(By Alan Tutt)
Most people feel that they can only be happy when things are going well in their lives. For these folks, they need a reason to be happy, something to make them happy. I’m here to show you how you can be happy any day you choose, whether you have a ‘reason’ for it or not.
However, before I dive right in, I want to say that I’m one of these people who don’t do anything without a reason. As you’ll see in this report, when you choose to be happy, good things happen, and this is perhaps the BEST reason to create happiness in your daily life.
Put Things Into Perspective
Okay, you may not be living a life of joyous abandonment, but really, how bad is it? Are you about to be put to death? Are you being mutilated and tortured with physical disfigurement? Are there billboards on every street corner with your photo and the words, “Hideous Evil-doer”?
Probably not. (Have you cracked a smile yet?)
Unless your life will definitely come to an end today, there is always hope that tomorrow will be better. And when there’s hope, there’s a reason to be happy. When things are at their worst, they HAVE to get better, right? So cheer up, and before you know it, life will get better and better.
Now, just to make sure I cover as many possibilities as I can, I want to say that there’s also a reason to be happy even if your life WILL end today. At least the pain and suffering will be over, wouldn’t you agree? You can be happy simply because you’ve come to the end of your journey and it’s time to rest. And if you believe in re-incarnation, you’ll have another opportunity to live a happier life next time around.
The main point I’m trying to make here is that when you put your life into perspective, it’s not as bad as you may think it is. In fact, this phrase brightened up the darkest days of my life, and may help you too.
“It’s not as bad as I think it is.”
Count Your Blessings
Most of us take for granted many of the conveniences we enjoy in our daily lives. First of all, if you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you have access to a computer and the Internet. That alone puts you into the upper brackets in terms of wealth. There are whole COUNTRIES of people who do not have computers or Internet access.
Do you have indoor plumbing? How about electricity? And let’s not forget things like television, radio, and the ability to shop in grocery stores! Did you have to make your own clothes, or did you purchase them? You certainly don’t have to sleep in caves, nor do you sleep on the ground. I’m sure you have a bed as well as other furniture that makes life much more enjoyable.
What I’m trying to say here is that there is much in your life you are taking for granted. Yes, most of the people you know also have these things, but this doesn’t mean that everyone in the world has them.
The feeling of gratitude creates happiness into your life. Imagine if you had nothing, how happy you’d feel to be given a small thing like a pair of shoes or a bed. Be grateful for the things you have now. As strange as it may seem, the feeling of gratitude has a tendency to attract more good things into your life.
There is a quote from the Christian Bible that has been slightly altered from its original meaning. The quote goes something like: “To those who have, more will be given. But to those who don’t have, even that which they do have will be taken away.” The original meaning was “To those who have the feeling of something, more will be given. But to those who don’t have the feeling of a thing, even that which they do have will be taken away.” What this means is that there is a spiritual principle which will attract prosperity to those who feel they are prosperous, or happy events to happy people. I tend to simplify this into the phrase, “Whatever you focus on, you magnify in your life.”
Focus on what is good, and more good will appear. Focus on what is wrong, and more will go wrong. Allow yourself to enjoy the things that are good, and there will be more good things to enjoy.
Take Time For Yourself
Too many of us these days spend far too much time working and not enough time playing. It’s important to take some time for yourself and just have a bit of fun. It doesn’t have to be a whole month, or even a week. Sometimes just a few minutes is all you need to recover a sense of balance and poise so you can continue with what needs to be done.
Try this experiment.
Right now. Yes, I mean RIGHT NOW.
Sit back, close your eyes, and relax as much as you can. Take a deep breath and release it slowly. Don’t hold it, just let it go gently and easily. Do the same with 6 more deep breaths. Don’t rush it, don’t push, don’t think, and don’t ‘try’ to do anything. Just relax as much as you can for these 7 breaths.
Most people feel a sense of happiness and joy emerging from deep within them. Even if you didn’t feel it this time, I guarantee if you do it a few times, you’ll start to notice a feeling of joy and happiness welling up within you, proving a point that many authors have expressed – your natural state of being is joy, and when you relax and simply BE who you are, happiness comes naturally.
Of course, if you haven’t taken ANY time for yourself in years, you may need to do a little more to restore your inner balance. On the other hand, if your situation is different, and you’ve spent too much time in one physical location (behind a desk, for example), you may need to engage in some physical activity to restore your inner balance.
If you’re struggling to meet your current (or past) responsibilities, it may seem like you can’t afford to take the time you need to just play. I definitely know how you feel, because I’ve worked myself into just such a corner at various times in my life.
The secret in these situations is to take small amounts of time here and there. Don’t worry about taking a week’s vacation. Just take 15 minutes at a time, or an hour if you can, and do something fun. Grab a basketball and shoot hoops. Put on some music and dance. Go for a walk. Do anything you enjoy doing that also gets you moving.
Do Something Worthwhile
Although it’s important to relax and allow your natural (and joyous) state of being spring forth, it’s equally important to spend time doing something worthwhile that you can be proud of.
Actually, our physical bodies NEED a certain level of activity in order to remain healthy. One of the major reasons why people lose the ability to do many things as they get older is simply because they stop doing as much as they did when they were younger. Our bodies adapt to whatever level of activity is required of them, and when there’s not enough activity, our bodies adapt in a negative way. As the old saying goes, “use it or lose it.”
Additionally, our MINDS need a certain level of engagement as well, and for much the same reason. Believe it or not, smart people don’t necessarily have better brains; they just use them more often.
