The Dalai Lama says: “Happiness is not something ready-made, it comes from your own actions.” So, although life throws us many curveballs, we can choose happiness over discontent. Here’s 6 steps to lasting happiness..
1. Clear away the clutter
A disorganised life can be messy, stressful and expensive, since you’ll struggle to keep track of household and other expenses… but it doesn’t have to be, says professional organiser, author and busy mom of three, Christina Scalise. Her solution for a calm, happy life?
• Declutter — remove all unwanted items from your home.
• Donate — instead of holding onto things, give them to someone who needs them.
• Deduct — save money by claiming your donation on your tax return.
For more decluttering tips, download the kindle edition of Scalise’s Organise Your Life and More: Save Time and Money, Reduce Stress, Remove Clutter (Brighton Publishing) here.
2. Choose a glass half full
If you feel like you’re caught in a downward spiral, step back for a moment and get some perspective. Get back to the basics — strip down to your essential self and start the day with a positive outlook. By seeing each day as fresh start, you’ll look forward to seeing what’s in store and making things happen.
This is the first crucial step in helping you regain your life and forgetting about your worries says Shannon Keiser, author of Find Your Happy: An Inspirational Guide to Loving Life to its Fullest.
This change in direction also represents a declaration that you’re in control of your life and that you’re choosing to embrace all the good stuff that’s in it, rather than stressing about things you can’t change.
Start you day the right way by downloading the app, Happiness — A Guided Meditation. It includes a 15-minute calming meditation sequence and two relaxation techniques to help you feel good and improve your outlook on life. [about R32.50] available from the iTunes Store.
3. Define what’s meaningful to you
While there’s nothing wrong with indulging in a little retail therapy now and then, the happiness we feel when acquiring material assets is short lived and just a quick fix. In his famous theory on happiness, philosopher Aristotle believed that unlike ‘fake’ happiness, which relies on instant gratifiers like a new car or house, true happiness can’t be gained or lost in a few hours.
Rather, its a long-lasting emotion that comes from knowing yourself and what you really want from your life. Numerous studies show the value of close bonds and relationships we share with friends and family. So, if you focus more time and energy on just one thing this year, make it your relationships.
4. Get moving
Exercise has been shown to have such profound effects on our mood that it’s been used as an antidote for mild to moderate depression. The good news is it doesn’t take much to get those feel-good hormones flowing. Studies show that around 30 minutes of moderate activity like walking, swimming or cycling per day, or 60 minutes three times a week, will do the trick.
Give yoga a try: Any yoga purist will tell you that while it’s brilliant for strength and flexibility, yoga also relieves stress and anxiety, helping you feel calmer and happier. Scientists agree too.
In his book, Your Brain on Yoga (RosettaBooks) author, yogi master and assistant professor at Harvard medical school Sat Bir Khalsa says that regular yoga sessions will help to lower blood pressure, increase lung capacity and reduce anxiety, stress and bouts of insomnia. It’s never too late to start and even one or two sessions a week is good for the mind, body and soul.
5. Take control
As our lives get busier, our stress levels escalate and we begin to feel anxious and unhappy. Instead of wasting precious energy on the things you have to remember to do, use a list to deal with one task at a time, ticking them off as you complete them. You’ll be surprised just how therapeutic ticking chores off a list can be.
At the same time, there’s no better quick ‘happiness fix’ than stopping to take note of all the good stuff in your life.
6. Just be happy … right now!
Why not jot down all the things you’re grateful for in a journal? Sharing your happy moments with others and being able to look back on how much happiness there is in your life will give you an incredible boost.
DISCLAIMER: You must not rely on the information on this website/newsletter as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.