7 Days of Happiness

How often have you thought ?I?ll be happy when????..? You can just fill in the blanks with things like: get a better job/earn more money/get a relationship/move house etc. Yet, often when we achieve the thing we desire, we feel better for a short while, and then slip back into our old feeling of wanting more. This is because happiness is not ?out there? in the world but inside our minds. Because happiness is a ?state?, we can create it by using the right triggers. Mostly, this state of happiness is triggered by an external event such as a sunny day, when someone smiles at you or a friend calls and so on. Wouldn?t it be nice if we could have more control over our state of happiness?

To help you cultivate the Happiness Habit, try these simple tasks for one week ? and notice what a difference they make to your state of mind.

1. Smile!

As simple as it sounds, the ordinary act of lifting the corners of your mouth floods your brain with serotonin, a brain chemical that immediately enhances your mood. Try it now. See? Smile at several people today, family, work colleagues, friends and even someone in the bus queue. Notice how it affects your communication with others. They say: ?You get back what you give out?. Enjoy having your smile bounce right back at you! You never know, you could even make someone?s day ? wouldn?t that make you happy!?

2. Get absorbed!

Have you ever noticed that when you become truly absorbed in an activity such as gardening or a creative hobby, that you don?t notice the passage of time and emerge feeling calm and uplifted? When we concentrate our attention on something enjoyable, we set aside our cares and concerns and give ourselves a space in which our mood can lift. Well, maybe it?s time to resurrect a long lost hobby, or do something creative such as create a photo album or rearrange your CD collection. What would grab your attention?

3. Breathe!

Most of us shallow breathe, particularly when we?re anxious. Did you know that 50% of the oxygen we breathe in goes to feed our brain? Breathing more deeply and slowly can really perk up your system, helping you to think more clearly and feel brighter. Place your hands on the bottom of your rib-cage and take a deep breath in. Your hands should noticeably lift with your inhalation. Practice for a few moments several times today until you get a significant movement.

If you?re feeling anxious or nervous, concentrate on your out-breath. Breathe all the air out of your lungs and gently breathe in. Make your exhalation slightly longer than your inhalation and notice how it really calms you down.

4. Music for the Soul!

Have you noticed how certain music changes your mood? What?s your favourite uplifting music? Is there a song that always makes you feel good, no matter what? Music affects our emotions, why not use it to create a better mood? Make a play list of your favourite feel-good music and instead of listening to whatever is on the radio, play your tracks to make you feel uplifted.

5. Take a Mind Trip

What?s the most beautiful, peaceful, enjoyable place you can think of? Maybe it?s somewhere you?ve been on holiday, or a childhood haunt. Or maybe it?s somewhere entirely in your imagination ? the place of your dreams. Take a few moments at home, on the bus or train to imagine your perfect place. See the colours and the light and shadow. Hear the sounds of nature around you. Feel the relaxing atmosphere ? perhaps soaking up the sun or felling a refreshing breeze. Go on ? close your eyes for a moment or two. Feel better? Do this often ? it?s a wonderful way to recharge your batteries.

6. Simple Pleasures

In our consumer society, when Footballers wives and girlfriends and many celebrities state that their favourite pastime is shopping, it?s easy to imagine that money can buy happiness.

Much research has shown that it?s the simple pleasures that bring lasting happiness ? watching bees gather nectar from flowers, taking time to play a game with your children, having a cappuccino in your favourite café or sharing a picnic with your loved ones.

Children naturally know how to do this; they have a way of becoming completely engrossed in the things that, as adults, we take for granted. They love to watch ants go about their business and wonder what they tell each other as they pass in the ant -line. They are completely fascinated when you try to explain how the stars go around the sun.

Take a fresh look at everything you do and see today and experience it as though you are experiencing it for the first time. In actual fact you are! Even your journey to work is different each day. Find the simple pleasures in life everyday.

7. Take Action

If you keep doing the same things, you?ll keep getting the same results. If you want a different result then do something differently. Are you drifting aimlessly through life, following the same routine? If so, it?s time to make a change. Write down some things that you?ve always wanted to do but never got round to doing. Choose a manageable one that you believe you can easily accomplish, now write down all the steps you can take towards achieving it and start today. Pin the list up somewhere you can see it everyday and enjoy a happy glow of achievement as you tick them off one by one.

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