“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking” – Marcus Aurelius
Our mind is so complex that we can forget how powerful it is.
It can either make or break us at any given moment. It has the power to take us to the stars or throw us off a cliff.
According to the American Foundation For Suicide Prevention, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the USA, with 42,773 Americans dying by suicide every year.
The mind is the root cause of suicide, with over 90% of cases attributed to mental illness.
With a concerted effort, we can achieve a state of continuous happiness by teaching the mind to think positively.
HAPPINESS IS NOT IN THE FUTURE
“People look to time in the expectation that it will eventually make them happy, but you cannot find true happiness by looking toward the future” – Eckhart Tolle
How often do we say to ourselves ‘I’ll be happy when the bills are paid’. Or ‘When I was younger, things were better’?
We are all guilty of falling into the trap of believing that we will feel better in the future. Or we reminisce about how much easier life was back in the day.
The truth is, happiness has little to do with circumstances. Mental constructions of future and past have a huge impact on our current state. In reality, though, they have nothing to do with how things actually ‘are’ right now.
Like a ping pong match, our mind will bounce back and forth between ideas. It says ‘I’ll feel great when I lose the excess weight’ or ‘I was happier when I ate whatever I wanted’. It cannot make a decision and we wonder why we are confused.
Perception of a circumstance, not the actual circumstance, determines our happiness. If left unchecked, your mind will come up with countless reasons to be unsatisfied.
To enjoy a more balanced life, we must first notice disempowering thoughts. We must then redirect these thoughts and turn them into empowering ones.
The future is simply a dream-like projection of mind-made fantasies. It is not real. It exists only in your head.
If you want to think about the future, consider it in a positive way and then take constructive action in the now.
How often do we mentally grumble about things we have no idea about?
Sitting in rush hour traffic, we jump at the opportunity to lash out when traffic isn’t moving. We speculate and blame the event on all manner of made up ideas
We scowl at the stranger who doesn’t reciprocate a “thank you” when we hold the door open for them. Mentally we judge them and label them as rude.
Could it be possible that the person who walked through the door was in a daze after hearing some terrible news? Is it too difficult to consider that the traffic is lousy because of an accident?
Instead of accepting something as it is, we create a negative story. I call this ‘Speculation Nation’.
Our patience dissolves or we get angry at nothing but a speculative thought.
We become unhappy and lose our power as the mind complains. It wants to know what justification the other person has for behaving a certain way. It struggles when things don’t act in accordance with its own personal values and rules.
Many battles could be avoided If people understood that we all have a different set of values.
Just because a person appears to be rude to you, doesn’t really matter.
It is only your interpretation of the events that have the power to determine your happiness. Choose to interpret them positively.
Choose to interpret them positively.
“There is nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it so” – William Shakespeare
LOOK FOR HAPPINESS
In every moment we have a choice. We can choose to resist the way something is or we can accept the way it is. After all, it ‘IS’.
There are 2 ways to deal with something that is not going as planned.
- Mentally complain and tell yourself a phantom story about how dreadful it is.
This will lead to a lot of pain and suffering.
- Accept the way it is and look for the positive and beauty in the situation.
This leads to peace and joy.
Shift your perspective from discontentment to acceptance. Surrender to the way it is because it can be no other way. It is what it is and no amount of complaining will change it.
“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them; that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” ― Lao Tzu
Relinquishing control and making way for acceptance will relieve you of tension and frustration.
In its place, there will be spaciousness. Burden and negativity will no longer rule you and positivity will break through.
Every situation, no matter what it is, can be perceived as either positive or negative.
Choosing to accept, or to see the advantage in a circumstance, will free you of suffering. In turn, this will better allow you to explore the beauty and magnificence of life.
Showing gratitude is one of the most powerful ways to find happiness. Gratitude opens up the heart and sends positive energy to those willing to receive it.
What we send out, is returned ten-fold.
In the book of the film ‘The Secret’, Rhonda Byrne talks about how she used gratitude to turn her entire life around.
Her relationships, finances, and health were spiraling out of control. She felt like she was on a collision course with destruction.
Once she realized that her thoughts were controlling her life, she began expressing gratitude. She became thankful for all that is good in her life.
Instead of complaining about money issues, she would give thanks for the things she had. Surely enough, she was able to turn around her entire life. She shares these teachings in ‘The Secret’ series of books and films.
“Remember that your thoughts are the primary cause of everything.” ― Rhonda Byrne
Expressing gratitude really means that we are expressing happiness.
Gratitude puts us in a state of positivity. We feel uplifted and energized and happiness becomes the natural byproduct of these feelings.
According to this study, gratitude and happiness have a direct impact on emotional and interpersonal benefits.
MAKE HAPPINESS THE GOAL
Adopt these keys points to ensure that you are constantly in a state of well-being.
- Give up trying to control every situation, it’s impossible.
- Let go of the past and stop expecting the future to make things better. Now is the only time you can experience joy.
- Accept the way something is. If you can change it, great. If you can’t, Hakuna Matata (it means no worries!)
- Give up speculating. You have no idea why she didn’t turn up for the date. Maybe she had a car crash!
- Look for the good in all things. Search for beauty, it’s everywhere.
- Play, be silly, be creative. Let your hair down.
- Adopt an attitude of gratitude. Go out of your way to give thanks.
- Consistently following these simple steps will ensure that you think powerfully and positively.
You will literally rewire your brain so that it remains in a state of bliss so that happiness becomes a way of life.