Happiness is something we’d all enjoy a little more of. We naturally want to feel better and to experience more joy, contentment, and pleasure. Happiness is the feeling that overall, life is good. It’s the feeling that causes a spontaneous smile to grace our face.
You Can Increase Your Happiness
One enjoyable activity that I’ve found to be a win-win is practicing acts of kindness toward others. A little effort can go a long way toward increasing your own happiness as well as the happiness of the recipient! If someone holds the door for you or lets you into traffic, you know how good that makes you feel. Return the favor and notice the happy feelings that you enjoy as well.
A report in the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine provided by UC Berkeley Great Good Magazine states that, with some caveats, “a strong correlation exists between the well-being, happiness, health, and longevity of people who are emotionally and behaviorally compassionate, so long as they are not overwhelmed by helping tasks.”
Feeling and showing compassion brings you not only more happiness but better health. Of course, don’t overdo. Nurses are a prime example of compassionate helpers who give to the point of burnout.
I’ve been studying happiness for the past six months or so, learning from writers and mentors, great texts, and simply observing human behavior. One thing I’ve noticed is that some people always seem to be naturally happier than others. What isn’t apparent though, is how they became that way. I’m sure there are many stories…
Happiness is a learned feeling. It takes practice. And like a muscle, the more often we practice strengthening it, the easier it becomes to call it into action.
What’s that look like?
I started adding 5 minutes at the beginning of my regular morning meditation to invite the feeling of happiness. This was an easy add-on to my existing practice, but if you don’t have a regular morning meditation, no worries. You can choose to start a 5-Minute Happiness Practice to fit into your daily routine. This practice pays off immediately, and it keeps getting better.
My practice looks like this: I sit quietly and comfortably, then I bring to mind a person or event in my life that makes me smile. I focus on that scene and take it all in, remembering and feeling the happiness as though it were happening at that moment. I soak the feeling of happiness into every cell in my body. I memorize the feeling.
The Secret Sauce
Once you are able to memorize the feeling of happiness, you can call it up anytime, anywhere. That’s the secret sauce that will get you through stressful and scary times. It really works. I’ve put it to the test a few times and it pulls me through like I’m in complete charge, because I AM in complete charge of my feelings. I’m choosing happiness over fear and anxiety.
As if that isn’t good enough, one day something wonderful and unexpected happens. You’ll be sitting in your practice and inviting one of your happiness scenes, and suddenly you’ll realize you don’t need to recall something from the past to feel happy. You are already happy! You are IN a happiness scene right where you are, in the present time. Happiness is yours. Savor that moment. You’ve worked hard to get there.
Questions about how to create your own happiness practice? I’m here!
And if you’d like to begin, or begin again, your meditation practice, I have a little book for you: In This Moment.
You’ve got this.
Please remember: It's important to contact a professional if things feel too big for you, whether it be a physician, psychologist, psychiatrist, or certified EFT practitioner. Never discontinue your current medications without first consulting your doctor.