What does it take for you to be happy?

Many people I talk to say they would like to be happier (and what happiness looks like is different for each one of us.) But what gets in the way of our happiness is the rules we put into place to be happy.

How many times have you heard yourself or a friend say “I’ll be happy when… I lose weight or when I have more money, when I find a better job, or when I’m not so busy or stressed” – does this sound familiar? To be happier every day we need to look at what our rules are and make a conscious choice to choose happiness even when circumstances in life may not be ideally how we want them to be.

Rick Hanson, Ph.D., a psychologist and founder of the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience talks a lot about changing our brains to create more happiness and wellbeing.

He states that everything you do creates connections within the network of your brain, and the more you repeat something, the stronger that connection gets. These connections control your reactions, emotions, behaviours, and your overall happiness and well-being.

So it would make sense that the more we focus our thinking on positive and happy things in our life we will train our brain to default to happier and positive behaviours and emotions. Yes it sounds simple yet the trick is to be mindful to do this throughout each day.

If you want to create more happiness and fulfilment you must train your brain to seek out the good things in life and focus on these things the majority of the time – try these 3 simple techniques:

  1. It can be as simple as being grateful; start each day by writing three things you are thankful for and start training your mind to focus on the positive. This technique has been proven to be extremely effective in creating positive mood change.

  2. Reframing is a technique naturally happy people repeatedly use. It’s putting a positive spin on past and present negative events so you remember them as good.

  3. Expect things to get better; as Martin Seligman the author of Learned Optimism says, optimism can make you happier and it is a skill that can be learned and the more we practice it the more it will become a natural way we think.

If you are looking for ideas to change your rules for happiness you may want to try some of these:

  1. Happiness is a way of living your life, not a destination

  2. The quickest way to change your life is to change what you do and what you focus on every day.

  3. Decide to love yourself exactly as you are.

  4. Own yourself. If you worry about what others think of you, you are owned by them.

  5. Your choice – you can either gripe about the storms in your life or go dancing in the rain.

What will you do today to make everyday a happier one?

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