I want to share some things that I believe we should all strive for during this New Year that will enrich our lives in marvelous ways...Many of you may already be practicing these principles in your life and are reaping the benefits from them...I was inspired to share these twelve happiness principles that I found on a favorite blog of mine...If you are not already applying these in your life what better time to start!
1. Express Gratitude.
Spending a little time every day thinking about the things we have in our lives we are grateful for invokes feelings of contentment within us. This also gets us away from focusing our attention on things we do not have. We will struggle being happy if all we think about are things we do not have. We can also openly express gratitude to those we love as well as people who give service to us in our communities.
2. Cultivate Optimism.
See the positive in all things, even when life is hard and we are faced with situations that challenge us. Seeing our failures as opportunities to grow and learn can promote happiness. Whenever we find ourselves focusing our thoughts on negative things, stopping that thought process and replacing those thoughts with positive ones...This is a learned behavior and if done consistently it will become a habit. You will be surprised how easy it becomes to see the silver lining in just about any cloud;)
3. Avoid over-thinking and social comparison.
Stop comparing ourselves to others. This type of behavior can be detrimental to our emotional health and can great feelings of inadequacy or judgmental pride. If we think of ourselves beneath someone else we can self-sabotage our own successes or diminish them and if we think ourselves above another we can get self-inflated egos and can become arrogant. I find it is best to compare myself to a past version of myself and then look for opportunities to improve or celebrate my improvements.
4. Practice acts of kindness.
It is scientifically proven that performing acts of service releases serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is that drug that our body produces that creates a sense of well being and gives us the feeling of bliss. Performing selfless acts of kindness for others makes us feel better about ourselves and combats feelings of depression. It can also be contagious, for when others see you doing nice things it creates happiness within them as well.
5. Nurture social relationships.
The most happy people around are the ones who have deep meaningful relationships. There have been studies done showing that the mortality rates double for those who are lonely. Human beings naturally need to feel connected to others. It creates feelings of happiness to share our joys and our sorrows with others. Loneliness can create depression and can also cause physical illness.
6. Develop productive coping skills.
Sometimes bad things happen, even to good people like ourselves. Coming up with positive ways of dealing with these things before they even happen can help us suffer less negative effects and can promote more inner peace and less stress. One great skill that I practice myself is meditation. Whenever I come up against unforeseen negative situations I can always go to my sacred space and find peace by going within and practicing pranayama (breathing exercises).
7. Learn to forgive.
Harboring resentments or even hatred is terrible for your soul, not to mention your body. It is impossible to be truly happy and have bad feelings toward another human being. You can forgive someone of a wrong doing even if you do not wish to have that person in your life. My motto: Let it go and let it be.
8. Increasing those 'in the flow' moments.
Those moments when it feels like time is standing still, when your mind and your actions are completely merged, are so good for our emotional well being. Any activity that completely engrosses us in mind and body, where we do not experience hunger, sleepiness, or emotions. Just being...
9. Savor the joys of life.
We cannot experience deep happiness without slowing down and just appreciating the magic of the moment. Just soaking up feelings of bliss when they are present. We must remember to enjoy the joy so to speak. Life is not a race...it is meant to be enjoyed and savored.
10. Commit to your goals.
Wholeheartedly committing ourselves to something and seeing it through to the end brings about a feeling of accomplishment and pride which creates confidence within us. When we are consistently engaged in worthwhile endeavors it gives us more energy in mind and spirit and spurs us on to even greater things and gives our lives meaning and purpose.
11. Practice spirituality.
When we practice spirituality or religion in our daily lives it gives us a sense of our connectedness to the source of all creation and creates wonder and humility within us. It gives us a sense of purpose and why we are here and what we feel 'called to do'. It helps us to see the beauty of life and find miracles in even the smallest things.
12. Take care of your body.
If we do not take care of our body we will find ourselves out of balance. Our mental energy (our focus) our emotional energy (our feelings) and our spiritual energy (our purpose) will all be affected negatively if our physical energy is diminished. It is essential to our overall happiness and well being that we give to these four areas of our life if we are to stay in balance....when one is neglected, eventually all will be affected adversely. So treat your body right with exercise and healthy nutrition and it will be much easier to keep the other aspects in balance.
I hope that these twelve suggestions for a happier life will be part of your New Year's Resolution...they are certainly part of mine...I can almost guarantee that someone who is unhappy in life is not living many of these principles....They are life changing and when practiced consistently can transform your life into one of joy and bliss...and it is very possible to be happy even when trials come...they will see you through the dark...back into the light!