Unhappy, negative people are a bummer to be around. Buzz kill. Don’t be one of them.
Most people just want to be happy. And the older we get, the more we focus on how to reach complete peace and happiness.
Maybe it’s because as we age, we also learn and grow and with that comes a deeper understanding of why we are actually here. Whatever our purpose, the root has to be happiness or what is the point?
I consider myself to be a naturally happy person most of the time. But for past too many years, life has thrown curve ball after curve ball and I’ve watched my happy slowly disappear. I’d talked to friends and family less and less. Being the person who always has something negative going on isn’t sexy and I didn’t want to rub the negativity off on others.
My happiness is affected by my relationships with family and friends, most of all my marriage, my career, my finances, my health, and sometimes a combination of them all. But what impacts me most is when I get in the way of my own happiness.
Being an adult is tough. And there are so many things about being an adult that childhood didn’t prepare us for. Shoot, if you ask my 6 year old, being a kid is tough too so maybe it’s just life in general.
What is happiness really?
A noun. The state of being happy. Happy – Feeling or showing pleasure, contentment… fortunate. But’s that just textbook definition. Happiness means something different to everyone. And we all go about achieving happiness differently.
So what can you do to be a happier, more peaceful person every day no matter what life throws your way? I’m still figuring it out but there are a number of things I do that have helped me in big ways to be a more peaceful and positive person, to smile a lot bigger and to find the beauty in almost everything.
8 THINGS TO DO TODAY AND EVERY DAY TO BE HAPPY AND AT PEACE
Say “thank you.” “Thank you” is powerful. And deep, genuine appreciation is even better. I try to say “thank you for another day” every morning as soon as I wake up. Don’t take people for granted. And don’t take your life for granted. Be appreciative. And show your appreciation.
Give Yourself a Damn Break
We are our own worst enemy. I’m happier because I stopped being so hard on myself. I continue to love myself even when I’m not my best and I still push myself to be better but when I fall short, I give myself a pass and move on. And I do little fun things like write myself love notes that I find later, like one I just found in my office in a notebook that read, “You’re awesome, beautiful,” and I smile and wink at myself in the bathroom mirror.
Be a Hugger
I know some people who don’t like to be hugged and thank goodness I’m not one of them. Every time I hug someone, I make sure to embrace them and squeeze them tight. Stop giving quick, one arm, meaningless hugs. Hug someone tight and hold on for a while. Then take it a step further and hug a tree. Seriously. Wrap your arms round that bark. Throw in a leg if you’re really feeling lucky. It’s awesome.
Listen and Be Kind
Every morning before my son gets out of the car to head in to school I tell him I love him and to “listen and be kind.” Listen more, give eye contact when you do, be present, talk less and be a kind person. A sense of peace comes from really listening to people and being kind to everyone.
Work Those Cheek Muscles
Smile. Grin. CHEESE. People may think I’m crazy when they drive by and I’m in the car by myself smiling a really huge smile, but on bad days I’ll force myself to smile. Smiling relaxes the face muscles, tells our brains to be happy, calms the nervous system, reduces stress and smiles are contagious. A smile is a good thing to spread to others.
Sweep Those Negative Thoughts Away
Thinking negatively is one of the worst things you can do to yourself. And to others. There are methods I practice that I learned from reading The Thich Nhat Hanh Collection, more specifically the first section of the book, which is titled “Peace is Every Step.” When negativity takes over my thoughts, I imagine a STOP! sign in my mind. Then I imagine picking up a broom and sweeping the negative thoughts out of my mind. I continue to sweep, sweep, sweep until all of them are gone. There are times when I then imagine getting my vacuum and sucking up the grains of negativity that remain. When I see a clear, white space in my mind, I then breathe in positive thoughts – inhale happiness – and breathe out negative ones – exhale resentment. Use whatever words you need and inhale those, and any words you want out and exhale those. Focus on your breathing as you do. I continue to breathe in positivity and out negativity until my thoughts are clear. It’s a form of meditation that works.
Another method I use daily is positive thinking meditation. You can do this anytime, anywhere. I do mine while driving in to work. Say out loud or think to yourself a series of positive things, for example, “I am happy. I am at peace with my life. I am beauty. I am light. I am love. I am living the life I was put here to live. I remain calm when faced with chaos. I remain positive when faced with negativity.” If you are a spiritual person, add, “I am a reflection of God. I am living the life God put me here to live.” I always feel better afterwards. It’s amazing what this does to be more peaceful.
Eat Great Food and Drink Cheap Wine
I’m a sucker for good, cheap wine, and a great meal runs a close second to great sex (which I also recommend). Try different foods from different cultures, indulge, eat dessert and don’t feel guilty afterwards, buy a bottle of wine just because the bottle looks pretty, or try that grocery store box wine. Yep. Box wine. And don’t be afraid to go out to a restaurant alone. I quite enjoy sitting at the bar, ordering a margarita and table-side guacamole and starting meaningless conversation with the other bar flies. I’ve never not had a good time doing this. And you meet some pretty cool people. Just don’t overdo it.
Sing and Dance even if you can’t sing and dance
Music heals. It really does. And if you haven’t had a car dance party then you haven’t lived. Turn on some music as loud as your ears can stand, move those feet (or those arms and hips if you’re driving) and boogie. If you’re into head-bangin’ and hair flippin’, please save it for the stop light. My husband laughs at me or shakes his head when I break out into dance at home but my kids can’t help but smiling and joining in on the fun. And who cares if you can’t sing. Sing anyway. I sound like a cat dying and I still belt out as many songs as possible. Sing. Dance. Live. In those moments, you’re choosing to be happy. And happiness feels so good.