Habits for Happiness

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As I’ve moved through these past months of self-work, there have been a number of common themes that continue to arise, and one of them is happiness. You’ve heard some folks talk about happiness being a choice that you make, right? Some people buy into that concept, while many may not. Personally, I don’t find it quite as easy as just thinking “Hey, I’m going to be happy today” and tada, job done. There are obstacles, there are outside influences, and sometimes internal ones, as well. Depression, sickness, financial issues, work stress, all of these things, and then some, can leave you feeling miserable at times.  Just a few short months ago, I was sinking into that place where happiness was becoming less and less while stress was taking over and changing me. There were moments that I didn’t even recognize myself and that was very unsettling for someone who prides herself on a positive outlook.

Now, I may sound very woo-woo here, but stick with me. One of the many tools that I’ve picked up during my self growth relates to this state of happiness. It takes effort on your part, but you can develop habits that change you and make you happier. These habits can help to rewire the old patterns in your brain and you might be just as surprised as I am at how much of an impact such simple changes really have. I’m not saying I’m suddenly 100% happy and everything is perfect, but I have made some choices that make me feel significantly better about where I currently am and where I am headed. It’s those choices to build new habits that have genuinely made me a happier person.

Positive Psychology expert, Shawn Achor, talks about this concept in a great podcast, that is so worth the watch. It will take only13 minutes of your day. He’s entertaining, he’s funny, and he’s spot on. With both coaching and therapy, there has been a variety of tools that I’ve been utilizing to change the patterns in my brain, and Shawn does a great job at putting a number of these together as a part of his 21 Days to Happiness Challenge. Remember, you need to build a habit to make a change. In case you haven’t come across this challenge before, or even if you have but it’s been since forgotten, I wanted to share it here today. I encourage you to practice all of these super simple steps for 21 straight days, because they really do make a difference. I also suspect that after the 21 days, you will want to keep going.

  1. Gratitude – Write down three different things that you are grateful for every single day.
  2. Journal – Spend a few minutes writing about something positive that happened in the last 24 hours. It will help you to reflect and relive it.
  3. Exercise – Commit to just 15 minutes of exercise each day. Another tool to help train your mind.
  4. Meditate – Just spend even 2-3 quiet minutes with yourself. You don’t have to go deep here, but
    even just sitting back from your keyboard and focusing on your breathing for 2 minutes is all it takes.
  5. Act of Kindness – Send a message or email to someone different in your circle each day either to praise them, thank them, or just to say something uplifting.

Commit to the 21 days and have fun with it – the benefits are worth every moment. Also, I invite you to stop back by, I would love to hear how things go for you after giving the above a try. Enjoy!

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