Over the years I have stumbled upon wisdom or experienced realisations which have changed my life. Many of which I have forgotten but some have left a permanent imprint on my life. They have left their mark because they have helped me connect into joy and happiness inside myself, rather than giving me a reason to feel happy which can be much more fleeting.
We all have the capacity to be joyful, light and happy at any moment, without any external stimuli or event. However as we grow up and become adults we forget that happiness doesn’t require a reason.
These are my top five tips for being happy right now, before you’ve changed anything in the external world – like your job, financial situation, lover etc.
1. Notice likeness over differences.
This is the most beneficial use of our overused ability to judge other people and ourselves. Hundreds of times in everyday we distinguish how people are different from us, how they are right or wrong, better or worse, what we like or dislike about them. We put ourselves down by comparing ourselves to others and then pump ourselves up by degrading others, when the most beneficial and freeing way to use judgement is to recognise how similar you are. You might start by noticing obvious similarities, and then later on hidden ones. Or you might even just notice that we are all human going about our day doing the best that we can. But even just by giving it a go you will begin to feel that warm and fuzzy feeling in your chest and set yourself free.
2. Write down all of the things that make you feel really good, and then do something from your list everyday.
This isn’t about what gives you momentary pleasure, it’s about what brings you warm and fuzzy feelings of joy, right through your belly and chest. The things that lift your mood and connect you with your spirit without even trying, and the things that make time feel as though it’s sped up.
3. Think of others.
Think about another person, a stranger or someone you know, and ask yourself what you could do for them. It might be as simple as sending them an email about how much they mean to you, or writing a review for their business online, or donating to their charity run. If you can start your day by doing this you are onto a winner. The most successful people I know (and I’m talking about successful in the sense of feeling happy and fulfilled) include doing at least one thing for someone else everyday. It’s a surefire way to pull yourself up and out of victim, poor little old me mode and right into expansive, beaming with love mode!
4. Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway
Yes this is the title of a book but if we could apply this one little gem then our lives would expand tenfold. The key here is to observe when you shy away from something or say no, whether you are doing it because you are worried or afraid. Once you catch the sneaky bugger in the act and recognise that what you are feeling is fear, then it will become easier to give yourself the extra nudge to say yes instead.
5. Give up the Need to be Right
Firstly you might start with observing how often you deem yourself right and others wrong. Then spend some time pondering the viewpoint that potentially we are all just walking this planet alike and perhaps none of us really know anything in the way that we think we do. I feel much more free to express myself when I’m not trying to prove that I’m right and conversely that someone else is wrong. And what appears right in one moment, might in some future moment appear ‘wrong’ anyway, so just let it go and we can all be wrong or we can all be right. It doesn’t matter. What could you do differently if you were no longer needing to show others that you are right?
What are your top tips for being happy?