By S. Alease Ferguson, Ph.D., LPCC
Happiness is about feeling excellent and self-satisfied in you own skin, deliciously pleased with yourself and your life. Happiness is that one element of life that we all want, but we may not be paying enough attention to our own happiness. Getting to our happy place and that perfect state of peace, balance, and serenity takes lots of effort. To get there you need to make a conscious effort to begin the journey.
Taking Steps to Create Positive Habit Patterns
We are often looking outside of ourselves to be gifted or receive happiness from others — like our perfect mate or our perfect job, but it is really about getting into the zone of feeling good about ourselves and our lives because our happiness is all up to us. It is easy to get caught up with making our lives work in the realms of family, work, finances and not so much when it comes to knowing way down deep what really makes us happy. According to James Clear, “On average, it takes more than 2 months before a new behavior becomes automatic — 66 days to be exact. And how long it takes a new habit to form can vary widely depending on the behavior, the person, and the circumstances.” The Lally study suggests that it took anywhere from 18 days to 254 days for people to form a new habit. How Long Does it Take to Form a Habit? Backed by Science. (jamesclear.com)
Building Up Your Happiness Muscles
At any rate, change the channel on what is holding you back. Try to:
- Have a good belly laugh at least once a day. Find new ways to keep yourself smiling and laughing. Watch a comedy show a day. Buy a joke-a-day or a riddle-a-day calendar or visit the internet to find your favorite cartoons.
- Start a gratitude journal. Give thanks for all the good things in your life. Ask yourself, am I an asset and a value-added to my family, my workplace, my circle of friends and my community? Write down 5 to 10 things you are grateful for every day.
- Keep a log of your mental chatter, both positive and negative, for 10 days. Eliminate negative mental chatter from your life. Take stock of the sad memories and negative emotions that enter your mind throughout the day. Become aware of your feelings and be truthful with yourself, but begin feeding yourself more positive self-talk. Take inventory of:
- How many times do you beat yourself up in a day?
- Recollections of cruel things said to you or feelings of inadequacy.
- Count the number of critical or judgmental thoughts you think about others daily.
- Count the many positive thoughts you have during the day.
- Make a list of ordinary day-to-day tasks you engage in during your work-a-day life. Do something different every day. https://daringtolivefully.com/improve-your-life Your list can include things such as the following:
- Commit radical acts of self-love. You can only love others as much as you love yourself. Rest and eat well, take bubble baths, get massages, manicures, or pedicures. Take a trip or have a personal retreat. Treat yourself to something beautiful or delicious to eat.
- Choose your freedom, rest, meditate, pray, regularly go out into nature, and strengthen your faith! Ask yourself, what privileges do I need to pursue?
- Eat something different for breakfast every day. Allow yourself to have variety. Instead of always eating bacon and eggs, try oatmeal and fruit. If you do not eat breakfast, try having a meal that breaks the fast.
- Be spontaneous and try new things.
- Do not always do everything at the same time on the same day as a matter of routine. Add variety by altering the laundry or what you cook when. Have your wine and cheese Wednesdays on Saturdays, or instead of eating fried fish on Fridays, switch up and have fish on some other day of the week. Avoid getting stuck in a rut.
- Take the time to sit down, read a novel by your favorite author for a few minutes each day until done, or sit quietly, and listen to music each day.