Happiness -- such an elusive word with a variety of individual definitions. Lately, I have been thinking about my own. Specifically, I find it a frequent thought as I look into further growing my business. Each conversation I have with advisors and trusted friends on the subject has left me with a variety of "shoulds" on how to be successful in this growth (and I know: take caution with "shoulds" as you can end up "should'ing" all over yourself...) Contemplating all this advice has left me overwhelmed with how much work was being suggested. This forced me to stop and think again about what my real goal is and the foundation behind it. The more I processed, the more I felt I was approaching this situation from a place of fear. The fear of not being relevant; fear of not being included; fear of not being seen; and ultimately the fear of not being happy. However, the truth is being happy isn't about being relevant or included -- being happy is about being happy.
We live in this crazy world that teaches us to be happy we must first achieve the status of "enough;" rich enough, smart enough, funny enough... but "enough" is a far-fetched illusion. Happiness is the true launching point.
I am not claiming this is easy; I'm just saying it's the way. The first step begins with accepting "I am happy" as your truth and then continues by implementing and regularly reminding yourself of this truth. Remember too, we are all the same; it's just that some of us are willing to be vulnerable, speak up and share. We are all scared and our fears are shared. Do not ever think you are alone. I am here to let you know that no one escapes fear, doubt and insecurity -- it's just a matter of how you choose to deal with it. I am as guilty of "FOMO" as the next person, I just try to get as real as I can about it. I consistently reality check myself when social media shows me what I've "missed out" on and I find its generally just my ego and not my heart that is bothered. To demonstrate further, I am financially secure, happily married to an amazing man, have a great family, the world's best friends, my health, a successful business and I too struggle with maintaining happiness as my truth. I have to work at it every day just like everyone else, because none of those things can make you really happy. Only you make you happy by choosing to be so.
I trust in the truth that I am where I am supposed to be. I've discovered the more honest you get with yourself and those around you, the more authentic your life becomes and the clearer your vision gets. And even then the happiness choice is still work! But it is such rewarding work; so remember, anything is possible when you set your mind to it. As I sit and type this, I feel excited to continue on the path of choosing happiness with the sincere hope that my journey will inspire and elevate others in kind.
FOR A QUICK JOLT OF HAPPINESS TRY ONE OR MORE OF THE FOLLOWING:
1. Exercise -- boosts the "feel good" brain chemicals like serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, which may help buffer some of the effects of stress. It's even one of the most effective prevention and treatment strategies for depression.
2. Fresh Flowers -- People who looked at flowers first thing in the morning reported feeling happier and more energetic.
3. Think Happy and Smile -- Simply thinking about a positive event, and smiling as a result, can make you happier and more upbeat.
4. Go Outside -- Exposure to bright outdoor light is crucial for a positive mood, in part because regular exposure to sunlight will help to enhance your mood and energy through the release of endorphins.
5. Meditate -- Meditation is a great tool to optimize mental health -- super helpful for stress relief and gaining greater self-awareness.
6. Play With Your Pet -- Couples who own pets are less stressed by conflicts and recover quicker when conflicts occur. Pet-owning couples also report more signs of happiness and sociability than non pet-owning couples.
7. Listen to Music -- Music triggers activity in a part of your brain that releases dopamine and is involved in forming expectations. One study found listening to music even resulted in less anxiety and lower cortisol levels among patients about to undergo surgery than did taking anti-anxiety drugs.
8. Eat Dark Chocolate -- Like exercise, chocolate may trigger your brain to produce the "bliss compound" anandamide. Chocolate has even been referred to as "the new anti-anxiety drug."
9. Get or Give a Hug -- Hugging is known to lower levels of stress hormones like cortisol. Hugging also activates a part of your brain, which is linked to feelings of reward and compassion.