Guess what?! August is National Happiness Month, and that means the whole month of August is dedicated to celebrating what makes us happy.
You see, no matter what your age or gender, we all have one desire in common: to be happy. Every choice we make comes from the belief that it will make us happier. However, even though we all want happiness, it can be quite elusive. Few know how to actually get there, let alone experience it on a sustained basis.
College courses on positive psychology have a record of attracting many hundreds of students going as far back as the ‘60’s. This year, the most popular and widely enrolled course in Yale University’s 316-year history is a class on happiness. Based on scientific research, it focuses on behavioral and attitudinal changes and living in the present — all enormously valuable concepts.
How To "Get Happy"
It isn't surprising that the approach to happiness in college courses, or for many people for that matter, is one of working to change behavior based on outer action. However, a better approach toward achieving happiness is through doing your inner work first. This is done by looking within to release the limiting and erroneous beliefs and blocked emotions that bind them.
As children we are trained to be obedient to our parents, teachers and spiritual leaders. As adults, our work is to let go of what we have accepted from outside ourselves that is not in line with who we truly are. From that soul connection, we more confidently present ourselves to the world.
Tips for Creating Happiness
So what are some tips for creating happiness?
Become "soul selfish". Not "selfish" as defined by lacking consideration for others, but "soul selfish" in that you feed your own soul first and then you can reach out to help others.
Ego selfish versus soul selfish. Know the difference.
Ego is a relentlessly driving voice insisting that you need to be, do or have this or that to feel good, loved and valued. It is a separating, comparative and competitive belief system. In contrast, soul selfishness sources from the deepest part of ourselves, the place from which we are all connected. Being in alignment with our souls is the surest way to achieve sustained happiness.
Ask Yourself Some Questions
Sit down someplace comfortable, whether it's on your bed, in the bathtub, or in a lovely location outside. Just make sure it's somewhere that you won't be disturbed. Ask yourself the following questions and listen deeply for the answers.
When am I happiest?
* What really interests me? What draws my attention? Is it singing or creating art? Is it writing or fixing cars? Maybe it's playing on the computer, running marathons, or taking care of animals. What do you love to do?
* What work excites you?
* Who are the people that attract you? Who are the people that you attract? With whom do you feel comfortable and safe in expressing yourself?
* What books do you like to read? What movies do you like to see?
Do you prefer the city or the country, skiing or basking in the sun? What colors do you prefer? Foods do you enjoy? What music turns you on? What hobbies do you choose? The answers to these questions are desires coming from your soul.
Write down your responses or record them. Go beyond the first few automatic ideas to get some deeper ones.
Read over your list. Did anything surprise you? Were there things you hadn't thought of before?
Take control of your mind
Our happiness depends on where we focus our minds. There are always things that we want and things that we don’t want, things that are present and things that are absent. The question is: where do we focus our thoughts? As you focus on what you do want and keep your attention there, new ideas will begin to surface to support you in fulfilling those desires.
Think about what you're grateful for
As you take a moment to look inside with an open heart, ask: "To whom and for what am I grateful? Who offered me kindness today? Who supported me in something I needed or desired? Who contributed to me? Uplifted me? What inspired me? What did I see or hear that touched me?" If none of that happened today, perhaps you can bring back a memory of when it did.
Whether thinking about the past, present or future, your thoughts will create feelings -- think about the ones that make you smile and bring you pleasure. The more you think happy thoughts, the more happiness you will attract.
What I Wish I Knew When I Was in My 20s
Think about how different your life would be if you knew and lived the following principles then. If you didn’t, why not live them now?
For example: I wish I knew that my first and most important relationship is with myself. Not my best friend, not my boyfriend or girlfriend, not the group I hung out with. Not even my parents. I wish I knew that my love for myself would fill me and that I didn’t need to look to others to validate my worth.
I wish I knew that life is an inside-out process and that everything I create and feel starts with what I believe.
I wish I knew that that my emotions are a real and powerful guidance system…..
I wish I knew that when my desires source in my soul they are as important for me to respect as others’ desires.
Where are your thoughts focused this very moment? On what is pleasing you or what is not? On success or failure? On what you have or what you don’t? Whether these thoughts are associated with the past, the present, or imagined in the future, your thoughts create your feelings.
Feel your feelings.
All of us experience a myriad of emotions daily. We easily accept happiness but frequently suppress and store sadness, fear and anger. That accumulation becomes an internal cloud cover, blocking the radiance of our souls. It is ours to take responsibility for these emotions and share them in environments with people we trust. Safely release your burdens with partners, friends, support groups or professional therapists, and allow your souls to shine.
Creating connections feed our souls.
Whether connecting through intimate relationships, friendships or group associations, how much energy do you put into your relationships? We all need to give and receive support and pleasure, and want to feel truly seen, known and appreciated. Authentic connections offer us a huge source of happiness as we enjoy, accept and support each other in growing, taking adventurous new steps.
I’m not saying that creating sustained happiness is easy. There are inner and outer resistances that make the process challenging. Some who are important to you may not like you changing your contracts with them. Fear of the unknown and concern at how you will ever get through your emotional blocks are also deterrents. Yet the rewards are enormous! More than ever there are countless resources to support you on your journey. I hope you will allow me to be one of them.
And remember, August is National Happiness Month, so let's celebrate!
Book by this Author
Soul Selfish: The Awakening of a Good Girl
by Jane Wyker
Jane Wyker’s memoir Soul Selfish shows the way to happiness comes from within instead of looking to others to supply it. Jane remained a ”good girl” into her mid-thirties, bent on pleasing others in the hope of receiving love. This all changed when she embarked on a courageous and passionate inner journey that led her to ownership of her talents, self-reliance and self-love.Through insightful and spiritually uplifting stories, Jane invites us on her passage from “good girl” to empowered woman, as she slays the personal demons that many have yet to confront.Let Jane’s journey inspire the possibility for you to become soul selfish, ever more willing to connect to your truth — your soul.
Click here for more info and/or to order this hardcover book and/or download the Kindle edition.
About the Author
In her memoir, Soul Selfish: The Awakening of a Good Girl, Jane Wyker shares the vast experience of her 46-year inner journey. Working in over a dozen disciplines, she had the courage and faith to follow the guidance of many teachers and, ultimately, her own soul. Now 82, and still learning, she models a life prioritizing happiness that sources from within. A graduate of Cornell University and former elementary school teacher, Jane was a pioneer in parent education. This led her to her Family Counseling practice that dealt with marriage, parenting, self-development, career and loss. She presented seminars in Fortune 500 companies, raised four children, managed a thriving career and pursued her own spiritual growth. Jane saw that when selfish enough to live from her soul, love and wisdom flow. She believes that is true for all of us. http://janewyker.com/
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