In the last six months more than a thousand books have been published on it. Universities around the world are teaching it (It is one of Harvard’s most popular sessions). For 30 years scientists have been studying it. The United Nations has named an official day for it – March 20th. What is this apparently illusive but much sought after circumstance? Happiness!
“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success.” In summary, happiness is an inside job, a balancing act in which the locus of control lies within. It is viewing challenges as “opportunities” to stretch and grow.
I know I wrote about happiness, a few months ago, but this time I am sharing techniques I utilize and what works for me. The past couple of years have been challenging for me, in many areas of my life, to say the least. But for the past few weeks have I have been especially happy. I began to ponder what set of circumstances or mind-set has caused this incredible situation? And how can I maintain it? To answer these questions, I have explored and recognized what I have been doing differently in the past few months and what appears to be working. A basic principal to remember is, what works for me, may or may not work for you. I would strongly suggest that you use what resonates with you. Hence, the reason I try to include a number of options in my articles. The techniques that I have found that work best for me are: Prayer, Releasing, Intention, Gratitude, and Morning Ritual.
First, I want to mention Prayer. It is not new to my arsenal for personal development, strength or success. Prayer is undoubtedly my oldest, most trusted and reliable resource. I pray for help, thanks and sometimes just to exalt God.
My first task was to Release. I released my habit of clinging to the past? I released what I should have done or could have done? And let go of the notion that the past is a refection of my future. I have released people, situations, bad habits and physical things. I have done this by spoken word, taking action (actually tossing things out), meditation and of course prayer. I have used these methods alone and in combination. I have used this process a few times for the extra help with a few deep emotional problems. The result is I feel like I have gained freedom from: my past, things and people that no longer serve my growth and a lot of negative feelings I held about myself.
As previously stated my Intention for this year is “Happiness”. I do not add specifics to my intentions. I just let the Universe handle the details. I believe that by letting opportunities and events happen naturally the outcome produced will be better than anything that I could have imagined. I kept my intention upper most in my mind daily, to remind and motivate me by having a visual in my home. I have written the word or phrase, on paper, rocks, wood blocks. I have even spelled out the word with scrabble pieces.
Oprah says, “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” I now focus consciously on gratitude. My morning prayer starts this process. I truly believe that the events, conditions and circumstances that I am currently experiencing are manifestations based on the thoughts and emotions that I have chosen at some point in the past. Gratitude brings me optimism, joy, less stress, more determination and closer personal ties.
How do I deal with feelings of gratitude when nothings seems to be going right, or I am facing challenges and adversities? First, through my adversities I now I always find something to be grateful for, even if it is just having food to eat and a roof over my head. When you discipline yourself to keep going in spite of obstacles and hardships you feel powerful. I try to create a few positive practices to ensure that I do not fall apart when life seems darkest. Lastly, and this is the hardest I remind myself that what I am thinking now will create my tomorrow. Here is my secret technique. I use what I call a fail-safe to immediately change my negative thinking. My fail-safe is something I strongly desire (usually a want not a need) that I am trying to bring into my life. The goal is to visualize in detail the end state of that desire to take my mind off of my negative thoughts and/or situation. The key here is to determine and start developing your fail-safe before you need it. Currently my fail-safe is to mentally furnish each room of my burning desire for my own apartment.
My newest practice is my morning ritual. I repeat three or four times, a number of affirmations that I think will assist me with all that I will encounter that day. I am now a firm believer that what I do those first 5 to 10 minutes, when I first wake up, can determine my mood, energy and even my happiness the rest of the day. My morning ritual is so effective that it has quickly become one of my most important practices.
These five practices, that I now usually consistently and faithfully have become my staples for being happy, at peace with myself and living my life to the fullest. Here are few of my recent successes: My own jazz radio show, I found an apartment (Yes, I will have to come up with a new fail-safe.), improved relationships with family and friends, a very special love relationship, peace of mind, a lot less stress and of course a lot more happiness.