Mindfulness

Lao Tzu said it best “If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.” 

Being mindful means to be fully aware and conscious of something. Make that something, yourself. Take a moment to think about how you feel, what is going on in your life, and how it is affecting you. 

If something happened to you in the past and it is on your mind it is okay to acknowledge it, but dont let it controls your attitude for the day. Take time to think about it, contemplate what steps to take because it happened, and then move on. You are the sum of your experiences and they have helped to shape you into the person that you are today. Be happy with who you have become because no one else has gone through exactly what you have. 

But what if you are busy worrying about the future and the things that may happen? The best advise that I can give you is that the future is always changing. You cannot control the future, you can only help it to take shape. You shape the future with the things that you do today. Rather then living in the future you should focus on the present. The things that you do today will become your future. The quote that was originally used for farmers says it best, ” You reap what you sow.” It literally means what you do now will lead to what you have in the future. 

Throughout the day you need to stop a moment and take a moment to be mindful. Look around you. Take in the sights, smells the aromas that surround you, and ask yourself “How am I doing right now?” This little step done throughout the day will assist you in being mindful. This keeps you from living in the past with depression, living in the future with anxiety, and will keep you in the present, at peace. 

Date night

Usually, date nights are meant for couples. At the root it is two people getting to know each other better, spending time together, and doing stuff they both enjoy.  If you really look at the activities that go on during a date, they can all be done as an individual. 

Go on a date with yourself. Take some time to get to know yourself. Think about your dreams, your desires, and your future. Go out and do the things that you enjoy doing. Do what ever you want to do. Go out, stay in, hang out with friends, go do what makes you happy. Enjoy yourself and be happy doing the things that make you happy. While doing all of this you will come to find out more about yourself. These activities should be your focus in your life. Don’t go looking for happiness. If you are doing things that make you happy, You are already there. 

Anger

The things that happen to you don’t have to make you angry. Being angry is your choice, and you should choose to be happy. You cannot change or choose what happens to you but you decide how you react to them. 

When you wake up it’s your choice, you can either continue with your normal routine or you can make the choice to be happy no matter what occurs. You can be angry with the fact that you have to go to work or be happy that you have a job to go to. When you get to work you may encounter people who are angry and choose to take there anger out on you. Do you react to there anger by combating it with more of the same or do you temper the situation with happiness. It is my experience with angry people that they just need a soundboard to hear them out. They choose to react with anger because they woke up that morning and choose that path.  Once they are heard they calm down quite quickly.  If you try and battle them with anger of your own you are merely putting gasoline on the fire of anger. Their anger grows and the situation escalates. Instead, hear them out, don’t speak, just listen.  They will eventually fizzle out, just like a fire without fuel. Once the fire is gone, ask if you can help. Don’t offer an answer unless they ask for one. Most people just want you to show merit to their issue. 

On the way home from work a car is speeding through the traffic and cuts you off. This used to be one of the most aggravating things for me to encounter. I would be so angry I would be yelling in my car as if the person in the other vehicle could hear me.  I would get so angry. One day I found myself speeding through traffic and I cut someone off. I really needed to use the restroom and I felt bad for the person I cut off. This was a moment of enlightenment for me. Maybe the people that cut me off need to use the restroom as badly as I did that day. Now when someone cuts me off in traffic I tell myself, they need to use the restroom. Guess what, I don’t get mad at them. 

Granted all the people I encounter won’t be receptive of my happiness but I take solice in the fact that I did not respond with anger. I choose to be happy and no matter what happens. 


Comfort

Snuggling with a loved one, reading a book, going out to eat, or whatever you like, we all want to be comfortable. The body and mind crave a state of homeostasis. This is a good thing unless you are unhappy. 

Habits are difficult to break. Most of our habits are fairly unconscious. We don’t even know that we do them. This perpetuation of the norm may be the reason why you are unhappy. You fear change. You need to find comfort in the act of improving your well being. Do you want to be more social? Do you have trouble when speaking with a group? Do you bite your nails? Maybe you want to start eating healthy. If your habits are keeping you unhappy then it’s time to build new habits. Whatever you do that you may want to change isn’t as difficult to do as you think. 

It takes about 21 days to build a habit.  Dont focus on trying to break old habits, that is a very uphill battle when it’s been decades in the making. Build a new habit to overwrite the old ones. Address the habit you wish to change, set a plan for the new habit, and the begin to execute. Your new habit will begin to take root with time and soon that will be the norm. 

Day one will be the most difficult. Taking a look at yourself and decided what in your life needs to be changed. What is causing you to be unhappy? After you are done taking out the things that make you unhappy in your life. You are only left with happiness. 

The meaning

To be happy and to bring happiness into your life you need to know what it is. For each of us this can be different and may even be tangible or intangible. You may already know what makes you happy and some of us may not. 

If you already know what makes you happy then your focus should be to eliminate the things in your life that takes that happiness away from you. This may be people you associate with that consistently bring your mood down. It may be job you dont like going to. It could even be a problem in your life that needs to be dealt with that you keep putting off. Whatever brings your happiness level down you must first acknowledge it, accept that it is an issue, then you can properly address it. Once this is done you can focus on brining your happiness to the forefront of your life. 

For those of us that have trouble identifying what brings us happiness that is our first task. We must take the time to look at our life and decern what makes us happy. Think about your day, what do you do that you take enjoyment in?  Is there a specific activity you enjoy doing? Is there a person you enjoy being with? What makes you happy? Once you figure out what makes you happy, you should spend more time doing it. This should go without saying but alot of people tend to neglect themselves and what makes us happiest. 

Take some time to really think about what makes you. Look at yourself, look at your life, and be happy. 

Mirror

Most people have a very negative self image. Whether we were teased growing up or we try and compare ourselves to other. We look into the mirror and see only negatives: I have acne, I have a big nose, I’m overweight, and whatever else. Not only is this a horrible way to start the day it only perpetuates itself and becomes a self fulfilling prophecy.

 When you get up in the morning, remember Happiness is a choice. Look into that mirror and talk to yourself. Self talk is such a strong influencer. We should all look in the mirror and see someone we can be proud of. No one has been through what you have been through and no one controls how you feel but you. When you wake up, look into that mirror and say out loud, “Today, I choose to be happy.” Be better then you were yesterday. If you have acne, wash your wash with a new cleanser. If you are overweight and want to change, go to the gym or prepare some meals for the week. What if your unhappy with the size of your nose? Know that the specific trait you have is original and no one else has a trait quite like that. Learn to love your originality. Choose to be happy. Look at yourself, you are great just the way you are. Keep telling yourself that and that will be your new self fulfilling prophecy.  

Remember, Happiness is a choice. 

Saying No

The word “No is so very powerful. It does not need a reason or an explanation. 

When your goal is choose happiness the word No can be your best friend. Do you want to go, can you do me a favor, can I borrow, and whatever else people may question you for, if they are not in your best interest, just say no. They most likely will ask for an explanation if the form of ” Why not?” All you have yo do is say that you don’t want to do that. Most of us feel obligations towards those that we are close to and will assist however we can even if it is a detriment to our happiness.  We would rather sacrifice in our own life then to have someone else judge us for not doing something. 

Stop caring what others think about you. Be you, be the best version of you that you can be. True friends will accept you for who you are and others will slowly fall away. Let them. Fake people who are only around you for the things that you can do for them are not the type of people that you want to associate with. If you have to choose between doing something for them and choosing happiness, you are better off being happy.