Being happy is what life is all about. It doesn’t matter what we do or where we are, if we are not happy, what’s the point? Some people spend their whole lives chasing it, but in truth finding happiness is an inside job and it’s up to each one of us to create it for ourselves. Here are some ways to help along the way…
TIP 10: MAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF
Be sure to make time in every day to do something that you enjoy.Even if you are busy you can fit this into your day without much effort.If you love music, try getting ready in the morning to some of yourfavourite artists – this can really lift you up and make you feel great. If you love reading, then make a time to do this for yourself. You need to become a priority in your own life. If you have children then this can be more difficult but it’s even more important. Remember that you can’t pour from an empty cup! So take care of yourself.
TIP 9: BE PRESENT – LIVE IN THE NOW
Have you ever found that when you live in the moment, everything is OK? Even when things don’t go your way, you can get through it. The real problems arise when we live in the past, re-living things that have already happened, or worry about the future and things that might happen. Both of these are useless as they are all in our minds. We can’t change the past, we can only accept it and open our hearts to it so that we can let go and move on. And we can’t control what happens in the future either – we can do our best to live our lives the way we want to, but then we just need to trust and let go. Being present means living in the now. When you are walking down the street, smell the trees, see where you’re going, admire the beauty around you – don’t constantly make lists in your head and comment on everything you see and hear – just be there and experience it. This can be applied to everything we do – exercise, having a cup of tea with a friend and driving home in the car – the more present we are, the better we feel!
TIP 8: DON’T BE SO SERIOUS
Seriousness is a harmful attitude to carry around. Anytime you are ‘serious’, you are contracting in your mind, your energy and your body.Start to take things more lightly, have fun and laugh at yourself. The Indian mystic Osho said, “In any argument, the person who is most serious is wrong.” This is a good one to remember.
TIP 7: GET YOURSELF GROUNDED
When you are grounded you are connected to the earth, stable and solid – your legs feel strong and you feel balanced. Whereas being ungrounded means you can be a bit floaty, clumsy, and all in your head. The more grounded you are, the easier it will be for you to be present, get out of your head, meditate and generally be connected to your life here on earth. If you are quite an ungrounded person, start each morning by sitting on the side of your bed and put you attention in your feet. Really feel them connect to the floor. Then imagine and feel your feet are growing tree roots that go down through the floor and into the earth, travelling many kilometres into the earth’s core. Don’t just imagine – try and feel it as well as this will make it stronger. Do that every day and see how you feel. Also, when you walk, feel how you feel in your legs, hips and feet – this will keep your attention out of your mind and help you to be more grounded. For a real treat, go get a foot massage or ask your partner to give you one!
TIP 6: HELP OTHER PEOPLE
Helping other people is a beautiful thing to do. No matter if you help your next door neighbour, the local homeless shelter or your family and friends, being compassionate and giving to others can really help to make you feel good. Many therapists often say that when they are helping others, they feel so good because they forget all their own problems. Also, seeing someone else in need is often a reminder of how fortunate we are in our life. Gratitude is also a powerful thing.
TIP 5: FEEL, DON’T THINK!
When we think, our minds run rampant and depending on what we think about, any number of emotions could arise. We become like a balloon blowing in the wind and where we end up (emotionally) is anyone’s guess. Many people complain about having overactive minds, but in truth, we are all a bit like this. We need to stop spending so much time in our heads, and spend more time connected to our body. But how do we do that? It’s simple – feel, don’t think. When we truly feel, it’s not possible for us to think. Here lies our salvation!Practically you can try it like this – start by feeling your breath. Really feel your breath as it enters your nose, travels down your windpipe, into your lungs and back out again. Do this for a few minutes and then see if it’s possible to keep all your attention on feeling your breath, while you think about what’s on at the movies, or what you might have for dinner. You soon find out that it’s absolutely not possible.You find yourself flicking between thinking and feeling the breath. For many, this is a great discovery since it shows how we can really get out of our minds. So, the more often you put your attention into feeling, the less you will be in your head. You can use the breath, your heart or any part of your body – just not your mind!
TIP 4: SING FOR YOURSELF
Singing is not just for singers. Everyone can sing, no matter how badly and if you haven’t sung lately then it’s about time you did. Apart from being a fun thing to do in the shower or car or wherever you feel like it, singing has a few practical benefits as well. It opens up the throat centre, so if you are feeling a bit down, this will really make you feel better. It also activates the pranic field of Udhana – which is the energy of Spring – to give you that real bounce in your step. Opening your throat can help to release congested qi associated with anger, humiliation and control. But in general, it just makes you feel really good!
TIP 3: READ INSPIRING BOOKS
Beautiful books and poetry have the power to significantly change how your see yourself and your life, and how you feel. Sometimes there is nothing more powerful than words on a page that jump out at you and help you to see how you have been looking at a particular issue in your life. Exposing yourself to this type of literature is definitely worthwhile. Try flipping through the Sufi mystic Hafiz’s poetry, or the wonderful Rumi or stories by Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu – they are sure to pick you up.
TIP 2: MEDITATE EVERY DAY
Everyone, everywhere would benefit from meditating every day. So start today. It’s as simple as that. It’s easy to be happy from moment to moment but to have happiness and health throughout your life – meditation is an essential. Start with something simple like the Inner Breath (feeling the breath) or the Inner Smile meditation (opening the heart) and do it every day. Don’t worry if it takes you months to start to get the hang of it – it usually does. Be kind to yourself and be consistent.
TOP TIP: LIVE IN YOUR HEART
When you fell in love for the first time – that’s what it felt like to have your heart open. You were living in the feeling of love and that’s what we need to do every day of our lives. It needs to be a conscious decision and you need to make a commitment to yourself to always come back to your heart – no matter what has happened or how you are feeling – you can always choose to come back to your heart. Practise an opening heart meditation like the inner smile every day and regularly connect with your heart throughout the day and ask yourself, am I living in my heart right now?
Live, love and be happy!
By Rochelle Taylor