We all want to be happy, right? There is just one person in control of that… you.
To have inner confidence and achieve your successful life, we believe you need to feel happy. When you feel unhappy it is impossible to get motivated, hard to take action.
Taking ownership for your thoughts, feeling and behaviour changes your life. You can do the same for happiness. Take ownership for your own happiness. Why would you put something so important and precious in the hands of others?
How often have you seen people blame their situation or other people for their unhappiness? Well here is a shocking revelation: our happiness levels are not down to other people or what happens to us but is very, very much down to us. In taking responsibility for our own lives we must take responsibility for our own happiness.
Culturally we are led to believe that if you get a good job, earn lots of money, buy a big house and get lots of flashy toys you will be happy. Of course, some people might well enjoy these things, but at Ivy House we don’t believe they are what make people happy long term.
It is how you ‘are’ while living in the big house that makes all the difference. And the problem is that SO many people do not know this… they focus on getting the house, the car, the toys and completely miss the point that you can be just as unhappy in a massive mansion as you can be in a tiny flat.
Because here is the thing: once we have the basics in place (food, a roof over our heads, security) then having more stuff doesn’t increase our happiness. So you can be sitting in your tropical island paradise having flown there in your private jet and it does not mean you are going to be happy. Bummer. The good news is that our happiness sits within us. We can be happy when we are externally ‘poor’ and equally we can be happy when we are externally ‘rich’. Our happiness is a way of being, not a destination.
So how do we get happy? Well at the most fundamental level you will be happy if you think happy thoughts. Choose to think happy thoughts. Choose to behave in a happy way.
We are not talking about fake cheesy happiness all the time! Actually sometimes it is ok to be unhappy. It is important to pay attention when we feel unhappy and not try to mask it, but consider what is making us feel that way. What we are talking about is being accountable for generally feeling happy, most of the time, and not letting ourselves be victims.
So, what if you are feeling unhappy. How do you think happy thoughts? How do you ‘behave’ yourself happy? What does all the huge amounts of happiness research tell us? What do the world’s happiest people DO?
- Give thanks
Research reveals the enormous power of simply counting our blessings. Regular expressions of gratitude promote optimism, better health and greater satisfaction with life.
- Drop grudges
When we forgive people we feel better about ourselves, experience more positive emotions and feel closer to others. (Also you do not develop that ‘cat bum mouth’ that some adults have – warning, this is caused by holding grudges and feeling bitter) .
- Practice kindness
Being kind to others makes us feel good. Altruistic acts light up the same pleasure centres in the brain as food and good sex! So, what act of kindness will you do today? Look out for people to help and see if it makes you feel happier.
- Get moving
Regular exercise reduces anxiety and stress, releases feel good hormones and could well be the most effective happiness booster of all. Next time you feel blue literally get up and get moving… To change your state, move your body.
- Find some RADIATORS
People with strong relationships are happier, healthier and live longer. Ideally, relationships with people of the radiator variety, positive people that make you feel happy… not drains that bring you down.
- Find your tribe
There is a difference to having strong relationships with a community of people and ‘finding your tribe.’ Ideally you do both. Your tribe is a group of people that share your passions and motivations for certain things in life. People that have the same interests and hobbies.
- Do what feels good
One of the best ways of being happy is to do more of the things that make you happy. It may be music. It might be painting or drawing. It might be phoning a friend. It might be singing. It might be watching a funny film. It might be go for a run. Really think about what makes you happy and then do more of it.
- Find purpose
The happiest people believe that their life has a purpose and they are working towards it. It really doesn’t matter what it is as long as it is your thing.
- Do happy behaviour
“I don’t sing because I am happy, I am happy because I sing.” Happy people know that, even if they are feeling low, if they behave as if they are happy they will become happier. Put a pencil in your mouth and force yourself to smile. Your neurons do not know the difference and immediately start firing happy signals around your body. Same for dancing, laughing, being kind, feeling grateful. Do the behaviour and the feeling will follow.
- Own it
Happy people take ownership for their own happiness. Are you ready to own your own happiness and stop blaming others or the situation for how you are feeling each day?
Go on – get happy. Happiness really is an inside job.
Elke Edwards talks more about how to lead a bigger, braver, more meaningful life in her bestselling book Extraordinary – you can download the first chapter for free below.