DO YOU WANT to be happy?
Perhaps the most obvious question is; do you want to be happy or miserable? Have you ever met a person that seems to enjoy being miserable? No matter what you say they always seem to see it as a negative. Even when it would be easy to see the positive, they opt for the negative. It’s because they want to see it that way for some personal reason that you may never understand. The only way you will ever change the course of your life is to decide that you want to change it. There is power in decision. In Latin, the word decision means to cut off from all other possibility. So I ask you; have you DECIDED to be happy?
Reframe your thinking.
It’s true that what you think about, you manifest in your life. Instead of seeing the events going on around you as a negative, see them as a positive. Yes, it’s that simple. For example, if it’s raining today and you love the sun, resist the temptation to complain about it. With rain comes the water that brings life. The pretty flowers need water just as much as you do. A day or 2 of rain is the most amazing and essential thing. When the sun returns, it’ll be brighter and warmer than it was before the rain. After all, it’s the rain that brings the sun. Storms ALWAYS give way to a beautiful sunrise. Reframe!
Identify your emotional triggers.
Throughout your life you have been conditioned to feel certain ways by triggers that exist in your environment. Identify them and use your mind to change the meaning towards happiness. For example, perhaps in your past you’ve lost a loved one 2 days before Christmas. Every year as Christmas approaches, you resonate the “Bah Humbug” rhetoric of Ebenezer Scrooge. Wouldn’t it be better to remember the good times you had with your lost loved one during Christmas? Reminisce with other family member’s and close friends about the great moments you shared with your loved one. After all, the deceased can only live on in our minds. Once they’re forgotten, it’s as if they never existed. As the next Christmas season approaches, you’ll feel their love not the pain of grief. Identify your triggers and work to change their meaning.
Set meaningful goals for yourself.
Take a hard look at your life. Who do you want to become? When you set a goal albeit long-term or short-term, you create an opportunity for yourself to make progress. Progress no matter how small is the path to internal happiness. What you get in life is directly related to who you are. Who are you? Do you want to be a miserable cheat that no one respects or a compassionate person that is readily available to help others? Your happiness depends on how you answer the question.
Visualize your “best possible self”.
Although it’s paramount to live within the moment, there will be times when looking forward is appropriate. As you begin to reframe your thinking and set goals that promote growth, visualize how the new you will look and feel on the journey to achieve a desired goal. After all, it’s the process towards the completion of the goal that makes all the difference in the world. This is where real change happens. Your actions reflect not only what you think about on a daily basis but also your outcome. If you can visualize it, you can have it.
Develop an optimistic outlook.
Pessimism often stems from feelings of helplessness. It’s that “I’m screwed so why bother” attitude. Optimists believe negative events or experiences can be overcome. Take a single area of your life where you’d like make a change and start working on it with a fresh new optimistic attitude. This will help restore trust in your ability to create change overcoming the feeling of helplessness. Start small. Don’t feel you have to take on everything at once.
The power of gratitude.
The most successful people in the world no matter where they reside all share something in common. They all speak of the power of gratitude. Being thankful for all that you have rather than all that you want is the secret to happiness. A multitude of research confirms that gratitude is good for you. It reduces anxiety and depression. It helps you to be positive and feel happy. It strengthens relationships with others and encourages compassion. Make a time every day, like upon awakening in the morning, to say out loud the things you’re thankful for. This will get you off to a good start. Remember to say thank you to store clerks, friends, family, delivery people and coworkers more often.
Forgive and forget.
This is a tough one at first but with practice you’ll experience the benefits. Prolific research suggests that forgiving can have serious benefits for the forgiver. Forgiving produces calmer feelings, and can have a huge impact on well-being. No matter the response of the forgiven, once you forgive you are released of the stress. It doesn’t matter who’s right or wrong. It matters that you forgave. And while you’re at it, forgive yourself.
Show yourself compassion.
Beating yourself up can leave you feeling weak and unhappy. Dwelling on negative thoughts or feelings of guilt doesn’t promote improvement. It holds you back. Show yourself the kindness and generosity you might show a friend. Go for a walk, get a massage, buy yourself something nice or take a nap. Whatever you choose to do remind yourself that you’re incredible just the way you are and you deserve happiness!
Dr. Peter Percuoco is a Board Certified Chiropractic Neurologist and a Keynote Speaker. With 30 years of experience, Dr. Percuoco has stepped out of the clinic and onto the stage to share his message of hope and potential inspiring people to be the best that they can be.