Inspiration This Week: Happiness is Not An Outcome

I hear it all the time: "Once I lose 20lbs, then I'll be happy," "When I find the right person, then I'll be happy," "Once I get this promotion, then I'll be happy." We are very good at tying accomplishments or milestones to our happiness. 

But here's the problem...you now have put yourself in a perpetual state of waiting for the "next thing" rather than being present in your current experiences. We miss out on the little joys along the journey. And we tie happiness to a result. So when that result does not happen as expected, or at all, we are left with disappointment, shame, sadness, anger, etc.

Theme of This Week: Happiness is a Choice

First, I want to reiterate that happiness cannot be a permanent state of being. Being happy all the time is not the goal. Nor is it the goal to have an absence of negative emotions. The goal is rather to be able to navigate the wide array of emotions while also appreciating the positive things in life and being at peace with whatever comes through.

Just like anything else I share, if the goal is to seek more happiness in your life, it has to be an active practice. So here are some ways to create a consistent routine of choosing happiness:

  1. Practice gratitude- make a habit of stopping to smell the roses. Try some gratitude journaling by thinking of 1 thing every day that makes you grateful- thunderstorms, having full use of your body, having a loving partner, etc.
  2. SMILE- It sounds silly, but smiling can actually increase our serotonin levels, lower our heart rate, and bring about more positive emotions. Smile at strangers, smile in your car by yourself, smile when you are not feeling well.
  3. Be kind- Again, it is a positive feedback loop of happiness. When we are kind to others, it increases our own internal happiness and joy. And when we are kind to others, they are more likely to return the favor, thus adding to our joy.
  4. Choose meaningful relationships- Be protective of your happiness! Surround yourself with people who boost you up rather than invite more misery. Have a positive interaction with a stranger at the grocery store. Catch up with a long lost friend.
  5. Mindfulness- doing 10-15 minutes of some form of mindfulness meditation daily can improve clarity and focus and reduce stress hormones. 
  6. Find a purpose- Do something every day to give yourself purpose: volunteering, caretaking, working, getting politically involved. This will increase our motivation levels and sense of self worth.
  7. Choose satisfaction- Look around you and choose to be satisfied with what you have rather than longing for what you don't have. Stop the comparisons which means stop scrolling endlessly on social media!

Challenge This Week: Choose Happiness

I challenge you to find one of the above habits and to start implementing them. Are you doing some already? Great! Then add something new. Or commit to doing one of the habits more regularly. I know I'm going to be practicing smiling more as my challenge for this week :)

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