust me I practice this all the time and it does work in strange ways.
3. Focus On Things That Make You Happy
• For me it’s the ocean. I love taking walks along there because the sound of the waves stimulates my thinking. I’ve come up with lots of great ideas for business while doing this. For you it can be a favorite room, a coffee shop, or an activity.
• Think of a person, people, funny past events, a vacation spot which you really enjoyed. These bring about feelings of happiness. It will take your mind to a better place instead of constantly thinking about negative things throughout your day.
4. Control Your Thoughts Or They Will Control You
• Remember you can’t control what other people do. If you are still upset at a person for what they did to you in the past it’s time to let it go. That individual has long gone on with their life. They are probably not even thinking of you. So why let this past event determine your happiness. I often get asked by students what they should do before they step on to the mat to compete at a tournament. I just tell them to play their game because they cannot control what the opponent is thinking. They are going to play their game regardless of what my student thinks. The only thing my student can control is their emotions and what they do. Same principle applies in real life.
• Use positive affirmations and visualizations to help bring about positive thoughts. Professional athletes and highly successful people use these techniques all the time. It has been proven that using positive self talk and visualization can help improve performance.
5. Bring Out The Inner Child In You
• Too often as adults we have become too serious. Remember how often you laughed as a child. You didn’t have a care in the world. Bring that back once and while. Laugh, be silly, or go see a comedy. People who laugh tend to live longer than those who don’t.
6. Take Your Dog Out For A Nice Stroll
• Dogs are a great way to perk up your day. I like to let my dog Max take the lead. Just watching him stroll along the seawall makes me happy. Observe your dog. Look at all the simple things that make him happy such as walking around on a sunny day, smelling flowers, enjoying the company of other dogs, or just enjoying being outside with their owner.
7. Give Back To Society
• Volunteer your time to a charitable cause you are passionate about. This will put a smile on the ones you help and will make you feel great.
• Get to know the people you are helping whether it’s a homeless shelter, breakfast program for kids, or the boys and girls club. Getting to know them on a more personal level will make you happy knowing you helped make a difference in someone’s life.
8. Paint A Picture
• Painting or doing something artistic is a great form of self-expression. Just go to a studio and let all your feelings come out on the canvas. I used to paint as a child but found martial arts as a way of self-expression. One student asked me the other day how I did a movement. I told him I don’t know, I just let the movement come to me and go with it.
9. Write Your Thoughts Out
• Writing your thoughts out on paper is a great way of letting go of past negative experiences. You can choose to send the letter out or not to the person who has hurt you. I believe doing so will free yourself from the negative emotions. In many cases that individual probably didn’t realize they had hurt you so much.
10. Find Out More About Your Family History
• Ask your relatives to share their family stories with you. It’s fascinating what you begin to find out. Knowing your roots can uncover a lot of things on why your parents raised you the way they did.
• I used to resent my parents. Yes they did make a lot of mistakes when they raised us. However, after finding out how they were raised and what they had to go through to survive in China I gained a fresh perspective. They did the best they could for what they had. This allowed me to let go of all the negative experiences I had with them as a child.
Happiness is all up to you. You control your own happiness. Focus on the key elements of happy people that I described previously and you will be well on your way. Don’t let things you cannot control rob you of this right. Life is too short to be miserable. The last thing you want is to a be a grumpy sitting in an old folks home many years later wondering about what you should have done.
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