March 20 is International Happiness Day and it is also International Ravioli Day! Interestingly, eating more ravioli makes me even happier!
In my coaching work these last 27 years, I have been teaching that happiness is a choice. It sounds so simple, however, our limiting beliefs or mindsets can block that simplicity. When we realize that the challenges of any day are just a parts of life, not a hindrance, we can more easily choose to be happy.
If the choosing is difficult, find a coach who can help you explore those hindrances. Sometimes we believe we need to be unhappy to motivate or punish ourselves. We can dissolve that belief, once we know it is not serving us anymore. I’m not saying it is easy or it’s hard. It is a truth to reckon with. Create the habit of practicing to be in the moment and choose happiness. If that does not work, I would be happy to help through my Option Method Coaching.
In the meantime, here are 7 steps you can take right now to celebrate International Day of Happiness every day!
7 Steps to Expand Your Happiness begins with practice:
1. Take more time in your social relationships.
2. Worry less about things and more about experiences.
3. Consciously find ways to feel joy, to smile and laugh. Find moments to belly laugh. Watch comedy and funny movies to jump start this one!
4. Stay in the moment. As Professor Dan Gilbert states, ‘Whatever you are doing, even if in stressful traffic, be there. People are less happy when they are ‘mind wandering’. When our minds wander, we often think of less happy things. 47% of the time people are thinking of something other than what they are doing. Simply start the practice of ‘noticing’ when your mind wanders, then come back to the moment.’
5. Slow down. Shift to more simple activities whenever possible.
6. Write down your gratitudes often. Brother David Steindal-Rast encourages us ‘to become aware that every moment is a gift. We cannot be assured that another moment will be given to us. Grateful not FOR everything such as war, but be grateful in every given moment. We can find a method to be grateful in these three words: Stop. Look. Go. We open our hearts to opportunities and go with it. When we’re grateful we are not fearful. If we’re not fearful, we are not violent. If we’re grateful, we’ll enjoy the differences between people and are respectful. A grateful world is a world of joyful people. Gratefulness makes us happy.’
7. Add your positive experiences to your diary. One 2006 study found that people who wrote down their positive experiences in a diary reported greater feelings of life satisfaction, and the effect lasted for up to two weeks afterwards.
There is no secret to happiness, just as there is no secret to losing weight, but I hope these steps get you started in creating and choosing more happiness in your life!
You are welcome to reprint, copy, or distribute Lenora Boyle’s article, provided the above author credit is included.