All of us who walk this earth, share one deep-rooted desire, the desire to be truly happy. Cultivating certain habits and patterns within our day-to-day lives, can help us experience a happier and more fulfilling life.
Be Kind. Scientific studies have shown that when we focus our thoughts and actions on showing kindness to others, this actually promotes our own personal feelings of happiness. Expressing love, compassion and a genuine care for those outside of ourselves, influences the release of oxytocin, a hormone that is important in social bonding. Small acts of kindness are really easy to include into your day-to-day life. Why not pop a card in the post to a friend to simply make them smile, buy a colleague a coffee on route to work, or knock on an elderly neighbours door and offer to pop to the shops for them. Little acts of kindness really do go a long way, whilst helping to boost our happy hormones.
Build good relationships, and then nurture them. It is so easy to take friendships and relationships for granted, but when we remind ourselves to focus on who is important in our lives, and then make a conscious effort to make time and effort for those people, this builds solid foundations for long-lasting, fulfilling and happy connections.
Balance and Rest. Take time to honour your physical and emotional self. We lead busy lives, keeping a job, running a household, looking after the family, these are just a few of the things that occupy our time and our energies. Take time out to rest and recharge. When we are tired, stressed and choose to forget that our body and mind needs good quality sleep and rest to function properly, feelings of frustration and unhappiness can arise.
Be grateful. Gratitude is associated with optimism and it has been determined that grateful people are happier, receive more social support, are less stressed, and are less depressed. Recent research indicates that optimists and pessimists approach problems differently, and their ability to cope successfully with adversity differs as a result. Gratitude can be found in the smallest things, all it takes is for the mind to be trained to acknowledge the little things we are grateful for, even during times of frustration or discontent.
Forgive. Harbouring feelings of bitterness, resentment, jealousy or betrayal only inhibits our own happiness, and does not serve us well. Learning to let go and move on from such emotions can increase our sense of personal worth and happiness considerably. At some point in our lives we have all felt we have been wronged by another, but acknowledging that these are simply feelings we need to process, experience and then grow from, can help us put perspective on such situations and move on more quickly from.
Acknowledging you are in control of your own happiness. This is one of the most profound lessons I learned from my own spiritual tutor. Learning to acknowledge that I was in fact the one and only, soul person in control of my own inner happiness, was one of the most empowering lessons of my life. When we learn to accept, that no matter what life throws at us, we have the option of choosing to be happy or choosing to be unhappy. We can choose to let the actions of others or challenges control our own personal happiness, or we can choose to view those situations and people as moments of great teachings and wisdom, and subsequently learn and grown from them. Of course, sometimes this can seem to be easier said then done. And remember, everyone is on a different and very personal journey. What may be easy for one person to do, can seem almost impossible for another. But if we at least try to remind ourselves in times of frustration or sadness, that we have a choice to be bitter for having a particular experience, or we can be grateful for the life lesson gained. Just simply knowing we have that choice, may in fact help us to choose to grow from that experience, and in time, who knows, it could even provide us with a life lesson that will enable to help someone else in the future.