How can I feel happier with life?
When asked what we want most for the people we love, most of us will answer, 'I just want them to be happy.'
We all want to be happy. To do or have what we think will please us and give us joy.
We naturally attach the achievement of goals, or the having of the things we want, to the achievement of happiness.
Do any of these statements seem familiar?
‘I’ll be happy when…….'
I earn more money
We move into a different house
I lose weight
I get fitter
My partner starts ………
My partner stops........
I find a partner/Leave my partner.......
My kids do...are older....leave……
The weather is warmer/colder
The Government starts ………
The Government stops…….
I finish my course
We all know it's worthwhile to have goals and to strive and work towards what we want, although that can have us feeling frustrated and dissatisfied, or worse.
The challenge is then, how can we learn to be more content and satisfied with our lives how they are right NOW while still staying motivated and moving forward.
In this fast paced world full of experiences and comparisons we can sometimes feel like we aren't keeping up, or that we're missing out, or that there's another level out there for us, although somehow we intuitively know that if we continue to put our feelings of satisfaction or contentment into the future, we are robbing ourselves of the happiness we say we want. We'll get to be happy when we're thinner, smarter, stronger, richer, or somehow more successful than we are now.
So how do we build our 'contentment' muscle?
How can we be more content and happy with our life as it is unfolding right now?
A great place to start, which really does work, and you can do this at ANY moment, is to look at what you can be grateful for in your life right now. With our built in negativity bias, we are very good at describing the things that aren't working in our lives, which breeds more discontent and dissatisfaction. The good news is that as we build our self-awareness, we can move our focus in just a second or two, and when we focus on what is working, on what we are achieving, on what we can do or be grateful for right now, we get to feel happy and content now too.
Try it now - think right now about 5 things that you like about your life – and you can definitely find them. It could be that you like where you live, or that the weather is how you like it, or that you are eating well, or even that you are alive. Consider the appreciation you have for those things. See them, hear them and feel them, right now, and feel the contentment and relief spread in your body and on your face.
Another thing you can do is to remember a time when you felt happy or content. Think back now to a time in the last couple of months when you laughed with someone, or shared a meal, or connected with nature, or relaxed, or watched a great movie, or read a good book or article. It can be a small experience or a significant one. Any time when you experienced joy.
In your mind’s eye, take yourself back to that time now, and remember it as if you are seeing it out of your own eyes now as you did then. What was the scene? Who was with you or where were you? What was in the picture? Were you inside or outside? What were the sounds around you? What did you feel? Feel those positive emotions now as you turn up the sounds and the colours of that scene. Can you remember what you were telling yourself at the time? Tell yourself that now, as you immerse yourself in that memory.
You can do this exercise with any positive emotion that you would like to experience more often – love, confidence, relaxation, empowerment, fun, energy. And the more you go to those times, the more you appreciate them, and the quicker you can access them whenever you want to.
Another way to feel contentment and happiness right now is to connect more with nature. You can do this just by going outside no matter what your surrounds and breathing the air deeply, although the greener the landscape the better. Breathe in fresh air, look up at the sky, and feel the power and the beauty of our natural world. Connecting with nature has proven health and wellbeing benefits.
Another way to feel more content right now, is to build more trust in your inner voice, your inner guidance system. How many times have you gone ahead with something or not gone ahead with something because we wanted to please someone else, or you thought it was the right thing to do?
This leads to resentment or feelings of martyrdom, and then we just feel like we have let ourselves down. This is a sure fire way to feel dissatisfied and discontent with our lives. When we build trust in our own inner knowing or our intuition, and we let go of comparing our journey in life to everyone else's, then we can truly just be who we are and live true to ourselves.
Finally, at PLS, we choose to take on the belief that we have 100% choice and 100% responsibility for our level of happiness, from moment to moment, as well as for the outcomes we are achieving in life.
For some this belief could sound very big or heavy and for others like us here at PLS, it is very empowering. If something isn't bringing happiness to your life in the way you want, this belief suggests that you have a choice to do something about that. And not choosing is a choice. If you believe that you are 100% responsible for your own happiness, then you can do something to change that, and feel happier with your life right now.
“Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough” ― Oprah Winfrey
Until next time,
The PLS Team