The month of May has arrived in all its glory. It is time to build your happiness. And yes, it’s time to hang a basket of flowers by your front door, dust off the Bar-B-Q and engage in outdoor activities.
Many of my clients come to counselling / therapy because they want to be ‘happy’ yet they are at a loss to identify what makes them truly happy. These clients are either so focused on making others happy that they forget about their own happiness. Or, they fear criticism so they strive to be perfect only to fall short. Many focus on the next goal without truly celebrating the goal just achieved.
Aristotle – 400 BC – said “Happiness depends upon ourselves”. In other words if you want to be happy, then choose to be happy.
Research tells us that 90% of our happiness is based on the attitude we choose to have each and everyday. That’s right we can choose our attitude – we can choose to be positive about the day that is in front of us or we can choose to be negative. In other words, an individual’s happiness is based on how s/he sees the world.
We each see the world through the lens of the attitude we embrace. If we are feeling negative, then everything we see we will criticize. If we are feeling happy then negative happenings will be endured, the positive events will be appreciated and activities and get-togethers that we want to have happen will be planned.
Here are 3 tips to get you in touch with your happiness:
1) Do it for you – whatever you do, do it because you want to do it. Enjoy the process. If you are in a dance class, enjoy the class, the learning, the music and your skill level. Rather than comparing yourself to others, appreciate what you are doing.
2) Carve out time for walking – go for a walk 3 – 5 times a week for 20 minutes with your phone unplugged. Notice the sights, sounds and smells while being aware of your breathing. This brief exercise is a mental health break. This will give you a sense of calm and over time help you tap in to what makes you happy.
3) Engage in random acts of kindness. A kind act can boost your positivity. You will simply feel better about yourself. The other day in a coffee shop I noticed a young woman spill coffee over her book because the table was wobbly. I grabbed some napkins and put them over the spilled coffee. She was so grateful for the help, we exchanged a smile, a few words and a little laugh. It was a boost of positivity.
Incorporate these tips on a daily basis and watch your happy attitude begin to expand.
Photo courtesy of Irina Patrascu