What is Happiness & How to Get MORE! ?
Happiness. What is it? A lot of us seem to be searching, as the book “The Happiness Project”, on how to be happier, was a recent #1 New York Times bestseller. The message on my tazo tea bag said that “Real happiness lies in that which never comes nor goes but simply is”. And many of us know the quote that “happiness comes from within”.
So what does that really mean and how do you find happiness within? In a book called “Essentials of Yoga Practice and Philosophy” they point out that “we think there are a lot of things to do and experiences to have” and that “happiness will come from the satisfaction of those desires”. I’d be happier if I had a different job, more money, a better relationship, or lived somewhere else because then life wouldn’t be so stressful. Then I’d have more time. Then, I’d be happy. But then comes and goes and we feel dissapointed or at best the same as where we started (not much happier). And instead we may have traded our happiness for four husbands, a new wardrobe, a different car, appliances, decorations for the new house, vacations, or whatever other “stuff” we’ve accumulated yet still feeling the same overall lack of both happiness and life satisfaction.
The storage industry is actually one of the fastest growing industries because so many of us are holding on to A LOT of “stuff”. There are reality tv shows being made about hunting out valuables from storage units. The first step towards happiness is letting go of the stuff that’s holding us back (give it away or give it up) and focus instead on what we’re really longing for. You really can be happy in each moment, in each phase of your life, even if outside circumstances seem not so happy.
“One of the simplest ways to stay happy is to let go of the things that make you sad”.
Just to clarify, I do believe that it’s important to do work you love, have healthy relationships, have a wardrobe you feel great in, live in a nice home that makes you happy, etc. but let’s face it, at certain times in life, that may not always be reality. So let’s strip all that away for the sake of happiness so we can get down to the core. Once you fulfill your inner self, all else will rebuild and blossom into that which you really are, which is perfect, complete and deeply happy.
Take a moment to reflect on your own happiness, right now. Ask yourself, Am I happy? What makes me happy? What do I do for myself to be happy? What can I do to be even happier? Make a list. Be completely honest with yourself. Now look at your list. If it includes objects or desires such as shopping, chocolate, wine, etc., just notice that.
In our world today, as we know, many of us want a quick fix and instant pleasure or “happiness in a bottle” (as the the lid on my coconut water bottle nicely displayed). It seems the norm is take a pill, pacify, over indulge, and bury those feelings of unhappiness, like a needle in a haystack. And maybe one day you’ll dig it out, clear away the bundles of hay, and sew something beautiful out of your life.
Step two, to living a happy life, is to look inside yourself vs. outside yourself. So how do you look within instead of outside yourself? Looking outside yourself involves the use of “band aides”, quick fixes, or “stuff” to feel better. Some examples could be using people, alcohol, food, events, vacations, shopping and keeping busy to fill you. Looking inside yourself, starts with making a commitment to yourself. Make a commitment to take time everyday to do something for yourself that truly makes your soul happy. Go slow. Don’t overwhelm yourself. This is supposed to be fun.
The key to looking inside yourself is to make time daily to rejuvenate and remember you. So step 3, to living a happy life is making YOU time daily. Maybe you start with 5 minutes a day and then gradually build. Do what works with your life,right now, so that you can maintain the commitment. Choose activities that make your soul happy. If you don’t know, try new things until you find what feels good to you. (Click here to read “finding my happy place”).
Here are a few tips to get you started with making YOU time daily:Write in a journal every night before bed, swim, take a salt bath and playing relaxing music, read books on spirituality or other good for the soul topics that interest and inspire you, sing, do arts and crafts, photography, read positive affirmations, meditate, spend time in nature, take a yoga class, dance, or volunteer for a cause that you feel passionate about.
Do this daily, as if your life depended on it, because in truth, it does.