Happiness…it’s more than a feeling. Happiness is not about what we have or what we do, but how we are. We can use happiness to measure the quality of life, “Does this make me happy?” We can also use it as a catalyst for making changes, “What can I do differently to be happier?” Happiness leads to greater overall health. It is a factor in decreased stress and increased resiliency. This means that happiness isn’t just a pleasant feeling, it is actually good for you!
How do you increase your capacity for happiness? Start with gratitude. Being grateful does not mean you ignore the difficulties, the challenges, or the deficiencies. Perhaps there are real and pressing struggles in your life, but if you only focus on them you will probably feel overwhelmed by them. Are there blessings in your life? What are they? How do they impact your life, day-by-day and moment-by-moment? When you start with gratitude you have a “place” to build upon. You can move forward from where you are. You cannot truly increase happiness if you start with a “lack of” mindset.
Gratitude is a practice, not a one-time activity. Try to weave it into your daily life. Contemplate the blessings in your life before getting up in the morning, before eating a meal, or when you arrive at work or home. It might be helpful to look for gratitude in the face of something that, on the surface, is benign or you usually take for granted. With regard to noticing the blessings all around us, Rick Hanson, PhD, says, “These gifts are freely offered; no one can possibly earn them. All we can do is be grateful for these gifts and do what we can in our own little corner of the world to use them well each day.” (from just one thing: developing a Buddha brain one simple practice at a time)
As you bring gratitude more into your life notice if your mindset changes. Do you see personal strengths or opportunities that you did not see before? Do you have more motivation to change something that has been dissatisfying? Do you find more joy or fulfillment in the “ordinary” things of life? Are you able to experience happiness more, and more fully?
If this seems beyond your reach, if there are challenges that are overshadowing any glimmer of happiness, contact THRIVEeap. We can help you rekindle the light.