Cultivating Happiness

Ever since I was a child, I have been blessed. I was given a pair of rose colored glasses with which to view the world and chose the perfect mother to help cultivate my childhood. My mom, LaVerne, was an amazing woman who never lost her sense of child-like wonder and amazement in the world. She took great joy in even the smallest things, was always positive, optimistic and always naturally found ways to brighten someone’s day. Growing up in such a nurturing positive environment made happiness abundant. It became the natural pattern of my being and I found that everything seemed to flow better when I and others around me came from a place of happiness.

Over the years happiness has never not been a part of my life. I often think I never really grew up and I guess I never really want to because it seems to me that too many grown-ups have lost sight of the delights that brought them happiness as a child. Don’t get me wrong, being serious has its place, but rather than experiencing happiness or seriousness I invite you to experience a serious happiness instead. I guess what it really boils down to is that you find happiness, contentment and blessings in all the experiences life offers. My mantra is “Everything Unfolds Perfectly”, even though we may not see the wisdom or find the happiness in the challenges that come our way, when we look back many years later you will truly see that indeed everything unfolded perfectly to bring you to where you are now.

Studies led by inspiration therapist Sonja Lyubomirsky point to 12 things joyful individuals do another way to expand their levels of joy. These are things that we can begin doing today to feel the impacts of more satisfaction in our lives. (Explore her book The How of Happiness.)

Each of these 12 focuses can help you cultivate happiness in your life, regardless of any challenges presently going on in your life, these ‘keys to bliss’ will help guide you to where you want to be.

Express gratitude – One of the tools that was truly a great gift is a simple exercise from Abraham Hicks entitled “Rampages of Appreciation”. Whenever you are experiencing a challenge, take out a piece of paper and start listing the things you are grateful for. Event though you may start off on a sour note, you will quickly find the opposite-of-positive thoughts quickly leave when you acknowledge gratitude for what you have. Oh so cool how positive energy flows, right? Being appreciative for all the things your life will present to you a deeper feeling of happiness.

Cultivate optimism – One of my favorite Joel Osteen sayings is “You are just one No away from a YES!” It is so true that positive optimism will open more doors. Disappointment is just as a chance to develop, grow and take in another lesson from life. Individuals who view the world from a place of optimism know that unlimited open doors await them, if the door before them is locked, they look inside and find the key.

Avoid over-thinking and social comparison – Be happy with who you are, where you are and be grateful for the opportunity to become who you want to be. When we compare ourselves to another person, we overlook all the work that we’ve done to grow and dismiss all the advancement that we’ve made. The illusion is that someone has more stuff, is smarter, is more outgoing . . . look inside and truly see how amazing you are, just as you are.

Practice acts of kindness – Science has proven that a demonstration of generosity discharges serotonin in your brain. (Serotonin is a substance that has AMAZING well-being benefits, including making us feel more happy.) Selflessly helping somebody always makes us feel better about ourselves. Generosity can be as simple as reaching down to pick up something someone else dropped and returning it to them. You are guaranteed to receive a warm smile in return.

Nurture social relationships – The happiest individuals on the planet are the ones who have profound sense of community. Knowing you have someone to lean on in times of need, or someone to laugh with makes us happy. We connect with others in a network to share the gift of happiness and spread the joy.

Develop strategies for coping – How you react to the speed bumps in life is the thing that shapes your character. You are going to have bad times along with the good times but it is how we navigate through that defines who we are. It truly is all about duality – you cannot appreciate light with out dark, hot without cold, good without bad. See the gift in every experience and it will make the challenging times less so.

Learn to forgive – Harboring emotions of hurt is a hindrance to your happiness. Your brain is an electrical network, it transmits and receives signals. When you are sending out negative feeling signals that are consume your thoughts you will find that you are actually attracting opposite of positive experiences. You become a magnet for what you are sending out and it will stay with you as the day or weeks progress. LET IT GO!

Increase flow experiences – To be in the flow is a state where it feels like time stands still. Try letting go of the energetic steering wheel and allow all that you need to flow to and from you. You will find a place where mindfulness and action are fused. When you are not trying to control what you think is best for you, you will discover a place where amazing happenings unfold in your life to bring you great happiness.

Savor life’s joys – Deep satisfaction can’t exist without easing off to revel in the delight. It’s just that simple. Our place in the universe a wonderful and exciting ride is you look to the little things that make your life great. See the enchantment in your life and I promise you will discover a world unlike no-other place.

Commit to your goals – Being wholeheartedly committed to doing something brings with it inexpressible power. Mysterious things begin happening when we envision ourselves to doing whatever it takes to get some place. Seeing yourself already where you want to be and fully embracing the feeling of being there in your heart brings amazing results. I dare you to try it!

Practice spirituality – When we honor otherworldly existence, mother earth or religion, we perceive a sense that life is greater than us. Surrender the senseless thought that we are the mightiest thing ever and you will open the doors to the wellspring of all creation and grasp a connectedness with everything that exists. Absolutely the most fulfilled individuals I know trust that they’re on the right path and are here doing work they’re “called to do.”

Take care of your body – Your body is the temple in which your spirit and soul live so taking care of your body is imperative to being the happiest individual you might be. Without physical vitality, your mental vitality (your center), your passionate vitality (your emotions), and your otherworldly vitality (your motivation) will all be challenged. Develop a few simple practices such as good nutrition, exercise, meditation to nourish your body, mind and soul.

Namaste!

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