I know what you’re thinking, 24/7 happiness is impossible. No one’s happy all the time especially in these stressful, unpredictable, turbulent times.
The key reason 24/7 happiness feels so illusive is that we believe it’s impossible to be happy all (or at least the majority) of the time. The Law of Attraction states that whatever you think about and believe you will achieve. If you believe being happy all the time is impossible then that’s what you will create.
Consider your own life. Have you put a ceiling on your happiness? Do you believe you can only have so much love, success, abundance and joy? When life gets amazing do you start to feel guilty and sabotage yourself so you don’t exceed your ceiling?
You can have a breakthrough and break through your self-imposed ceiling because as Robert Holden explains:
True happiness is an inner power – natural, healing abundant and always available.
So how do you tap into that inner power?
Follow these three steps to up your happiness quotient starting right now.
- Don’t wait for happiness
So many of my clients have a laundry list of happiness requirements. When I lose weight, find the right mate, land the perfect job, buy the fantastic house, new car or … When the kids behave, hubby isn’t grouchy, my boss is nicer or my mother stops criticizing me then I’ll finally be happy.
Or when they need a quick pick-me-up to feel better they eat emotionally or have a few glasses of wine. The problem is the pleasure is temporary and is often followed by negative consequences such as overeating, weight gain and guilt instead of happiness.
While there’s nothing wrong with enjoying some ice cream, you won’t find true happiness in a bowl of Ben & Jerry’s. Happiness also doesn’t exist in the future or depend on the world being a certain way. It happens right now. Instead of searching for happiness simply choose to be happy. Then be mindful, it’s a scientifically proven secret to happiness. Pay attention on purpose in the present moment without judgment to the experience that’s unfolding from moment to moment.
Happiness is an inside job. It’s a state of mind that’s triggered by the realization that YOU and your thoughts, not other people, places or things, determine your level of happiness. So let go of your happiness conditions and welcome happiness into your life.
Do this: Create a personal happiness mantra such as: “Today I experience so many things that make me happy!” Write it on a piece of paper 20 times as you say it out loud. Put the paper in your pocket and carry it’s vibration with you as you go through your day.
- Decondition Yourself
There is only one cause of unhappiness: the false beliefs you have in your head, beliefs so widespread, so commonly held, that it never occurs to you to question them. ~Anthony de Mello
So where does all that happiness go? Ironically even though happiness is the goal of life, we’re conditioned to believe that happiness isn’t our birthright. We learn we must work for our happiness as if contentment, pleasure or enjoyment are earned or deserved.
We’ve picked up this ridiculous notion from parents, peers and society. Our parents reward us for behaving or getting good grades. As adults we typically “treat ourselves” only after we’ve achieved something.
What happiness lessons did you learned from your parents? For example, my father was a workaholic. Working 50-60 (80 if you count travel time!) hours per week was normal. By Friday he was completely exhausted and stressed-out. Taking time off wasn’t about enjoyment. It was a necessity, so he could recover and get back to the grind come Monday.
My Mom wasn’t much better. While she wasn’t a workaholic, she felt guilty whenever she did something nice for herself that made her happy. It wasn’t her fault. She grew up during the depression in a household where all her parents ever did was work and save for the future.
Along with feeling undeserving and guilty about everything from enjoying a great meal to having sex, we think there’s a ceiling on happiness. Many cultures even believe in an evil eye, a curse that will cause misfortune or injury if things get to good.
Even the language we use to describe our wellbeing undermines our happiness. When someone asks, “How are you?” how do you respond? Do you say “not bad”, “holding up”, “I’m still alive” or “terrific”, “fabulous” or “fantastic”?
Here’s a powerful journaling exercise adapted from Byron Katie that will decondition you so you can enjoy more happiness.
- Write down ALL the beliefs you have around happiness:
“I don’t deserve to be happy.”
“I’ll never be happy because of my past.”
“I’ll be happy when…happens or when I have…”
“I’ll only be happy when my life is perfect.”
“Others need to like and approve of me in order for me to be happy.”
- Question ALL of these beliefs. Ask yourself: Is this really true? Can I be 100% sure this is true?
- Ask: How do I feel and react when I have those thoughts.
- Ask: Who would I be without those thoughts?
- Find a turnaround, a statement that is equally true. For example if your thought is “I’ll only be happy when my life is perfect and everything is going right.” A turn around would be “I’m perfectly happy with my imperfect life.”
- Accept Yourself
Do you judge, criticize and condemn yourself? Stop. (For more on ditching your inner critic click HERE). Practice self-compassion. Treat yourself the way you would a good friend with kindness rather than judgment.
If you want to be happy, stop being so hard on yourself and start enjoying and appreciating all the blessings in your life. There is no dragon to slay, mountain to climb or sacrifice you need to make in order to be happy.
You are the only person who can make you happy. All you have to do is choose happiness.