As an example, I spent a number of years doing very little brain-work, spending most my time meditating and doing a minimal amount of physical labour to earn a meagre living. After 5 years of this, I had difficulty thinking of things to say in social conversation, and was generally regarded as “weak-minded”. Once I saw what was happening and reversed my pattern, taking time to exercise my mind as often as I could, I regained my previous mental capacity (I used to be a ‘A’ student) and was again considered to be intellectually gifted.
The more we do, either physically or mentally, the more we are capable of doing, and the easier it is to do whatever we set out to do. I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s much easier to be happy when Life’s problems are more easily dispatched.
However, this isn’t the main point I want to make here. To be happy, truly happy, it’s important to have a sense of pride about your work.
This isn’t to say that you have to be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. You can be proud of what you do no matter what your job may be. If your job is flipping burgers at the local fast-food restaurant, you could be proud of the fact that you help thousands save valuable time fuelling their bodies so they can focus on more important matters.
If your job is picking up trash, you could be proud of the fact that you serve to keep your city clean, and without you, the city would eventually turn into a garbage dump.
If your job is working on an assembly line in a factory, you could be proud of the fact that you are an integral part of the team that produces whatever product your line manufactures. Obviously, the product serves some valuable purpose, or else no-one would buy it. Look at your job in terms of the value your product conveys to the people who do buy it.
No matter what type of job you have, you can find something about it for which you can be proud. And if not, take it as a sign that it’s time to find a new job. Or to create one for yourself.
One of the great things about feeling good about your job is that it gives you more energy to do better work. And when you do your job better, it tends to lead to other good things, like promotions, pay raises, and a chance to enjoy yourself more. This is truly a case where happiness leads to more happiness.
Choose To Believe In Yourself
The next major step towards being happy every day is to choose to believe in yourself. Most of the time, we’re unhappy because we believe our experience of life is not good, and that we are incapable of improving it.
Think about it. If you believed your current situation was great, you’d be happy, wouldn’t you? And even if your current situation isn’t good, if you believed you could easily improve it, happiness wouldn’t be too far away.
If this isn’t self-evident, then consider what it means to be depressed. Being depressed means that you believe your life situation to be bad with no hope for anything better. Anyone who says differently has something to sell you. A new drug, perhaps?
Here again, I can offer an example from my own life. Many years ago, when it seemed the world was against me and there was no way I could make things better, I felt so depressed, I literally contemplated suicide. Luckily, there was at least a shadow of a belief that things could get better, so I never actually followed through with it. I found my inner motivation again when I started working with the power of belief.
At first, I couldn’t imagine that everything would just magically turn out for the best, so I started with a small belief, a tiny step in a better direction. It’s one I mentioned earlier in this report.
“It’s not as bad as I think it is.”
As I repeated this thought to me over and over again, I started to think about how things could actually be better than I thought they were. Maybe I didn’t see things for what they truly were. Maybe I have misinterpreted what people meant by the things they said and did. Maybe there was an opportunity I wasn’t seeing because I didn’t believe it was there.
My belief in myself started to grow within a matter of moments. And I felt new energy welling up inside me, and a new sense of hope.
The next step was to build on this and take it to a higher level, affirming that I could solve whatever problems were facing me, and that I would indeed come out okay. As surely as the previous affirmation got me out of despair, this line of thinking gave me the motivation to move forward.
I’ve come a long way since then, and these days I tend to use different techniques to shift my beliefs. I also tend to focus on maintaining a sense of immense joy rather than just getting out of a dark hole.
Make A Firm Decision To Be Happy
When it comes right down to it, as Abraham Lincoln once said, “a man is about as happy as he makes up his mind to be.”
Most of the time, shifting yourself into happiness is as easy as making the decision to do so. Other times, you only need to make small adjustments to release the bonds holding your happiness inside.
What makes you feel good? We’ve already talked about taking care of your physical and mental needs, such as getting plenty of rest, exercise, and having pride in your work. There are many other things which can help too.
Things like opening a window to get fresh air, or getting outside to take a walk. Getting plenty of oxygen into your system helps in so many ways.
Music is a great way to shift the energy in your environment, and playing happy music is a great way to create happiness within yourself. Dressing up in good clothes is something that works for many people, as does being well groomed. For many folks, when they look good, they feel good.
Basically, anything that makes you feel good can increase your happiness. I have one final story to tell you about the magic of happiness.
Back when I lived in Kansas City, I had a small job cleaning apartment buildings. Little stuff, like vacuuming floors, washing windows, and sweeping doorsteps. My boss was a very negative person, and for quite a while, there wasn’t a day that went by without him finding something about me or my work to criticize.
Well, one day, I made a firm decision that, no matter what, I was going to be happy that day. If this guy said anything to disrupt my happiness, I would just leave and find another job if I had to. This was during a time when I was testing the power of setting firm intentions.
The result of setting this intention to be happy was that my boss said almost nothing to me all day. I got to work, he showed me what he wanted done, and left me to do it. When lunchtime came around, we got something to eat, ate it in virtual silence, and went back to work. It was one of the quietest days I had on that job.
The next day, I wanted to see if the experiment would work a 2nd time. Again, I set a firm intention to be happy all day long, and if anything happened to threaten my happiness, I would walk away. And once again, my boss didn’t say anything critical or unkind.
After hundreds of such experiments, I can tell you that when you set a firm intention to be happy, the world around you tends to change to support your decision. Sometimes, you are presented with something you have to do in order to create the thing you want, such as reading a new book, or going a different route to work, or whatever else it may be. In these cases, it’s best to just go with the flow, and let the Universe guide you.