Don't Worry, Be Happy

Don't Worry, Be Happy

When the Dalai Lama was asked what the purpose of life is, he replied without hesitation, “To be happy.” That seems like as good a pursuit as any. Most people, however, seem anything but; negativity, stress, conflict, anger, and hatred being the predominant emotions and states of mind that we encounter daily, whether it is someone complaining about their work or the president bashing a political rival (or even an ally!). It seems like being happy should be such an easy goal to achieve. So if we are regularly falling short, what are some simple and effective things we can do to switch our emotions from negative to positive? Treat yourself well. Happiness ultimately starts and ends with our own beings (not havings, but beings). It is hard to be happy when you don’t feel good – either about yourself, or just your health in general. You won’t reach your health and fitness goals overnight, but perhaps the single best and easiest way to be happy is to take steps each day to make yourself physically, mentally and spiritually healthier. You don’t need to read 10 diet books in order to know what to do before taking action. Just go for a walk, drink a green juice, have a salad instead of a pizza, water instead of alcohol, take the stairs instead of the elevator…little victories will make you feel good in the moment, at night as you are falling asleep, and on an ongoing basis as you begin to live a healthier and fit lifestyle. Connect with someone. As humans we are inherently wired to connect with others. Something as simple as a text saying, “thinking about you” or “hope your meeting today goes well” can make someone’s day – and yours. Seen someone regularly for months or even years at the gym but don’t know their name? Walk up to them and say, “….I see you here all the time. My name is Scott….” Not only is it great to make that personal connection, but he or she may be your next best friend, client, or confidante. Give thanks. We often fixate on all the things we don’t have, whether that is vis a vis goals yet fulfilled, or compared to the proverbial Jones’ down the block. Yet if what is absent in our lives dominates our internal voice, we are not recognizing let alone honoring the amazing things that surround us daily. Consider adopting a morning routine where you spend a couple minutes simply giving thanks, sincere gratitude, for what you have in your life. You will be amazed how that shifts your mindset to positive. Keep it brief and simple. I give thanks daily for my health (and my deep desire to stay healthy), my family, my surroundings…you can give thanks for the sun being out that morning. Giving sincere thanks is one of the best ways to be happy. Set goals. When we are progressing, we tend to be happy. A great way to measure and build awareness of progress is to set a goal and track how you are moving towards it. Even little steps can give you a great sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. Once you reach the goal, you will likely realize that the true gift was the increase in joy and happiness along the journey, not purely the outcome in and of itself. Eliminate conflict/negativity. To be sure, certain negative things – a nasty boss – may be unavoidable for a time. But much of the negativity in our lives we can choose to not engage. Think of how often you witness two people gossiping about a friend or colleague in some unflattering light. This is purely self-imposed negativity. You can choose to not say these things at all, or better yet point out some positive quality. Simply put, become aware of how much negativity comes out of your mouth or enters your brain. Before you send that negative oriented text or email, before you speak those less than positive words, ask yourself, “is this really necessary?” In most cases we are simply fueling the negativity that would otherwise die on its own weight if left alone. Replace that negative thought, action, or relationship, with something positive. Just like substituting water for alcohol, switch a negative situation for a positive one, or just pass entirely. Much of the negativity in our lives is within our control (we can choose not to watch yet another news show with 6 talking heads screaming at each other), so be conscious in your decisions about the energy you consume and expend. People often think that being happy is something we are born into, or just for that other ‘perfect’ guy/gal on Facebook. But as with your fitness, health, wealth, or just about any other aspect of your life, you can take actions to make yourself happier. Perhaps deep down some people fear being happy and have a perverse comfort in being angry or upset. These emotions and behaviors become part of some people’s identities on a subconscious level. But as I like to say, it feels good to feel good (when it comes to physical health and fitness). In the same vein, it feels good to be happy; it just requires some conscious action from time to time, to shift the mood from something negative to happiness. Think how powerful music is in shifting moods….just a few notes can elicit the emotions of fear or excitement or joy.

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   ©2017 by The Disciplined Warrior.