The Number One Key to Happiness
مفتاح السعادة الأول
I have a challenge for you. Right now, without procrastination, can you list at least twenty things in your day/life that make you feel good and bring you joy? Ready? GO!
How many did you get to? Did you fly past twenty? Did you struggle? Did you curse at me for making you do something so darn difficult? There’s no judgement here, simply just a call to be honest with yourself and where you’re at right now. Because if you did find that you struggled to list things that bring you joy, you may need to take a look at how many happiness-inducing acts you allow yourself each day.
I did this exercise with my mum recently, and she struggled to get to eight. When she protested that this is because she doesn’t really go anywhere and do anything, I told her that the point of the exercise is to find joy and happiness in the so-called mundane parts of everyday life. If we can be happy for no reason, we will genuinely be happy.
Happiness really comes down to two elements: the way we think and the way we act.
Here’s how you can begin to implement these elements in your own life.
1. CHOOSE YOUR THOUGHTS WISELY
I just finished reading You Can Create An Exceptional Life by Louise Hay and Cheryl Richardson (which I highly recommend, by the way), and in it Louise explains that feeling good is our primary goal in life. We choose foods that we think will make us feel good, we buy clothes that we think will make us feel good, and we choose relationships with people we think will make us feel good. But often, we discredit and overlook the biggest element that will truly make us feel good: thinking good thoughts. It is our thoughts that really dictate the way we feel, so why not choose thoughts that make you feel amazing?
Awareness is the first step to making positive changes, so monitor your thoughts throughout the day. Heck, write them down if you have to. Journaling and Morning Pages (where you free-write everything that comes into your mind first thing in the morning) are great ways to take inventory of where your mind goes. Whenever you catch yourself thinking about something that doesn’t make you feel good, transform that thought into something that does.
2. DO MORE OF WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY
Too many of us also deny ourselves of happiness by choosing to do things we feel we “should” do over the things that will make us happy. As someone who chose to heal naturally from cancer, I know all to well of the “should do” trap. In the beginning of my journey, I felt that I “should” juice and I “should” meditate and I “should” take supplements, because without doing these things I might die. It wasn’t until I interviewed Anita Moorjani, who wrote Dying To Be Me, about her cancer journey, near-death experience, and subsequent healing, that I realized that I had it wrong. When you live your life from a place of chore and fear, you deny yourself joy. Now I see the importance of juicing, meditating, and eating amazingly healthy food because doing these things will make me feel good and give me a wonderful long life—not because I don’t want to die.
Give yourself guilt-free permission to do things that bring you joy. Plus, find joy in the simple tasks you perform throughout the day.
Happiness is the result of being thankful for what you have, so make a point of counting your blessings. What you place your attention on grows, so it’s important to place your attention on the good in your life rather than the lack.
Jessica Ainscough. Writer, positivelypositive.com