Surround yourself only with people who are going to lift you higher.
Surrounding yourself with uplifting people is essential to your happiness. Of course, it sounds like a no-brainer but it’s not always easy. Everyone gets comfortable in relationships and some of which aren’t adding to your happiness quotient. My point is that it is a WHOLE lot easier to feel good about yourself and to develop habits of happiness when the people around you are already feeling happier. It’s actually a bit contagious.
So my suggestion is really two-fold. First, I suggest you come up with a list of things that help you feel happier when you are all alone. My list is something like this:
– Have a Good Cry
– Go Swimming (Or yoga, walk on beach)
– Eat Super Healthy Meal
– Watch Funny Movie
– Read Spiritual Text (inspiring)
– Be Creative (write, paint, decorate)
All of the things above make me happier almost instantly when I am alone. I also periodically call one of my best friends who is wise and experienced — she’s a happiness mentor that can always give me a wider perspective. So my main happiness boosters are creativity, exercise, self-care and laughter. They move me from feeling the funk to seeing things differently and helping me begin again.
And from this stronger perspective then I can feel solid enough to surround myself consciously with happier people. I can attend spiritual services (this works for me) and enjoy the company of like-minded people that have the happiness thing down. Because as I really feel supported, loved and nurtured by happier people they not only lift me up but allow me to shine my light brighter.
Not long ago I had this amazing “Ah-ha” when I was participating in a spiritual community that they needed me as much as I needed them. And it is this idea of interconnectedness that is where happiness can happen easier. Specifically someone asked me about their son who just lost his best friend in a tragic car accident and what they can do for him while he grieves. I shared my thoughts and this dad thanked me profusely for the spot-on advice. I felt better too.
So another key to happiness besides surrounding yourself with happier people is thinking less about yourself — and more about others. Of course, that can only happen when you stop inwardly focusing and look around your life asking really important questions like: How can I serve? What makes me happy? Can I share those gifts with others today? So surrounding yourself with others is a key step to happiness but in that process you can capitalize on the chance to helping them become happier too. Give it a try.
By Maureen Dawn Healy
Maureen is a popular author, speaker and healer working with parents and children globally. Her last books include: Growing Happy Kids, and The Energetic Keys to Indigo Kids, along with her well-regarded blog on Psychology Today. More info: www.growinghappykids.com and www.twitter.com/mdhealy
I am not what happened to me
I am what I choose to become
Happier people think differently. They tend not to stay stuck in their past, fast-forward to their future constantly and beat themselves up for mistakes. Of course, there is no one on the planet that doesn’t make mistakes, experience pain, go through the loss of love, and generally feel down in the dumps – that’s normal. But I am here to say that you can learn how to become happier, and some of the key thoughts to ponder include:
* Choice –Sometimes life feels like it’s just happening to us, and we are being beat-up by the events (for example, divorce, health crisis, financial problems) but the truth is we are always at choice. Happier people have developed enough neutrality, self-awareness and inner strength to make conscious choices. They have sought teachers, professionals, coaches or friends that can help them see things differently and ultimately, respond to challenges (especially reoccurring ones) in a new way.
* Everything is Used – We can learn from everything — even the impossible situations that seem beyond any good coming out of them. Happier people look to learn, grow and let-go of painful life events. They don’t play that “negative tape” over and over again in their mind and ask: Why did I do that? More content people ask: Could I have done it differently? What is the spiritual lesson I need to learn? What is the quality that I am growing? (Maybe honesty, patience, forgiveness and so on).
Of course, there are some situations that stop all of us in our tracks. I was in NYC during 9-11, lost my mom to a drunk driver, and was my cousin’s pall bearer before I turned 18 so I am no stranger to sadness. But again, it’s how we respond to life and eventually what we make our losses, tragedies and experiences mean that steer us down a sad (or happier) path.
* Forgiveness – Forgiveness is one of the most little understood practices yet life-changing ones on this planet. When you forgive someone, you are as Oprah says: “Giving up the hope that the past could have been any different” and I agree. Forgiveness is saying what’s done is done, and it’s not necessarily condoning the behavior of yourself or someone else – but it’s giving it over to your Higher Power to lift the pain of blame, shame, un-forgiveness and anger from your being so you can be healthy. You forgive for you. No one else.
