Tag Archives: happiness

Your 3 Steps to Happiness

9 Apr

holistic-joy-300x300What does happiness mean to you? When I asked this question on my Facebook page recently, here are some of the responses I received: inner peace, health, enough money in the bank, smiles on the faces of my husband and kids, everything!

It seems that we all have our own meaning when it comes to happiness, but whatever it means to us, we place huge importance on being happy.

There is often a mis-match between what we are experiencing and what we imagine we need to have or be in order to be happy.

It’s all about perception. We can tell ourselves:

‘I can’t be happy until (I have a certain amount of money/am a particular weight/meet the right man)’

or we can say, ‘I choose to be happy right now’.

We can think about what we perceive to be missing from our life, or focus on what we already have.

I know that often it doesn’t feel like we have a choice about what we think or feel. Our thoughts can feel out of control, constantly comparing our lives to those of other people who we perceive to have more money, better relationships, slimmer bodies. Who knows what goes on inside the minds of ‘those people’? I can guarantee it’s not all joy and peace!

The truth is if you want to feel in control of your happiness levels, you don’t need to rely on your external circumstances.

Just like you can improve your physical fitness, losing fat and building muscle, you can also give yourself a mental workout – building your positive thoughts and feelings and ditching the negative, critical thinking.

Let me present The Happiness Workout, three simple steps which will help to build your happy muscle. Commit to following these steps every day and happy will start to feel natural for you. The happiness workout takes just fifteen minutes a day – are you ready?

Step 1 – Driftaway

This is a super-simple technique I often use with my clients. The idea is to recognise that you are in control of your thoughts. Once you realise that, happiness and contentment are yours!

Find somewhere you can be quiet and undisturbed for up to fifteen minutes (you can certainly start off with a shorter period of time and build up to the full fifteen minutes).

Make yourself comfortable and close your eyes. Just start to notice your thoughts. Don’t try to change them, just watch your thoughts.

Notice each thought as it comes into your awareness. Set your intention to simply allow each one to drift across your mind, watching it like an observer.

Imagine you are taking a step back and watching your thoughts from a distance. Notice how you feel as you create that distance.

As each thought drifts across your mind, imagine then that it is floating away from you, like a bubble. You might visualise each thought encased in a bubble. Allow each bubble to float away from you, until it is out of your awareness.

At first you might have a lot of thoughts and a lot of bubbles! It may be difficult to identify each individual one. That’s okay. Just let them come and mentally take that step back. Give yourself some breathing space.

Continue with this practice for up to five minutes.

As you allow yourself to practice the driftaway technique daily, you will come to realise that you don’t have to become involved in your thoughts, you don’t have to engage with them. You can simply choose to watch each thought and allow them to float away from you.

This is a great way of making some mental space for yourself, building the feeling of being in control and knowing that you have a choice.

Step 2 – Body Talk

Now that you have done some mental clearing, you can bring your focus down from your mind into your body.

Often it feels like we are living up in our heads. It can be such a relief to spend some time down in our bodies and listen to the wisdom they have to share with us.

This is the next step of your happiness workout.

Stay in your quiet place and start to bring your attention into your body. Begin up at the top of the head and work your way down through each part of you. Imagine each muscle relaxing and releasing.

If you notice any tension or tightness, imagine that it is melting away, dissolving, like a warm liquid.

Your mind may wander during this process. That’s completely natural. If you notice your mind drifting off into thinking, bring your attention back to your body and continue working down towards your feet.

Once your attention arrives at your feet and your toes, ask your body silently in your mind, ‘Do you have anything to share with me today?’

Listen for the answer, maybe a thought will appear in your mind, maybe you will see an image or experience a physical sensation.

Maybe your body will let you know that it needs to rest, perhaps you will see a particular food that could nourish your body or you will be drawn to a part of your body that needs some attention.

Trust whatever comes to you and act on it.

Don’t worry if nothing comes. Just continue with the practice each day and you will start to become more aware of any insights your body has for you.

Notice how you feel to move out of your busy head and into your body; away from your thinking mind and into that more intuitive part of you that knows exactly what you need. You are building a relationship with your wise inner self.

Spend up to five minutes bringing yourself into your body. You will begin to become aware of a sense of peace and calm that maybe wasn’t there before.

You are now ready to move on to the final step of your happy workout…

Step 3 – Thank you!

As I mentioned earlier, much of our discontentment and lack of satisfaction comes from comparing ourselves to others, or feeling that we should be a certain way.

The last step of the workout gives you the chance to focus on where you are right now and what you do have, rather than what you don’t.

You’ve probably heard that an attitude of gratitude is one of the key ways to being happy? Well, this is what we are going to use now to super-charge your happiness muscle.

Stay in your quiet place and start to think about all the things that you appreciate in your life right now. If you can, write a list of everything you are grateful for. Writing the words down helps to reinforce the power of gratitude and appreciation you are expressing.

If you are thinking, ‘I have no idea where to start’, or ‘My life is so plain awful, I have nothing to be grateful for’, here are some appreciation tips:

  1. Back to basics. Focus on your body to begin with – what do you appreciate about your body? Your ability to sit comfortably? Your legs for moving you around? Your eyes that see the world around you? Your ears for hearing the words of loved ones or beautiful music?
  2. Widen your scope to include your home. What do you appreciate about your home? The shelter? The warmth? The comfort?
  3. Include any people you appreciate. Your partner? Your family? Your friends?
  4. How about any situations in your life you are grateful for? Your work? Your social life?
  5. Think about the natural world around you. What do you appreciate there? The warmth of the sun? The nourishment of the rain? The feeling of the ground beneath your feet? The sound of birds singing?

Once you start, you might find you aren’t able to stop! Keep going for five minutes and notice how you feel at the end.

To end your happiness workout, take a deep breath, put your hand on your heart and affirm to yourself, ‘All is well in my world in this moment’.

Delicious! If you commit to doing this mental workout daily, you will bring yourself back to happiness. You will feel in control of your mind and more satisfied that you have everything you need in this moment.

Take Action Now: When are you going to do your happiness workout? Schedule a time right now and stick to it. Show your commitment by posting a comment below this blog post and let me know how you get on. Happy times ahead!

Psst…Did you like this post?  If you enjoyed my Happiness Workout, you will be pleased to know I am creating an audio version guiding you through each of the three steps.  The good news?  This audio will be completely free to anyone on my list of subscribers – to make sure you get your free Happiness Workout MP3, just enter your name and email address right at the top of this page.

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