7 Ways to Create Happiness Right Now
I always say it’s never too late to start living the life you’re meant to live. This is another opportunity, another day, and this week we will to be focusing on Prosperity Pillars #7: I Choose To Be Happy
Since choosing happiness is our focus for this week, let me ask you a question. “Are you addicted to the future?” Have you ever thought about that?
Yes, your vision of the future is driving you.
Yes, your future life is going to be a motivation for you.
But are you addicted to that future life? Does your vision of the future rob you of the happiness of the present moment? Is your future pushing your happiness a little bit further out of your reach? I have experienced this myself. I know how it feels.
I had a pretty interesting experience today driving home from my morning workout. I had finished what was a pretty long and hard work out. It was longer than normal and I was trying to push myself a little further today. Maybe it was to use that time to gain some more clarity for the week, or maybe it was just routine, but it was definitely a good workout. After I got my workout done, I got into my car and I started heading home. I turned on my normal affirmation audio. I usually do that in the morning or listen to a podcast. Then I hit the button on the center console of my car that is programmed to have my seat massagers turn on and give me a “fast vigorous massage”. I had set that setting in the computer of my car to give me a little relaxation on my way home. When I did that something hit me totally out of the blue. Maybe it’s because I knew this week would be about “choosing happiness”, or maybe I was just in the zone. I realized I was driving down the road, literally getting a massage, in my leather seats, in my own car, and I hadn’t even realized how crazy cool that was. I had been taking it for granted because I usually am too consumed with the need to go to the next level, or what I had planned for the day, or basically that future vision of what I wanted. I’m not telling you this to impress you. On the contrary, I’m telling this to impress upon you this important realization. If you don’t train yourself to enjoy what you have in the present, then you’ll be conditioning yourself not to appreciate it when you have it in the future. I know this from experience.
Of course, I practice gratitude, I try to do that daily, but how you do anything is how you do everything. How many times during the day are you appreciating the little things in your life?
- The ability to actually wake up and be alive.
- The gift of health
- Freedom of religion
- The ability to choose what job, career, or business you’d like.
- To start reading.
- Being able to start a business.
We live in the age of the internet where you can learn, grow, accomplish, or be anything. Do you enjoy and appreciate the people in your life, their relationships and the support they give you? Or are you just too consumed with the future life that you want to live or caught up in the the treadmill of life itself? Are you always looking at the better life, the life you’re trying to create, the vision of the future that’s not even real? That’s what we spend a lot of time moving towards, as entrepreneurs.
This reminds me of a quote from the Dalai Lama…he said
“We need to learn how to want what we have, not to have what we want in order to get steady and stable happiness.”
I’ve heard this quote before but this is the first time I’ve really thought about it. I recognize the idea or thought that we need to “learn” how to want what we have because that’s not a given right.
This week, I would like to focus our thoughts on
Prosperity Pillar #7 I Choose to Be Happy
but more importantly I want to focus on the actions of learning to be happy. I believe that choosing happiness is simply learning to be happy and grateful with your actions “daily” not your words or just one-time decisions. Specifically “I choose happiness” is not enough. How can you actively choose happiness through your actions, your daily activities, your daily routine or rituals. I want to give you something practical to try and think about.
I recently have been reading a book again. It’s called The Happiness Equation.
I highly recommend this book. The subtitle is the actual equation: Want Nothing + Do Anything = Have Everything
I wanted to share with you some items I pulled from the book. They focus on seven specific things that you can do.
I’ve met and been around a lot of successful people in my life and many of them are the definition of success but they aren’t happy. I’ve been there myself and I still am at times. You may be there as well. You’ve had success but just not necessarily happy. The reason for this is that we, at times, are seeking happiness from external things when only internal things can bring us happiness. Sure, the money, lifestyle, cars, clothes, watches, shoes, for some will bring short-term gratification and happiness, but not true deep happiness. Only positive emotions will bring this.
One of my partners, Robert Stuberg says we’re all seeking ultimately the emotions that these external things bring us. It’s not the things, it’s the emotions. The key is to find ways to create these emotions daily. We all have the power to do this. I want to read you from Chapter 4 page 15 of the book The Happiness Equation and give you 7 specific ways to be happy right now or create those emotions for yourself.
Aristotle says, “Happiness depends upon ourselves.” Viktor Frankl says, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
Walt Whitman writes, “Keep your face always toward the sunshine—and shadows will fall behind you.” I love what Aristotle, Viktor Frankl, and Walt Whitman say. But how do you get there? Well, we now have scientific evidence of the importance of attitude and specific proven actions we can take to manage our attitude. When my wife Leslie turned sixteen, her grandmother gave her a brass-framed quote for her birthday. She hung it on her bedroom wall. She looked at it in the mornings before school, and it is still hanging in her old bedroom today.
