I’m not sure why, but most people are reluctant to admit they would like to increase their overall happiness. Maybe it’s because in doing so, one also has to confront the fact that they aren’t as happy as they would like to be – a vulnerable admission. It could also be that they don’t know how. An unfortunate truth, today’s society is less than equipped at helping people to cultivate this much sought after human emotion. Let’s face it, who wants to sit in meditation for 30 minutes a day when you can just as easily go out and buy a new wardrobe and get a haircut to feel better about yourself…at least in the short term.
Erica Sofrina recently published this Care 2 post on happiness, highlighting just how “in control” we are when it comes to increasing our own. Most powerful about Sofrina’s article is that her happiness-building suggestions are focused on harnessing that internal relationship with self, rather than acquiring the latest trend in sunglass fashion. Her 5 tips on cultivating happiness are below:
Five things you can do that will increase your Happiness:
1- Keep a gratitude journal – Each night, write down three things you’re grateful for from that day. They can be simple gifts and appreciations of the day or big meaningful events that occurred. As you go to sleep, go over the three gratitudes in your mind, taking in the good feelings associated with those you expressed.
2 - Do something that stirs your creative juices, without letting the inner critic stop you from enjoying the process. Read or write a poem. Sing, draw or paint. Dance to your favorite music or new music. Try something you haven’t done before. Be wild and spontaneous!
3 – Write down 10 things that bring you joy. Commit to experiencing more of them every week. Make a “joy” date with yourself or someone else, doing one or more of the things on your list. Do this without judging yourself.
4 - Spend time in nature every week. Be present with the beauty of what you see, hear, smell and sense. Breathe it in. Later bring in the memory and experience of this place. Savor it. Use it as a resource for renewal anytime you need it. ( Read more: Your Personal Nature Meditation, , The Healing Benefits of Walking Barefoot, The Healing Benefits of Hugging a Tree)
5 – Practice Self-Compassion by doing this loving-kindness meditation: Find a quiet place to sit or lay down in a comfortable position. Close your eyes. Notice what’s going on in your body, mind and emotions, being with the way things are without judgment and without trying to change anything. Notice any sounds or sensations. Breathe slowly and deeply into your heart. Say these words to yourself: May I be peaceful. May I be well. May I be safe. May I be happy. May I be kind to myself. Take a couple more breaths. Then open your eyes slowly, noting your experience.
Read more from Sofrina on using meditation and other inspiring activities to increase your happiness here.