Our thoughts and perspectives shape us. The personal stories that we create about who we are and how we got here are what make us the people we are. Happiness is the same. It is not a result of circumstances but of a mindset, a piece of our identity that must be cultivated so that it lives within us, no matter what comes our way. Everyone is on a journey to happiness, but it’s time to realize that everything we need is within us. It’s not about looking for something but tapping into what already exists within us, and stripping away the things that hold us back from true happiness. Here are some ways to do that.
1. Train your brain
Our thoughts create grooves in our brains that become the building blocks for our habits and personalities. Every thought we have creates matter and over time the thoughts that we nurture become our identity. So, to change our outer circumstances we must first change our inner circumstances by cultivating healthy thoughts, even if we don’t believe them at first.
This means having healthy self talk, being positive, assuring, loving and kind in your head in every situation. First, you must become aware of your thought patterns, and then consciously make the effort to create different thoughts. Practicing gratitude is one of the best ways we can do this, as it makes us focus on the little things that matter, like a thank you note from your boss, instead of the things that don’t, like that idiot talking way too loud in the gym.
2. Know that getting what you want doesn’t always necessarily make things better
We all have goals. Get a promotion, save more money, take a trip, find a new lover, whatever. Goals are great because they give us a clear vision of what we want so that we can create a way to get there. It’s important to remember, however, that the achievement of our goals comes with issues of their own, and that they won’t ultimately change our level of happiness. This is because as humans we look to the next big thing as soon as we get what we want. Ie you get your promotion, which involves learning a new skill that you haven’t had to work on yet. Or, you meet someone amazing you have a real connection with, and then you start wondering when they’ll tell you they love you.
We are constantly evolving, changing, growing. The only way to ensure happiness is to commit to it now, and not look to the future for it. No matter what the circumstance, to resolve to be happy so that you know that when things change, for better or for worse, you’ll still be happy.
3. Do things that are good for yourself
Call an old friend, join a sports team, ride a rollercoaster. We have these rigid ideals of what constitutes being a good human, and they usually involve lots of stress and very little self-nurturing. Being gentle on ourselves and doing something every day that makes us feel whole and happy is the best thing we can do for ourselves. It makes us more sincere human beings capable of focusing on the needs of others because we first value the needs of ourselves. Have fun, be lighthearted, and do what makes you feel good, because that’s the only way to be happy all the time.