We have the power to make ourselves happy but only if we have the awareness to go with it. Here are 10 steps to Happiness that I wrote about for a magazine last year. Perhaps you can condense them, or create some of your own!
1 Give yourself permission to be happy
Giving yourself permission to be happy needs to be up high on the list, if you don’t have permission, you won’t shift into a happier life. This sounds obvious, but so many of us think we have to suffer through life therefore we don’t actually allow ourselves to be happy. It’s true! Many of my clients say that strangers on the street have a right to be happy but they don’t!
Repeat this out loud and see how it feels “I give myself my complete permission to be happy”. If it feels wrong to you, or uncomfortable to say and believe 100%, there may be some limiting beliefs that you hold that need to be worked on. That’s ok, we all have them, if you can’t clear them yourself don’t be afraid to ask for help.
2 Start noticing what being happy feels like
Pull back from your idea of what you think happiness is and catch yourself when you feel actually feel happy. It might just be a smile, perhaps your heart lifts, or you may even feel your stomach relax, or hear the sound of your own laughter. Note it and know that this is it, this is what happiness feels like! Start noticing what causes these responses in you, it might even be something as simple as a good night’s sleep! Now you have permission to be happy, and you know what happy feels like! Great start, talk to you next week for more.
3 Keep it simple
Happiness isn’t a complex thing, what is complex is what we turn it into (I’ll be happy when I have more money, I’ll be happy when I have a boyfriend, I’ll be happy when……). It’s just not true. You can be happy now, small things can make you happy too. Now that you have your permission to be happy and an idea of what happiness feels like, break down your idea of “happiness” so that smaller things, like beautiful flowers or the smell of coffee can now make you happy. How can you simplify your life so that you can be happier more often?
4 Notice what/who enhances your ability to feel happy and do more of that
Spending more time with the people and things that make you feel happy is good for you. But if you’ve forgotten what/who they are, you can clear some time to get to know yourself better. Start with the alone time – take yourself out for coffee, go to a movie or a walk on your own, do something that thrilled you when you were a kid, and allow yourself to be in the moment, let the happiness come in. As you get more used to allowing yourself feel happy, you will notice the people who enhance this in you too.
You may need to go back to the issue around permission – do you give yourself permission to be happy without feeling guilty about it? Think of it this way – if happiness feeds your soul, why cook a meal for someone else and watch them eat it while you go hungry. Feed both of you!
5 Become aware of what stops you from being happy and do less of that
Unfortunately when you gain awareness of something that doesn’t make you happy, you also drop your tolerance levels for that thing. But if you want your life to change to let more happiness in, you have to let go of the things that block happiness.
This gets difficult if it’s a relationship, or if it’s career related. Some things you just can’t let go of easily. Some relationships/jobs can grow and change with your intention, but some can’t. And if you realise that your job or your partner/friend is making you unhappy, it’s better to have that awareness and do something about it than end up getting sick from it.
Take a gentle look this week at your life – a life review so to speak. All the people you are spending time with, and the things that you spend the most time doing. Do they truly make you happy? If they don’t, do you need to be doing them? What can you let go of? What can you fix? What do you have to live with?
6 Make a list of activities that lift your soul
Now that you are in the flow, you will be learning lots about what makes you happy – and writing it all down can really help. Just looking at the list can lift you up, and trying something on the list will certainly do the same. Make a list of things you’ve not tried yet that you think might make you happy and put some time towards those too! You have to put the energy in to get the happiness out.
7 Make a list of things to do when you are feeling low
There will be days where you feel low. On these days things that don’t require much energy like playing a particular piece of music, watching a favourite movie or even your favourite cafe can help lift you up. Once you are in the flow again, you can get back up and at-em. I find this list is like a “first aid kit” for happiness, on this you could consider adding “talking to someone about it” or “getting a holistic treatment” to make sure you are properly looking after yourself. And use the lists! No point having them sitting there when your brain needs a kickstart.
8 Assert your right to be happy
Asserting your right means saying no to things that make you unhappy. This can be hard, but if you’re working through these steps it’s something you have to do.
Remember when you say no to something, you say yes to something else. So here’s an example – If I say No to Aunty May’s dinner invitation, I’m saying no to a stressful dinner with tension and possible argument, but by doing that I’m saying yes to a quiet, stress free evening at home. Which feels better to you? Saying yes to staying home! Ok, staying with this example then ask yourself – what is more important, being stress free, or not hurting Aunty May’s feelings? And sometimes you may have to say yes to Aunty May. But not every time. Sometimes your stress levels are so high that doing something nice for Aunty May could result in your being pushed over your limit. So please ensure that you check your limit and then decide, rather than trying to keep the peace. If you feel it will push you over your limit you can tell her “I’m not able to make it for dinner, maybe next month.”
After you try it the first time and succeed, you will feel more empowered to do this again. If you didn’t get the previous happiness emails, don’t worry. All these steps to happiness will be available in article format after the final email has been sent, and a link will be available to you to read them all again.
9 Share your happiness with those around you
There’s nothing more contagious than a smile. As you feel more able to smile you will find you will be smiling more often, making better choices and having more energy to share happiness with other people. You don’t even have to know these people – I’m sure you’ve experienced a stranger smile at you, which starts you smiling too. It’s time to pay it forward!
Think of some fun ways you can lighten someone’s day this week – maybe with a random act of kindness: pay the toll for a stranger, buy a homeless person a cup of tea, or offer to babysit for friends who don’t get to go out very often. When you’ve buckets of energy to spare because you’re happy more of the time, it raises your vibration, increases your tolerance for life and gives you vitality and joy to share in your community. And hey, you may even be ready to pay Aunty May a visit!
10 Live from gratitude
By being grateful every day for all the things that make you happy, you help wash away the tired heavy stale energy of the things that don’t. Being grateful is the highest vibration of energy that you can hold, and by bringing it in, you eliminate feelings of lack. If you’re not feeling it, look up “gratitude lists” on the internet and read what other people are grateful for, and you will feel that rushing in and lifting you up enough to start inspiring you to write your own list.
You can start your own practice of gratitude by doing things like making a list of 5 things that you are grateful for every day, snap a photo and start a gratitude board on Pinterest, or your favourite social media site.
In gratitude for you all, until next time,