10 Ways to Create Happiness – Part 2

6-Accept things as they are – Especially yourself

Self-acceptance can be a profound step towards realizing your happiness. I say realizing your happiness, because it lies inherently within, always waiting for a chance to be brought out.

We all spend a great deal of our time attempting to live up to standards of society. Whether it’s the standards which your parents or friends set for you, we are constantly trying to make others happy. Doing this sets us up to live a life which is not our own. Reclaiming your life is one of the most powerful things you can choose to do, in order to assure your own happiness.

As much effort as you place into making others happy, you will never be able to fulfill all of their expectations. It is up to them to assure their own happiness. So the best thing you can do for them, is to live your life while helping them realize their own inherent beauty.

“Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.” – Salvador Dali

As people we are innately imperfect. We will always contain a vision of what we hope to be, which will exceed what we actually are. There are people out there who have achieved high levels of success but still cannot find satisfaction. Holding yourself to a high standard is good. It becomes a hindrance though, when you compare yourself to an ideal self which you haven’t had time to actualize. Seeing yourself as capable of accomplishing everything you hope to, is healthy for your self-image. We have to realize though that the self that we want to be, may not always be in line with the self that we are. You cannot compare the two. You are perfect even with all of your perceived shortcomings. The self-image begins to suffer when we compare ourselves to an ideal self, or judge our achievements against someone else’s. Recognize this habit when you do it, and cut it from your mental process.

An excellent way to grow the habit of self-acceptance is to practice metta meditation. This meditation is also known as “loving-kindness meditation”. It will allow you to truly accept things as they are, while extending the same compassion to others. This practice will help you build strong personal relationships which is important to living a life full of happiness.

7-Feel your breath.

I mean really FEEL your breath. If you practice meditation then you realize how much importance is placed on breathing. For good reason.

Focusing on the breath does several positive things for us.

  • Switches focus from mental chatter to present awareness
  • Slows you down, removing the sense of being rushed
  • Relaxes the sympathetic nervous system (Which is activated in times of stress)
  • Proper breathing brings more oxygen into your system

When you focus on the breath, your body, your mind and sense of time will come to focus on this single point. Enough cannot be said about the positive effects of focusing on your breath. There are several techniques which can guide you to developing a healthy breathing method. Breathing properly will alleviate some of the stress caused by tense muscles, along with other symptoms caused by misuse of the body.

The body is a structure composed of several finely balanced systems. We use these systems in such harsh ways all throughout the day. This use can take its toll in many forms. By establishing good breathing habits, we can come to notice the balance which needs to be maintained in our body. The balancing effects of proper breathing will extend to balancing the mind and emotions. Regulating emotions will help you become more in tune with a state of happiness, even in times of stress.

8-Listen to some music

Everyone should have a musical selection which lifts their mood. Whether its an old album which reminds you of your youth, or a cutting edge band which gives you a good vibe, choose something that speaks to your soul.

There is a ton of music out there. Just because it’s played on the radio doesn’t mean it’s good. Take some time to get familiar with bands which aren’t found on the pop charts. Try listening to something which you hadn’t considered before. Classical music isn’t strictly for college professors or doctor’s office waiting rooms. At the same time, all Hip-Hop isn’t necessarily strictly for urban youth.

You may be surprised at what really moves you. Inspiring messages can be found in music across cultures. Which is why it’s so important to open yourself up to trying new things.

If you’re really having trouble finding something, just ask a friend who their favorite band is. Hopefully you’ll discover something which is entertaining as well as enlightening.

Recently I’ve been enjoying the genre of ambient music. Ambient music is great for playing in the background while you work because it doesn’t have a vocal track. The laid back instrumentals really help you stay focused while providing an uplifting rhythm to keep you energized. If your interested in something like this, then check out the multitude of stations available on itunes radio. I find that the “Groove Salad” station always seems to play just what I need at the time. To access it, download the itunes player (http://www.apple.com/itunes/); then on the left hand side, under library, you will be able to select “radio”. From there you will see the available genres.

It may take a bit of searching but I’m certain you’ll find something there which suits your needs. Best of luck and happy listening!

