How we feel, act and think are all related to habits that are ingrained in our subconscious mind. The more we focus on something and dwell on a situation whether in a positive or negative frame will become our reality.
Breaking any bad habit takes willpower and a retraining of our thought patterns.
One person’s situation in life could make them feel and act like they are unhappy, whereas another person in the same circumstances could have a totally different perspective and be grateful for what they have.
It is all a matter of perspective and has been scientifically proven that positive thinking is linked to a longer and healthier lifespan.
A 2019 study found that being positive and practicing gratitude can result in an 11 -15% longer lifespan and a stronger likelihood of living to age 85 or older. This effect remained after other factors including age, income, gender and health status were controlled.
How to choose happiness over discontent
Everything in life is a choice. This includes how you view a situation in life. We all go through difficult cycles. This is what life is; a constant ebb of ups and downs. It is not what we go through that affects us as much as our reaction to it. By refusing to dwell on the negative and choosing happiness over negativity we can improve all aspects of our life. When we are children we are told things that we can take on as facts, such as the sky is blue or you are a clever child, or a bad one or hopeless or beautiful or ugly. The more times we hear and repeat what we view as a belief the more it becomes submerged in our subconscious and we then accept it as a fact and act accordingly.
Every time we repeat a negative viewpoint or complain about a sickness or put ourselves down we again reinforce a negative belief that gets stronger each time we do it until that becomes our reality.
However there are ways we can break these cycles of negativity and choose to be happy. And the more we start reinforcing good habits the easier it will become until we lose the negativity which holds us back in life and stops us from reaching our full potential of being happy by seeing the good and not always the bad.
8 Ways to be Happy and stay Happy
1. Start watching and monitoring all of your thoughts and words
Use discipline to turn previous negative talk and thoughts into positive. We have all been around negative complainers before and it is draining to be around toxic energy. This is what we give off when we continually whine about things and then spend hours thinking about them. The best way to confront problematic issues in our lives that we all have is to not speak about them, to not think about them and therefore not give them power. The more we think and talk about something good or bad the more we will attract it and make what we can consider an already bad situation worse. Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of something in your life, focus instead on the opposite of what it would be and what you would like to happen. Change your thoughts and words to change your life and your situations.
2. Be grateful for what you have got
When we choose to be grateful for what we already have we will automatically attract more good things into our life. Keep a gratitude journal and everyday write down three to five things you are grateful for in your life. Sometimes complaining in our lives has become so ingrained that we forget what we DO have.
3. Spend time with other positive people
You are a direct mirror to the people you have in your life. If you surround yourself with negative, complaining people this is what you yourself will reflect to them. When we spend time with optimists, we feel uplifted, happy and supported. Negative people just magnify the way we can feel about things. Misery loves company but it will not lead to happiness and contentment. Take note of how you feel when you are around others. Try to limit time with those that drain you of energy and diminish your positive energy.
4. Practice Meditation
Mindfulness meditation is a way to calm the mind, enrich your health, ease pain and promote happiness. Twice a day for 20 minutes sit and close your eyes and repeat a positive phrase. Regular meditation can increase levels of feel-good chemicals in the body including endorphins and serotonin. A Swedish study found that practicing mindfulness was “strongly related” to a positive state of mind and feelings of happiness.
5. Regularly Exercise
Exercise is good for your body but it is also essential for your mind. Partaking in regular exercise helps to reduce stress, anxiety and symptoms of depression which are all negative and instead boosts self esteem and happiness. Aerobic exercise where you exert yourself is recommended at least three times a week to increase feelings of positivity and enhance happiness levels.
6. Don’t judge yourselves or others harshly
We all make mistakes in life as we are all human and we never know what anyone else has gone through. Stop beating yourself up about a past mistake or choice you made which you believe was detrimental. It is in the past! It can not be changed no matter how much you talk or think about it. The same goes for the acts of other people. It can not be altered. We must move forward and let go of perceived issues from the past to be happy. Again stop giving old issues energy that are holding you back. Look forward and see whatever has occurred in your life as a stepping stone to get you to where you are now.
Be aware of how you breathe. When we are feeling negative and tense our breathing tends to get shallower. The next time you feel stressed about something, slow down and take long breaths in through your nose and out through your nose or mouth. This will slow your mind and body down and allow you to think and react clearly to a situation without blowing it out of proportion.
8. Turn off your phone
Do not be a slave to your phone. So many people today are addicted to social media which provides non stop, banal stimulation which studies have shown make us unhappy. Just take some time to be. Set healthy time boundaries on the time you will be online everyday and stick to them. We have become so used to being “on” 24 hours a day that we have forgotten what it is like to live in the moment. Many people have reported feeling happier more content and having more time to do the things they love when they have ditched the constant demands of social media. If you are not ready yet to denounce the digital world, cut back and try having one day a week where you stay totally offline.
Being happy is attainable no matter what your situation. The choice is yours. Start focusing on what you have and not what you don’t and bring your words and thoughts in line with this. Happiness is when what you think, what you say and what you do are in harmony. Start now. Life is too short to not be happy.