While we all have had some feeling of happiness stimulated by outside sources, wisdom and experience can tell us that this is not a reliable means of accessing true happiness.
Deep and abiding happiness is actually an inner state that emerges out of mental quiet and clarity, a body that is in balance, emotions that are serene and a spirit that is nourished…and this requires some effort on our part!
TIPS FOR CULTIVATING HAPPINESS
1. Explore the effect of diet on mood. The Mood Cure by Julia Ross is a good resource
2. Hydrate: the nervous and energy systems need lots of water to operate optimally
3. Breathe: full, easy breathing builds energy, increases mental clarity and emotional ease
4. Meditate: reduces effects of stress, cultivates inner stillness, nourishes spirit, quiets ego and invites higher consciousness into your life
5. Gently notice where your attention goes; note issues that need attention and plan for healing; refocus to place your thoughts on peace, joy, happiness…use memories at first to retrain bodymind to rest in the feelings you do want…builds new circuitry that becomes your new norm eventually.
6. Make it a point to find things to be grateful for everyday—they are there!
7. Practice letting go of negative thoughts, feelings and beliefs as they come up.
8. Do your inner work so you become solution focused not problem focused.
Asking how you will respond to a situation rather than becoming mired in repetitive thoughts is a more empowered, healthy state.
9. Catch people doing well—tell them! Do the same for yourself!
10. When people or situation aggravate, learn to shift perspective to access compassion.
E.G. what would make a person behave that way? Are they stressed, in a hurry, trying desperately to have a sense of power in a life of powerlessness, are they in pain? Most often we do not have the full picture behind people’s actions. If we did, we might understand them and their behavior in a kinder way. In spite of the fact that they may not be choosing the highest way to deal with their situation, we can be pretty sure they are choosing the only way they know in the moment. Compassion also involves healthy boundaries…to allow others to bring turmoil to our lives does not help them or us!
11. Practice Heart Centered Meditation
12. Create a mantra to carry with you that helps you stay in a state of equilibrium, E.G. “May I be peaceful, may I be happy, may I be free”