He took a picture of it and he put it in the book and I’m going to read it to you it’s called attitude and it’s written by Sam Walton:
“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company…a church….a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past…we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude…I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you…we are in charge of our attitudes.”
I know it says Sam Walton on the poster! But this is an artifact of the old days when email forwards and chain letters had misattributions that lasted for years. This quote was actually said by Charles Swindoll, a Texas preacher who broadcasts a show to more than two thousand radio stations. Do you know what’s amazing about this quote? The second last sentence! “I am convinced that life is 10% what happens and 90% how I react to it.
New research published in The How of Happiness by University of California psychology professor Sonja Lyubomirsky tells us exactly how much of our happiness is based on our life circumstances. And it is 10%!
10% of our happiness is what happens to us. So 90% of our happiness isn’t based on what’s happening in the world! It’s based on how we see the world. What’s included in the 90%? Our genetic predisposition and our intentional activities. Yes, intentional activities. This is big. Those are specific things we can do to improve our happiness. And they alone have four times the effect on our happiness than anything happening in our life.
Let me put it another way: If I knew everything about your life circumstances—your job, your health, your marital status, your income—I could predict only 10% of your happiness. That’s it! The remaining amount is not determined by your external world but by the way your brain processes it.
The point that this chapter makes is that your actions, your activities, your ability to influence your happiness level, is 90%. it’s not related to everything else going on around you. What I want to do is give you seven specific ways from the book to train your brain. These seven specific activities can immediately impact your attitude and create the emotional state that generates happiness. Some of these are ones that you may already know and remember, but I want you to practice them, put them into your daily routine and your daily rituals.
The First One is 3 Walks. It doesn’t take much. Half an hour of brisk walking three times a week improves happiness. The American Psychosomatic Society published a study showing how a team of doctors found that three 30-minute brisk walks or jogs even improve recovery from clinical depression. Yes, clinical depression. Results were stronger than studies using medication or studies using exercise and medication combined.
The Second One is The 20-minute Replay. Writing for twenty minutes about a positive past experience dramatically improves happiness. Why? Because you actually relive the experience as you’re writing it and then relive it every time you read it. Your brain sends you back. So journal about it, write it down, put it in a note… presto, you’ll create those emotions again.
The Third One is Random Acts of Kindness. Carrying out, let’s say, 5 random acts of kindness per week dramatically improves happiness. It takes the focus off of you and places it on others. It makes you feel better internally so this is probably the single most important thing you can do to generate situations that foster feelings of happiness.
The Fourth One is A Complete Unplug. The only way to really engage in the present moment is to disconnect from all the insanity that’s going on around us. So unplug your phone after dinner or before bed. Take time off social media or the internet. Unless you unplug from all the other distractions you’re going to never have the ability to be present and grounded in the moment which enables you to create happiness.
The Fifth Idea is To Hit Flow. To hit your flow has been described many times as a state you’re in when you’re engaging in your unique ability, your unique talent, something you’re good at, and you’re passionate about. It’s also really important it challenges you. If you’re not being challenged, then you’re not going to hit flow. We’ve all experienced what it’s like to lose track of time, but what you need to do is blackout more time in your day-to-day schedule for activities that can help you to hit your flow.
The Sixth Idea you can do is the 2-Minute Meditation. Meditation is a state where you can actually rewire your brain to raise your happiness level. It is really important that you spend time on this. Science has proven that the benefits of meditation have been shown before and after meditation. Get one of those free meditation apps. It doesn’t matter whether it’s guided or unguided. It’s just the fact you slow down and just enjoy the quiet. Try to focus on being present in the moment.
The Seventh Idea is 5 Gratitudes. I’ve learned from experience that when you appreciate more of what you have, it brings happiness greater than having what you want. So the key is you actually have to practice gratitude. Get a journal, a notepad, a mobile app – whatever it is that works for you. I use a gratitude app. Every single day write down five things that you’re grateful for. It doesn’t matter whether they’re big things or little things, it’s just the act of training your brain to be grateful.
These are the seven activities or ideas. Let’s review it again…
- 3 Walks
- 20-Minute Replay
- Random Acts of Kindness
- A Complete Unplug
- Hit Your Flow
- 2 Minute Meditations
- 5 Gratitudes
I challenge you to do these things and see what happens. They’re going to ground you in the moment, in the present. They’re going to help you train your own mind to focus on happiness first. They will bring you positive benefits without a doubt. Try it, see what happens. These are seven practical ways that can inspire you to do more, practice more, prioritize the present moment, and prioritize happiness in your life. Start to build these into your daily rituals – your daily routines.
Choose To Be Happy
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