We’ve all been there. Our life is fine—no big complaints. In fact, a lot to be grateful for—a roof over our head, people who love us, intelligence, health and an able body. And yet, we find ourselves struggling to be happy.
What gives? Why does happiness seem to be a roller coaster at times, and—more importantly—what can we do about it?
I believe the real reason we can’t stay happy is that we don’t know how. It’s not just that we haven’t been taught how to be happy—we have actually been conditioned to be unhappy.
Lets face it folks, we live in a world in which multi-billion dollar corporations put all their creativity and resources into convincing us we won’t be happy until we buy their latest product. Be it insurance, food, weight loss, pharmaceuticals, technology, clothing—whatever—their one and only goal is to seduce us into believing we won’t be happy until…
And even before we hopped on the media-go-round, we were dissuaded from happiness by nearly every authority figure in our life. We were made to feel guilty if we were too happy. We were punished if we were too demonstrative of that happiness. Others wanted us to “be like them”—worried, martyred and sacrificing.
Even our loving and well-meaning parents sought to “protect us” from the world by molding us to take life seriously, work hard and (they implicitly promised) if we were lucky, we’d eventually end up happy.
This is why we ride the roller coaster of happiness—we’re promised if we buy the right thing, do the right thing, are the right thing—we’ll be happy. And we buy, do, try to be—and we’re happy for a time, but eventually we just have to ask, is this all there is?
And as we strove to be like them, to fit in and to not rock the boat, we missed out on one of the most important lessons of our lives…
Happiness isn’t a “result”—it’s a choice.
So how do we make that choice day after day—to be really and truly happy—all the time? Well, some days will be easier than others, but if you find that you need help time and again (don’t we all?) here are some happiness jump starters:
Seven “happiness hacks” to keep you in the happy zone 24/7:
1. Make that choice. Your choice to be (and stay) happy needs to be a very willed and determined choice. Make it like you mean it. Where to begin? With an intention: “I intend to feel happy—all day long.”
2. Make it again and again and again. The choice to be happy will need to be made over and over again, even after you’ve been doing it for decades. You’ll need to continually remind yourself, “No matter what happens ‘out there’, I have the power and ability to choose peace and happiness. And it choose it now.”
You may want to remind yourself with a physical reminder—such as a piece of ribbon tied around your wrist, or an alarm that goes off every hour to remind you to recommit to happiness.
3. Remember who is creating your reality. I don’t know how anyone can stay unhappy when they remember they have a gift better than Aladdin’s magic lamp. You get more than three wishes—you get a lifetime of them. Commit to learning exactly how to create your reality consciously. Then do it. There will never be time better spent.
4. Love the life you’ve got. What most people don’t realize, is dreaming is fabulous, creating more is part of your human nature, but always, always, always balance your desire with gratitude for what is wonderful in your life right now. Make gratitude part of your daily (or hourly) routine—and you will slip right into happiness—easy peasy. Check out our Gratitude Journal to help you remember everything you have to be grateful for.
5. Narrow your focus. So much unhappiness can be traced to worrying about the future—be it your to-do list or whether or not your dreams will come true. Giving your “negative self” free reign to make you crazy about all there is to do, or worry about the future won’t ever lead to happy.
Instead, narrow your focus to what is here and now. Be present with the task at hand (forget multi-tasking) and open your senses. How does your body feel? What is the scent in the air? Notice the sounds and even taste your present moment.
Perhaps change your immediate surroundings to allow even more richness—with aromatherapy, soft music or a more comfortable position in your chair. Now, allow yourself to be totally immersed at the task at hand. You’ll find yourself enjoying what you do far more than you ever have—and you’ll likely be more productive too.
6. Let nature help. Sometimes we just get into an emotional “funk” and have a devil of a time dragging ourselves out of it. I have always been a firm believer that nature has a cure for every ailment, and she never disappoints. I use Bach flower essences on a regular basis—they are amazing emotional healers and work instantly.
I like to use a pendulum to allow my Higher Self to show me which essences I need to balance emotionally. They truly are one of earth’s greatest gifts and they work equally well for children and animals. Looking for more guidance about Bach Flower Essences? The Bach Flower Essence Chart is a great tool to learn to work with them.
7. Get by with a little help from your friends. You are not alone, my friend. You never were, despite the times you felt so lonely. You don’t have to have proof that your unseen friends are there for you before you call upon them to help. Ask anyway. The proof will be in the response.
Not sure quite how to do that? Try this: “Higher Self, guides, counselors, and all of my unseen friends, please help me to stay happy today.”
Then stay awake to catch the little thoughts, feelings and signs in your life that show your unseen friends are right by your side helping you to strengthen your choice to be happy.
At first you might have to use these hacks often in order to stay on top of your happiness game, but it will get easier and easier until it is your second nature to wake up and stay happy—all through the day.
And the bonus is—staying happy will also help your dreams come true. Happiness creates even more to be happy about. It’s a positive spiral—which in itself should make you pretty happy. How wonderful is that?
With love and happiness,