I know this sounds very vain and not at all about giving or being considerate but this is the only way in which we can be our best self and to be happy. In order to be able to give and share all of yourself you need to be and feel awesome and feel it in your bones and subconscious.
We live in a world where apparently you will feel good if you just lose that weight, have that designer handbag or achieve a certain amount of money in the bank. All of these things are totally irrelevant if you don’t love yourself first. From personal experience yes driving a sports car, travelling by business class and staying in the worlds best hotels are incredible but I have reached a point in my journey through life to realise this important fact.
HAPPINESS IS NOW
Wow! Think about that and let that sink in. I am going to give you 7 ways to achieve happiness and to truly love yourself. When you reach this point the material things in life will either be the icing on the cake or trust me, you probably won’t want them at all.
Although these goals are easily achievable they do come with a certain amount of commitment and sacrifice.
Living In The Now
We all have aspirations and dreams and also regrets but it is so important to live for the present moment. If all we do is think about the future and how great it is going to be, then we will clearly never be happy because we are feeding our minds with “When I earn £xxx,xxx per year I will be able to buy that car”. Or we have constant reminders of our past and what we could have done “If only I hadn’t eaten that donut”, which can in turn cause our minds to feel down and you look for a way to increase the good feelings again and reach for more sugar.
Living in the present takes practice, by using meditation you can become very good at living in the moment. The best way to do this is by using an app on your phone which reminds you to carry out your meditation. Meditation can be in many forms and can take 1 minute or 30, start small and work up. I usually find the beginning or end of the day a perfect time.
Remember you can’t change the past and you can’t predict the future, you can only control what you do now.
Gratitude Is The Key
This I believe is where I found happiness. Gratitude practice and awareness reminds and cements in your mind our current situation and stops the mind wandering. Try this, the next time someone does something that upsets you like pulling out in front of you in their car. Rather than getting angry and shouting at them because you felt they pulled out on purpose. Focus on your breath and imagine yourself driving their car and suddenly a car (you) comes around the corner at a speed you think is too fast, you clearly didn’t have time to react or see them coming. Always put yourself in the shoes of others.
Remember your thoughts can not affect anyone else but you!
I practice gratitude everyday and make it part of my routine. The moment you get up is the best time to practice and simply by thinking about the most simple things like, your bed and how comfy it is, maybe the sun is shining or you can hear birds singing. Noticing is key and once you find your morning gratitude you will start your day off in the right direction. As the saying goes “did you get out of the wrong side of bed this morning?”
My very first gratitude training was to sit in a room quietly and look around and find 10 things that were amazing and that I took for granted. I suddenly realised how I took so much for granted and immediately started to feel amazing about my life. Some of them included, electricity and how it got to my house and powered the lightbulbs, TV and heating. The people who built my house, made my sofa. This training and practice is incredible when you take it to another level.
So, try this. Take your chair or sofa you are sitting on. Think about the material it is covered in - then think about who has stitched that together - the company that made the material - the person that grew the cotton - how it got to the country you live - the wooden frame within the chair - who made it - the wood itself and how long it took to grow.
When you take gratitude to that sort of level you will appreciate and feel great about what you have and how you got them.
Say Hello To Everyone
This is something that I used to find difficult but all these things take practice and may feel uncomfortable at first.
This is a fun one to try and I now treat it as a game and see how many strangers I can say hi to in one day. With the exception of a few I guarantee people will respond not only with a hello but with more importantly a smile. Take it to another level and say hello to the next person who may look threatening to you. If you are young try saying hi to an older person who looks arrogant or overly confident. If you are older try saying hi to a teenager in a hoody or a funny walk who looks like they are up to no good. A funny thing happens and you are pleasantly surprised by the outcome. It’s the thoughts in our mind overriding our judgement and most of the time they are wrong. Trust me, this is quite a fun one once get confident at it. There is still one person who works around the corner from me that I can’t get a response from, maybe they just think I’m weird now but still it makes me smile inside that one day they will say hello.
Try this, pick up your phone right now and text the first person you think of and tell three amazing things about them. There doesn’t have to be a reason to compliment others.
Share Ideas And Communicate
I believe sharing is integral to living a happy life and feeling good about yourself. This includes eating together and sharing food which will include communicating and talking through your day. Make dinner time a time for this as you can make it a time to ban tech and tv and listen to each other. If you feel heard you will feel happier, even if there isn’t a solution to a problem its a problem halved as they say.
Just like the ideas I am sharing with you right now, I now find joy and happiness in telling my story on how I found happiness and started to love myself.
Never feel you idea or thought isn’t worth sharing because I guarantee someone else has had that thought and probably wants to talk about it too. As human-beings we are scared to share in case we are ridiculed or put down and this has probably stemmed from our childhood or school where you simply didn’t want to be wrong. Like I always say “Mistakes are simply learning in disguise.”
If you have had a shitty day because let’s face it we can all have those days, it just gets easier the more you practice these steps to turn those shitty days around.
Often our thoughts are just embedded beliefs that our parents taught us growing up, like “bad things come in threes.” Really, it is complete rubbish and here lies the proof in what I have found. If I have ever dwelled on something like stubbing my toe first thing in the morning then decide that I have two more bad things coming to me then what do you think will happen. Rather now I simply take it on the chin so to speak and refocus on the positive. Since I have retrained my thought process nothing comes in threes, I deal with them in the now.
So sharing ideas is a powerful thing, we just need to make sure what we are sharing is positive and motivating to the other party.
Social Media Detox
This is the most obvious one but the hardest to implement as we are all addicted to our phones. Yes, including myself and I am working hard to come up with a way of limiting its use.
So I have come up with a plan of only replying to emails twice a day. This is at 12:30pm and 4pm so that I am not constantly pulling the next junk mail through and then getting distracted by looking at Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin. Its really interesting now as Apple are showing your usage each week. I am currently reducing my usage each week.
You may find your own way of reducing your usage of your phone and social media apps but I have found by firstly turning off all notifications it stops me picking it up in the first place.
The reason this is so important is to reduce the constant reminders and images of perfection with regards to Instagram and the negativity that surrounds Facebook. Remove any negative friends you may have on the profiles and start to follow inspirational profiles or companies doing great work or helping people. This is all designed to get your mindset into one of positivity and progress which will in turn help you feel good.
It really does not matter if you are a size 8 or a size 28 you can exercise. The simple act of going for a walk or running 1 mile releases good chemicals in your brain which make you feel happy. Plus you are outdoors, which is proven to help any feelings of anxiety, depression or fatigue. You will also get to practice all of the above steps at the same time, making you a master of leveraging time. Which is a topic all of its own I will discuss in a further blog. Myself and my brother have a competition on how many things we can achieve at the same time, this includes walking the dog, running, posting flyer and listening to an audiobook. I am going for the record of five things. Afterwards not only have done all of these things but I come back feeling like I have accomplished something. Quite often the only reason we do not go out for any form of exercise is our minds. Remember, the thought of it is much worse than the exercise itself.
Running has certainly become my tonic, you can enjoy the natural beauty of the world and it is totally free, there is no reason to join an expensive gym or club because all we need is the great outdoors. Anyway trust me, most people who going to the gym are purely there to impress each other not themselves. Just saying!
We Are Who We Are
There is no way of changing this fact and I do believe we forget that we all have worries, problems and stresses and we compare ourselves and our own journey to everyone else. This has to be the single-most damaging thing you can do.
Find you and start be that person. You are unique and nobody can be you so be proud of that fact and play on it and exploit it to a level you have never seen before.