Some teachers of forgiveness suggest it’s a regular practice (daily, weekly, and even monthly). Edwene Gaines says a good way to identify who to forgive is by asking: “Who am I holding outside of my heart” and I have found that effective. It may be the person at the cash register, or your father you haven’t seen in fifteen years. Both are blocks to your happiness and by removing those blocks good things can flow to you and as you. Happier people have learned how to practice forgiveness.
* Appreciate – Happier people appreciate either the rock you gave them, or the beautiful meal you just created. They either naturally or learned how to feel grateful for the things that have shown up in their lives. Unhappy people focus on what’s not there. It’s a big difference, and one I implore you to consider. One of the greatest things my father taught me is appreciation because he loved handmade cards just as much as big fancy gifts.
What I have not told you is that I have been unhappy in my life, and if I can shift from growing up in a depressed environment to creating happiness — you can too. Of course, it’s easier and more possible when you have the support of others. My experience is that happier people spend time alone in solitude and with others in growing, learning and enjoying life. They don’t seclude themselves away and are open to seeing things differently.
Oftentimes I think of happiness like the sun that is always shining. When we have sadness, dark days, moments of pain it’s like the clouds passing by. The sun is still there but obscured by the clouds and if we trust that the clouds will pass – they always do. Sometimes the clouds move by thinking new thoughts like what we’ve been discussing, other times it takes thoughts plus more (prayer, medication, exercise, better nutrition) but the bottom-line is that you can become happier no matter what. I promise. I am living proof.
By Maureen Dawn Healy
Maureen is the author of Growing Happy Kids, and The Energetic Keys to Indigo Kids as well as popular blogs at Psychology Today and PBS. She continues to work directly with adults and children specializing in emotional health along with helping highly sensitive children thrive. More info: www.growinghappykids.com or www.twitter.com/mdhealy
We have all been placed on this earth to discover our own path,
and we will never be happy if we live someone else’s idea of life.
– James Van Praagh
Happiness means being who you really are. It means that despite all the outer pressures from society, parents, friends and others to be a certain way that you courageously shine your unique light and celebrate your individuality. Of course, it takes a bit of hutzpah to be different and rejoice in your quirks as well as particular talents. But one thing I know for sure is that the path of becoming deeply happy isn’t for wimps.
The True You
Our world likes people to be the same. And when you shine your unique light you are going to be different. So being able to stand in your truth and take “the road less traveled” as Frost described takes courage. For example, Ben and Jerry were childhood friends that needed to make a living especially after they dropped out of college. So they split a $5 correspondence course from Penn State University, and did what on the outside seemed wildly unusual by starting an ice cream business out of a renovated gas station in Vermont. The rest is history.
Of course, we may not all become multi-millionaires doing what makes us happy but that’s not why we do it. We share our gifts because that is why we are here.
Sometimes people like Ben and Jerry get to share their gifts early-on while many people start one career and then switch. I just read the average person has 7 different careers in one lifetime so don’t get down on yourself if you are still discovering your talents, and working toward sharing them with the world.
For example, JK Rowling worked as a secretary till Harry Potter took-off, Harrison Ford was a carpenter, and Steven Pressfield was a trucker. We all need to do something on our way to sharing our great gifts with the world. And our talents don’t necessarily make us famous either they can be anything from baking the best strawberry-rhubarb pie to pumping gas with a smile in a place where everyone needs one.
What can you do today to help move you toward this deeper sense of happiness? I share a few happiness tips here to get you started:
Meditate on Happiness – Sit quietly or do a walking (or hiking) meditation where you can ponder what makes you happy. You probably already know what lights you up, or you have clues. Allow your mind to get really calm and listen for your next stage of evolution to come out…Is it a career change? Or learning something new? Or changing your focus to family? Or developing your inner life? Of course, you can also consult someone who can see your life purpose or path to move you in a happier direction (yes, it’s a bit woo-woo but why not).
