Over the past few months I have been talking to family, friends, neighbors, clients, students, CEOs, EDs, etc. about taking The Big Leap which is a book by Gay Hendricks about creating the life you want to live.
In my research, I learned that more than two-thirds of Americans are unhappy with their lives. This is astounding news considering we live in one of safest, most abundant countries in the world. How can this be? The Big Leap says we have an Upper Limit Problem, i.e. afraid to allow ourselves to feel more happiness. I agree and want to empower you to create new habits to allow more happiness in your life.
Do you pursue happiness? Create happiness? Why are some people happy and positive even in the midst of what may seem to you like a tragedy? I looked into some of these questions in my own pursuit of well-being.
Darren Hardy, Success Magazine publisher and editor says “Pursuing Happiness is like chasing a rainbow.” I agree. The rainbow can never be caught per se; however, I can choose to observe the rainbow and be in a state of gratitude for the magnificence of the creation.
Creating habits that lead to feeling happy may require becoming more intentional with my thoughts. There is cause and effect and the first cause is always creating my thoughts. So, I practice thinking about my ABCs and can connect myself to a state of happiness at any time.
A is for Awareness of a given situation.
B is for Being Present in the moment.
C is for Consciously Choosing a response.
When things are not working the way I want, I take a step back and reflect on my thoughts. Why is this happening? How am I responsible for this? Where are my thoughts? I believe there are no mistakes only learning opportunities. So, if my job, relationship, bank account, health or spiritual life are not where I want them to be, I take a step back and become aware of my thoughts without judgment. What can I learn, and how can I grow? Be present in the moment~ practice mindfulness because in this moment, all is well. I have a choice to make at this moment. I can choose anger, sadness, or happiness.
I certainly do not want to diminish emotions when a situation comes up that creates feelings other than happiness. This past Spring my dog, Jake died unexpectedly. I experienced my share of grief and sadness over my loss. However, I know ultimately my happiness cannot be attached to my dog (whom I loved like a child), job, or relationship, etc. My happiness comes from connection to something much bigger: my higher power, community, family, friends, i.e. the relationships I create! We all have the ability to create meaningful relationships.
Creating a meaningful life is what creates happiness. Happiness shows up in different forms everyday. The things that make us happy today may not be relevant tomorrow. There are seasons of life and change is always a part of those seasons. As we begin to notice the leaves are turning and the animals preparing for a long winter, it is time to plant your seeds for happiness so there is a good harvest in the Spring. The key to living a happy life is to intentionally create a life with meaning; one filled with habits that lead to happiness.
What do habits to happiness look like? Well, it starts with gratitude!
1. Make a habit of being grateful for every experience. Keep a journal and write one thing everyday that you are truly thankful to have in your life. As Sheryl Crow once said, “...it’s not having what you want; it’s wanting what you have.”
2. Make a habit of moving your body! You do not have to run 5 miles a day to experience the benefits of exercise. Your body yearns to move. Give yourself a minimum of 20 minutes a day for 7 days and measure your mood on a scale of 1-10. There is an actual physical release of negative emotions when you exercise. You cannot help but feel better. Get out there and do it even if you don’t feel like it. I promise you will reap the rewards in the form of happiness and who knows, maybe even get into that dress or swimsuit you wanted to sport for the summer!
Call To Action Challenge
Take one of the above habits and try implementing it for the next 7 days.