I think my main message through writing this blog is to bring home the idea that habits are the key to happiness. It’s often something we hear over and over again especially if we’re trying so hard to find and create that sense of ease and happiness in our lives. But sometimes in our frustration it can land on deaf ears or these habits start to become so cliché.
Starting the intention to change can be the hardest step. We’re comfortable in our routine habits, mindsets and beliefs yet we rarely see the connection between each one. Each one is feeding the other and so creating our lives.
It really is starting with little habit changes and realising how we’re choosing to show up in the world through the way we think.
This week I thought I’d post a Lifehack article I wrote a while ago highlighting the common negative thinking we’ve been conditioning ourselves towards and the need to drop them 🙂
The language we choose to use is a really good indication of where our mindsets are. Many of us believe we’re a positive person but is that reflected in what you say to others or how you talk about yourself?
It’s really important to be mindful of what we say as most of the time we aren’t fully aware of how we come across or the beliefs we put forward. It can sometimes be very subtle but the one we can probably all relate to is complaining. Do you complain a lot? Why? Question yourself, why do you have this belief? Is it limiting?
You may have heard about the rainy day analogy. A rainy day can mean something completely different to two different people depending on their perspective yet they’re still experiencing the same thing. What this shows is that we have a choice. If you find yourself complaining about a rainy day, can you see a different perspective? Can you think more about the plants that need the rain or be appreciative of your warm, waterproof clothing instead of cursing the possibility of the rain ruining your day?
And what about the negative language we use with ourselves? We often say things to ourselves that we’d never say to a friend and yet we are more willing to talk negatively or berate our being. We think it’s harmless. It’s habitual. We may not even realise we’re doing it. But over time it becomes extremely detrimental to our happiness. After all, if we’re not able to show love to ourselves then no one else truly will.
When you describe yourself to someone are you putting yourself down a lot or building yourself up positively? Be mindful next time you’re in conversation with someone – it may surprise you.
Do you tell yourself you’re a failure, not good enough or not worthy enough? Or do you tell yourself you’re successful, lovable, kind and lovely? To a lot of us this feels unnatural because we’re led to believe it’s egotistical and that we shouldn’t think highly of ourselves. But our self-beliefs shape our thoughts and how we move through the world. Therefore, it’s logical that thinking negatively about ourselves will ultimately affect our happiness levels.
Remember, what we think is a choice. Positive thoughts and words bring more of the same into our lives and the same goes with negative thoughts and words. It’s up to you which side of the spectrum you want to lean towards.
If you speak negatively about things, positive people will naturally be repelled from you while negative people will be drawn to you. Which would you prefer?
It’s all about awareness and intent. Most of us really aren’t aware of the things we say because we’re so used to thinking negatively about ourselves. These negative beliefs may have come from past experiences or what our parents or peers said to us but they are untrue. For everyone.
Start noticing your level of self-love and the way you look at the world through the daily language you use. Let it be an indicator of where you’re at. This will be a powerful start in turning your awareness towards more positive words and therefore experiences in your life 🙂
Life is full of challenges and each one of us deals with them in our own way. The majority of us can get hit to the ground and find it hard to pick ourselves up. The idea of happiness can feel a lifetime away during these times so is there a better way of looking and responding to challenges that could get us back on track more quickly?
Challenges allow us to grow and expand. There are some that make us feel unlucky, hard done by or dejected, but ultimately every challenge is there to help us grow positively in some way. It could be happening in order to get something out of our way, to make us realise something that we can apply to the rest of our lives moving forward, it could be to move us to new circumstances with new people. Whatever it is, there’s usually a purpose within it that isn’t clear to us in the moment.
What purpose are you giving to your current challenge?
The challenge you’re facing is neutral. As humans, we have a need to give everything a meaning – and it’s either a positive charge or a negative charge. Our challenges inherently cause us to focus on the negative so we choose to think we’re being punished or not worthy or beat ourselves up for making a ‘wrong decision’.
So the purpose we give that challenge penetrates us on a deep emotional level.
It can shape our beliefs about ourselves and the world around us in a negative way.
So what can we do differently? Ideally you can shift the way you look at a certain challenge in your life to a more positive one and start to question why you think it’s happening. Training the way we look at challenges helps the brain see beyond the short term negative impact challenges can seem to have. Just like our muscles need tension and stress to grow, so does our human spirit and the challenges that we face are opportunities for us to expand and learn.
Changing your perspective
What we focus on the most is what we’ll see the most. This is why it’s so important to choose to see the good in something rather than the bad. Believe it or not, there’s good in everything but for a lot of us (especially when we’re slap bang in the middle of it) it can be hard to hear.
Instead of asking why is this happening to me? or what have I done to deserve this? Ask yourself what is this showing me?How can I grow from this experience? It’s important to anchor yourself and believe there must be some good in this situation even if it’s hard to see in the moment. How many times have you gone through something that felt so awful at the time but with hindsight you realise the message, growth and positivity that came out of it? Choose to try to feel this ‘hindsight’ even before you figure out its ultimate meaning in your life. This will create an inner strength.
By doing this in any challenge you face, you’re connecting to the inner strength that is found in every one of us and is the foundation to the way we forge through life.
You will learn to move through the challenge with more self-empowerment knowing that everything is happening for good. We all have a choice on how much charge and emotion we put into seemingly negative situations so choose the positive. Happiness isn’t always a constant but it’s always there waiting for us to choose it. Train yourself in allowing the idea that the world we live in isn’t as negative as it appears to be and your challenge is ultimately there to serve you.
If anything, this can give you a little sense of relief and open up the crack of hopefulness which is the start of getting back on track 🙂
The new year often brings the idea of new beginnings. We set big goals for ourselves and strive to become a better, more rounded person. Maybe your goal is to lose weight, finding that special someone, get married and have kids, finally working hard towards your dream career.
But while these big life-changing goals may seem the epitome of happiness when they do happen, it’ll mean nothing if we haven’t first learnt to ‘be’.
New Year’s resolutions tend to centre around action. What can we do to change our lives? What actions do we need to take in order to achieve them? Even if we manage to keep going through the year and attain a big life goal, the danger is that we soon realise the happiness it brings is very short-lived. We suddenly realise that we relied on these goals for happiness but they themselves can’t fully provide it for us – in other words it’s very conditional living.
True happiness comes within ourselves and learning to live in the now.
It’s learning to just ‘be’ in the moment but many of us find it hard to grasp this concept only because we’ve learnt that happiness comes in the form of achieving things. We can’t quite appreciate the beauty and magic of quietening our mind from all the chatter and be happy with our current surroundings and where we are.
So whether it’s through meditation, being more intentional with gratitude and appreciation, taking a walk and really taking in the world around you, observing your thoughts or questioning your reactions and emotions to things, make your new year’s intention to have a ‘to-be’ list rather than a ‘to-do’ list.
This doesn’t mean letting go of your big life goals but rather gently set an intention alongside these to appreciate where you are now and being okay with it. The power in this will be apparent when the big stuff eventually happens and all the feelings of happiness that comes with them won’t be short-lived but instead content and constant 🙂