Read Up – Happier people have left clues and many of them are in books! Of course, I am partial to the one I wrote: Growing Happy Kids (it’s more than just about kids) but others include: Real Happiness by Sharon Salzberg, Happiness Now by Robert Holden, Live in a Better Way by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. (All also available on audible to listen to too)
Reflect on Childhood – Oftentimes the things that made us happy as kids are what make us happy as adults. I wanted to be an artist as a child and today, I am a writer because that’s where I feel most myself. Actually, we are all artists of our lives and once we give ourselves permission to be truly who we are – our lives get better and better. Like Oprah said: I had no idea that being my authentic self would make me as rich as I’d become. If I had, I’d have done it a lot earlier.
Allowing your real self to take front and center stage can be scary but it’s also what’s necessary if you want to live your happiest life. When we admit our dreams to ourselves, take inspired actions (little or big) then our lives can transform to an even happier level – because we are ultimately saying, YES, to ourselves. We are giving ourselves permission to be who we came here to be and implicitly inspiring others to do the same. I am in. Are you?
By Maureen Dawn Healy
Maureen is a popular author, energy healer and counselor working with parents and children globally. Her new book, The Energetic Keys to Indigo Kids (New Page), just came out last month and last year her book, Growing Happy Kids (HCI Books), hit the shelves. To learn more about Maureen or her work: www.growinghappykids.com or @mdhealy
Happiness means having courage. You need to have the wherewithal to let go of the past, and create again. Life isn’t for wimps. It takes inner strength to overcome obstacles and move forward when life feels overwhelming. But what I know for sure is that no matter what circumstances or situation you are facing (health crises, financial bankruptcy, death of a loved one or more) that life can support you.
Courage comes from the Latin word “cor” meaning heart. So you need to have heart when moving forward – this means living in a way that is heartfelt, authentic, honest and centered in the Truth of your being. I know that if you give this world your best, and don’t attach to how it will get returned to you something miraculous is bound to happen.
Since we are all traveling this collective journey of courage, I am going to share some tips to bolster your courage and move you toward your happiest life. They are:
Get Inspired Daily– Become a student of someone who seems super courageous to you whether you know that person personally or it’s someone on the world stage. Some people that I find incredibly courageous are: Nelson Mandela, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Oprah Winfrey, Marianne Williamson, and my grandmother. Of course, you can also connect with someone from history like Abraham Lincoln that stood on his convictions or Martin Luther King, JR. But really feel the strength it took for that person to follow the path of their dreams and overcome obstacles.
Look Within – Courage can be bolstered by learning about how much other people have overcome, and that you have the same strength in you. Another way to strengthen your courage muscle is to slow down, and listen to what is seeking to emerge within you. What quality is the universe trying to nurture in you? Is it patience, love, kindness, prosperity, forgiveness, joy, generosity or service (to name a few)? Because as we develop a sense of openness we are then candidates for insight. We begin to see our situations differently, and get the lesson the universe is seeking to teach us…
Take Action – Our lives become happier when we find the courage to make them that way. You can’t lead your biggest life on your couch but must go into the world, face your fears and take small steps every day! Of course, depending on the challenge you are facing your small step today might just be to pray. There are times in our life when grief is overwhelming and it takes our whole being to persevere and I get that so you do what is yours to do. Others might need to make a call, do some research, and reach out to someone for help (even if it’s hard).
Our Happiest Lives
Becoming happier everyday takes courage. It means having the inner strength to give up our habits that keep us playing small and move with heart into our best life. Jack Kornfield, Buddhist teacher, summed up the path of courage perfectly when he said:
In the end, just three things matter:
How well we have lived
How well we have loved
How well we have learned to let go
By Maureen Healy
Maureen Healy is a popular speaker, author and teacher in the field of spirituality and happiness. Her last book, Growing Happy Kids, brought eastern wisdom to western parents wanting to nurture true happiness in kids. More info: www.growinghappykids.com or www.twitter.com/mdhealy