28 Mar Happiness Part 1
Last week we had world “Happiness” day, which coincided with the first day of Spring. Spring is a time of new beginnings and it would be a new beginning if the world was truly happy. In my Reiki training I have experienced Shamanism, as my Reiki teacher is also a Shaman. In Shamanism they believe that the energy from out thoughts impacts a web of energy that surrounds earth (I am really simplifying this). The belief is that we all impact the state of world happiness and peace.
So what makes people happy? There are several list floating around on what makes people happy. I think this is personal for most of us. Over the next few blogs I will touch on as many of these “happiness lists” that I can. I will start with my personal favorites. These are attitudes and actions that have helped me be able to keep a positive spin on most experiences that have come my way.
How to Stay in a “Happiness” frame of mind
1. Express GRATITUDE. I do this daily. I was brought up in the Catholic church and prayer is an integral part of my faith. I do it daily and I notice that most of my prayers are those of gratitude. Each day I take time to take note of the good things that happened during the day and before I go to sleep I say a prayer of gratitude for these events. I may also ask for guidance for pressing issues in my life, however I always finish with gratitude. Sleep is the time when our brain synthesizes what happened to us during the day. Thus beginning the sleep process in a “happy” and gratitude frame of mind, helps to “frame” the day`s events in a more positive way during sleep.
I also practice gratitude during the day when good things happen or when annoying things happen. If I am hurrying to an appointment and end up behind a very slow vehicle (tractors!), and I think “ugh, this is going to make me late”, I say a word of thanks. Perhaps this slow moving vehicle is preventing me from getting a speeding ticket, and it most certainly is giving me extra time to breathe.
Finding that silver lining, or learning point from a day gone awry is not always easy. This takes training, which can be gained through taking daily “time out” in some form of meditation. This practice helps bring clarity to even the most negative events. It won`t necessarily change the outcome, but it will change your attitude and reaction to the outcome, which ultimately affects your health, and happiness.
2. Exercise. Yes this makes me feel happy and I try to exercise 5 times a week. It is the science of endorphins. It is just a fact. It is a decision to exercise and it could be as easy as taking the stairs at work rather than the elevator. Before you know it, you will not be puffing after climbing 5 flights of stairs. Or the decision to take public transport, if it is available. Walking to the train or bus stop gets you outdoors and also has you moving. Small steps often lead to bigger steps… those stairs could just lead you to your first 5 km run or the decision to take a hiking holiday rather than a beach holiday.
3. Spend time in reflection or thought. Some of us do this automatically and some of us need to make time for this. This is not referring to time in thought while driving home but rather giving oneself 15 minutes to just be. I am fortunate that I do this with my work. I prepare myself each day to receive clients. However there are days that I am not receiving clients and it is these days that I really have to make an effort to sit in reflection or peaceful meditation of some sort to ground myself for whatever life might want to hand me on the day. One of my goals for this year is to take this time everyday. Somedays are still hit and miss, however I am more mindful of this practice. Some people do not find meditation easy as their brain wanders around and does not sit still. Simply doing abdominal breathing while sitting quietly and just paying attention to the air moving through your nasal passages and into the lungs can achieve a great sense of relaxation.
You can then bring a thought, one thought, into your mind to contemplate or you can just listen and see what comes to you. Or you can focus on the practice of moving thoughts through your mind: acknowledge the thought, say thank you, then send it on its way on a cloud so you can just be, and continue breathing. You can also do this when you are waiting in the car, just taking a few moments out to breathe and pay attention to your breathing, no thoughts, just breathing. It is quite surprising how rejuvenating this is and how it gives us more pleasure. I think the pleasure comes from knowing that you have taken some time out for yourself, no matter how short.
I will touch on more “Happiness Habits” in my next blog. For now I leave you with a link to 10 scientifically proven ways to make yourself happier… it is suggested here that just planning a trip can make you happy … I am not sure that would work for me.
Balance on my friends…….