9-Doodle

I love to draw. It calms my nerves and clears my mind. Sometimes though it can become frustrating. It only becomes frustrating though, when trying to create something which must live up to a critical judgment. Thats why I recommend doodling. Not only is it great practice for training visual memory, but also, anyone can do it . Chances are pretty good that you doodled through most of your boring classes in school.

Doodling is fantastic, because it allows you to really let go. There is no particular aim with doodling, so there is no judgmental voice. Whether you scratch out a few squiggly lines, or draw a stick figure army, it’s going to release stress.

Doodling can be compared to something like stream-writing. It’s a tool which we can use to access areas of the subconscious. When you doodle with no particular aim, then whatever is on your mind will just jump out onto the paper. Often this happens without you even realizing it.

Just set some time aside and tell yourself that you are not going to focus on anything else but this task. If you are more of a verbal than visual person though, you may prefer stream-writing. Either way, be sure to set about 10 minutes aside for the task. Remind yourself that this is the only thing that is important right now while letting your mind forget about your worries. Then, doodle to your heart’s content.

The more you focus on what you’re doing then the more you will forget about you worries. Have fun, and draw something crazy. How often do you get to exercise your imagination during the work day? This could be just the mental stretch you needed to help you express your inner child.

10-Watch a comedy bit

There are so many great comedy routines out there. Comedy has evolved so much thanks to the work of comics who were not afraid to push their boundaries. There’s no need to listen to comic legends just to get a hearty laugh though. Whether you like lighthearted humor, or a clever play on words, you should be able to find what you are looking for online. Just do a quick search on youtube for your favorite comedian. You might not find the routine you were looking for, but it’s possible that you’ll find material which you never knew existed.

Laughing is a good way to take a mental break. There is a reason that people say laughter is the best medicine. Humor is at the heart of what it means to be alive. When we take life too seriously we become worn out. Humor is a quick way to inject a bit of happiness in your life when you need it most.

There are a few more simple things you can do which I didn’t want to leave off of the list.

Just smile.

Thats right plaster a grin on your face, even if it’s a fake grin, you will make yourself feel better. It’s the nature of our physiology. The body affects the mind and vice versa. When you are feeling bad, what naturally happens? Your face tenses up, you grind your teeth and generally feel worried. By putting a smile on your face, you will instantly ease the tension in your facial muscles.

Sit up straight, and stop hunching.

Again, this has to do with your physiology. When you are in a depressed or worried mood, what do you do? Do you ever find yourself hunched over your computer, while searching for the right answer, and forcing yourself through work? Feel the stress that this causes in your body. There is no way that this physical stress is not causing mental anxiety. Remember how it feels to be confident. You stick your chest out and your head is upright and alert. Remember a time when you felt most confident and focused. Now try to hold your body in the same way you did when you were in that state. Breath confidently, smile confidently, and feel confident. This is a “quick fix” that you should try making into a habit. If you carry yourself in a way that oozes confidence. Then you will begin to act confidently. This confident viewpoint will help erase your worries, allow you to move towards your goals with ease and bring about the happiness that accompanies correct action.

Spend a moment visualizing.

Using your imagination will automatically activate the brain’s higher order processes. By activating visualization circuits within the brain, you are also activating systems which provide feelings of pleasure and reward. These reward systems are nature’s way of helping you move forward. Have you ever felt a “Eureka” moment? It’s a moment when things just click into place. It’s possible for this to happen even when you aren’t actively engaged in solving a problem. This moment can be quite an exciting and rewarding experience. By using your imagination you increase the chances that your mind will provide to you one of these “Eureka” moments. In order to help with this, here is a quick exercise which I recommend practicing for 10 minutes a day.

Visualize yourself living out the future of your dreams. Who would you be socializing with? What type of clothes are you wearing?Are you living in your dream home? Think of questions like this, and allow your mind to create a vivid picture for you. Now once you’ve created this picture act as if it’s already achieved. With enough practice you will begin living out the life you truly desire with ease. If that doesn’t put a smile on your face, then I suggest professional help…seriously.

If you don’t have time to read and apply everything here, do the next best thing and watch this video: Don’t worry be happy!

Binaural Beat shop - enlightened mind brain graphic