Deepak Chopra, one of the most-renowned names in the field of mind-body medicine and personal transformation, says one of the biggest mistakes people make is to wait for happiness. When people look outside themselves for joy and contentment, it is ever evasive. What that means for all of us is that we are responsible for our happiness. If you are scratching your head wondering what how you can claim your piece of happy pie, here’s a top ten list to get you started.
Hey, you are reading now right with the hope of feeling happier, so pat yourself on the back because you are on the right track! Reading is a great way to feel happier because it forces your mind away from your present emotion and focuses on the words you are reading. So blow the dust off your Kindle and download a dozen books from your favorite genres and get lost in another world. Don’t forget that Amazon offers thousands of books everyday for FREE, and that’s gotta make any reader happy!
Look, this doesn’t have to be painful, just get out and walk during your lunch break. Being in nature has calming benefits, and exercise (even walking) causes your brain to release endorphins, the chemicals that trigger positive, happy thought. Whoo-hoo! Our bodies were made to move; that’s why we have legs with feet. Consider joining a walking or jogging group in your area or recruit a friend and sign up for golf, tennis or tango lessons. The added commitment of paying for a program will help motivate you to get your body moving.
When was the last time you let one rip? A laugh, that is… Like exercise, laughing causes the release of endorphins. What makes you laugh? How about playing board games with friends, hop-scotch with children, grandchildren, or fetch with your favorite canine. No access to children or animals? Google humorous videos you YouTube or consider joining a laughing group. Yes, they exist! At the Laughter Yoga website, you can find laughing groups near you.
7) Hug someone, ANYONE
If endorphins don’t do it for you try some oxytocin. A big hug increases the bonding hormone known as oxytocin, which reduces blood pressure, stress, and anxiety. Yep, hugging can make you much more open and receptive to happy thoughts (and other juicy things). I love this article by Marcus Julian Felicetti on the 10 Reasons Why We Need at Least 8 Hugs a Day, and I’m sure you’ll feel much happier after you read it.
And that means separating yourself from negative family and friends. Spending time with naysayers is an energy drainer — a mental and emotional downer. Fire family and friends who are chronic naysayers and spend your time with the people who inspire you, those who know how to laugh and play. Spend time with people who support your dreams and aspirations, whether they understand them or not, and who accept you wholeheartedly just as you are. Oh yeah!
5) Pass it on
Has anyone ever done a thoughtful or generous deed for you? Remember how appreciative you were? It’s time to pass it on and make a positive difference in the lives of others. Passing on a good deed can be a simple, one-time thing where you anonymously pay for the meal of the person behind you in the drive-through lane, or it can be a long-term, volunteer commitment at the local school or hospital. Whatever you choose to do, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how happy you will feel doing good for others.
4) Watch your words
Don’t allow yourself to say negative things about yourself or anyone else. Words are the result of your thoughts, so when you feel something negative about to emerge from your mouth stop, check your thoughts, and shift to something positive. Not sure how to do that? Consider this little trick: “Wouldn’t it be nice if….” When you think about what would be nice to see, have, hear, or experience then your thinking shifts to a higher vibration and so does your feeling of happiness.
3) Chase a dream
Thomas Edison once said, “If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.” What invisible dream do you want to make visible? Oh, and a head’s up… don’t wait for everyone to jump behind you and support you along the way. You’ll be surprised at how many of your family and “friends” will poo-poo your great idea. See number six above and proceed with wild abandon!
2) Practice gratitude
Keep a gratitude journal. It only takes a couple of minutes to acknowledge the good in your life. Maybe it was a compliment you received, or that you found the perfect parking spot when you were rushing out to do some shopping during your lunch hour. When you tune into all the good around you, then you begin to see how wonderful life is. Your positive attitude creates an energy that is matched by the universe, bringing you even more happiness. Make the words, “attitude of gratitude” your mantra, and see how much better you feel.
Setting aside a few minutes every day to meditate is a wonderful way to ground yourself into the present moment, eliminating ties to the past and anxiety for the future. Meditation has been scientifically proven to relax participants and induce feelings of appreciation and happiness. Whether you are new to meditation or are a practiced participant, consider joining Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra on their latest, all-new, free, 21-day meditation experience focused on…. wait for it… “Expanding Your Happiness!” Although the first mediation began four days ago, the recordings are available on the website for five days, so you can still catch up. Or, just start with today and continue the journey until the end. Over 2.6 million people in over 200 countries participated in Oprah and Deepak’s past meditation experience so don’t miss this one! Sign up at www.Oprah.com/meditation.
Sheila Callaham’s book “The Guide to Setting and Achieving Goals that Enrich Your Life,” the first in the series “The Power of Living Joyfully,” will be released this autumn. Sign up for the newsletter at the top of the page to receive notification for the release date and free giveaways!