Limiting Negative Language to Achieve More Happiness in Your Life

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How often do you really listen to what you say?

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 🙂

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Happiness in 2018: Set the Intention to Just ‘Be’

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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 🙂

Happy New Year! 🙂

The Importance of Combining Exercise with Mindfulness

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Mindfulness is an important part of our happiness journey. Not only does it help us to focus on what’s going on around us, but through exercise it can encourage us to listen to our body. Other than meditation, when was the last time you focused on how your body feels? Usually this only happens when we’re in pain and the pain is drawing attention to what our body is saying to us. But it’s equally important to listen to our body when we’re feeling pain-free and complete.

Exercise presents a great opportunity to practice being mindful and embrace the moment. Many of us have an exercise regime in order to keep up our positive physical health, many of us don’t exercise at all because we have a belief that exercise isn’t for us. So in either case the act of exercising never becomes synonymous with really being in the present moment but rather a means to an end or something we want to avoid.

However, mindfulness helps us connect with our bodies in the present moment when we exercise because exercise creates physical changes we can pay attention to. Sports like running and swimming are good for focusing on the breath because you’re more aware of it than usual. Your movements are more exaggerated which gives another important focal point for the mind.

Even when we’re struggling with exercise and want the session to be over we can realise that experiencing these thoughts and these hard moments and knowing it will pass is what mindfulness is all about. It can make you realise that you should make the most of this present moment which is the basis of meditation – to observe your thoughts rather than get overwhelmed by them and focus on the breath or the sensations and movements of the body.

Of course, by doing this you are actually training your mind to cope better with every day life and anything that it throws at you allowing you to be more open-minded about what you can achieve. Being more mindful during exercise, for example, allows you to think more about how far to push your body and know when to ease up helping you experience exercise in a more fun and rewarding way.

I do a lot of swimming and I find swimming length after length gives me a wonderful opportunity to focus on the movements of my whole body and the feel of the water flowing past me. I also find that by doing this, I naturally start feeling gratitude that my body is capable of making these movements over and over again and that I’m able to easily enjoy each moment.

So don’t always think of exercise as a means to an end. All forms of exercise will keep a healthy, happy mind and body but take it a step further and really embrace the present moment whether you’re really feeling the flow or finding it a struggle. Focus your mind on the breath and the movements to really take full advantage of your exercise experience 🙂

 

How To Create Happiness Through Writing Stuff Down

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There’s immense power in writing things down. It’s very easy to think about our hopes and dreams, or positive and negative emotions but in the act of writing them down, our brain is forced to process the feelings more intentionally. It’s this process that can generate a type of therapy or create a sense of excitement within us that helps towards that all-important happiness.

There are several ways the power of writing things down can increase our happiness.

Keeping a Gratitude Journal – The combination of writing and feeling gratitude is extremely powerful. The act of doing this allows us to think back through our day in a positive way. Our brains are wired to look for the negative in order to survive and keep us safe so we need to make that extra effort to think about the positive aspects. Physically writing our blessings down means you’re able to look back over what you’ve written and further make you realise the wonderful things currently in your life. So each night write out the best thing that happened to you that day (even if it’s as simple as a free coffee or a smile from a stranger!) and then list out 10 more things you were grateful for happening. Keep this up and you will feel it getting easier and easier to find things to be grateful for 🙂

Lists – We can often feel overwhelmed with the amount of things we need to do each day so writing these tasks down is a wonderful way of organising them in our mind. Crossing each one off helps the feeling of productivity and raises your feel-good worthy vibes.

Writing Out Affirmations – Each morning get out a pen and paper and write out a few meaningful affirmations and use them as your mantras throughout the day: I am worthy, I am loved, I am a successful person, I am capable of anything! Keep them in your wallet, write them on your mirror, or stick them on a post-it note to act as reminders. Take the time to really think about what you need to hear from yourself – it may feel corny as you write them out, but they feed you that little bit of positive reinforcement throughout your day and slowly creates a more positive mindset from within rather than validation from other people.

Keep a Daily Journal – You might associate journals with teenage girls but journal-keeping has come a long way since the 80s! Writing down how you feel is a good therapy session. If it’s negative it can help get it in the open because physically writing it out and re-reading can give you further perspective on the subject. It allows you to really reflect on why you feel that way and find a way to change it. You can also just use a journal to set out your positive intentions for the day and helps keep tabs on your productivity keeping you aligned with your daily, weekly, monthly and yearly goals. I personally use The Daily Greatness Journal but even just getting a plain notebook and doing it ad hoc is still very powerful.

Writing things down helps with awareness. Most of the time we’re on autopilot and don’t structure our daily routines. This means we aren’t always being mindful of how we live our lives. By writing things down, we can start to understand how we think, why we think the things we do, challenge these perspectives, know ourselves better and see the world in a more positive light. So get out that pen and paper and harness the power of writing things out 🙂

 

 

10 Things Dogs Can Teach Us About Happiness

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There’s a lot that man’s best friend can teach us. Not only are they loyal companions but they have the ability to be mindful in the moment. This means less overthinking, less negative emotions and more appreciation for the world around them.

Here are 10 things we can learn from our canine companions!

  1. Enjoy the Present Moment. Dog’s are simple creatures which is probably the main secret to living a happy life. They’re able to focus on one thing at a time and enjoy it whether it’s a nap, eating their dinner or their morning walk. They can go from sleeping one minute to barking at the postman the next showing the ability to let go and move on from each moment and being present in each one of them.
  2. Don’t Hold Grudges and Love Unconditionally. As humans, it’s easy to hold grudges and judge others for their actions but this only comes from our fragile ego. Dogs, however, even when they’re left for a few hours, don’t hold it against you. Instead they’re more focused on being happy to be reunited with wagging tail and nothing but love.
  3. Celebrate Success. Acknowledging our successes is really important to leading a happy life and dogs do this all the time. Doing what their owner tells them to and getting a treat for it is their way of celebrating a positive success.
  4. Be Excited About the Little Things As Much As The Big Things. A walk, a new person, a bit of chicken, seeing you come home, a different smell – it’s an endless attitude of gratitude in a dog’s mind. Being thankful and finding the wonder in the small things is what happiness is all about.
  5. Trust. Dogs put their entire trust and faith in us to look after them and they do it with endless love. There’s no doubt or judgement in our capabilities which is something many of us struggle to do with each other. Having a little more faith in others builds a better connection and less resentment in relationships.
  6. They Show Themselves Compassion. When dogs are tired they’ll sleep. This may seem obvious but how many of us will work ourselves to exhaustion not looking after our health and minds. Dogs know what’s best for them and they do it because they instinctively rarely go against their needs for optimum survival.
  7. Don’t Judge Others. It doesn’t matter who you are, what your skin colour is, your religion or what job you have (unless maybe you’re a vet!) a dog doesn’t care or judge. They see everyone as the same. Dogs feed off peoples’ energy just like us but humans sometimes let preconceived ideas get in the way too. We all need to be more like a dog and be more accepting.
  8. Mindfulness. Dogs are so in tune to everything around them whether it’s a leaf falling or a squirrel running across the garden. They are aware and mindful of what’s going on and usually without the overthinking and hundreds of distractions we have. Mindfulness is another important key to being present in the moment and appreciating one thing at a time.
  9. They Enjoy The Journey. We’ve all been told happiness is the journey not the destination and dogs are a great example of this. They don’t tell themselves that they’ll be happy once they get to the park. They are enjoying the car ride there, the getting ready to go, the anticipation of knowing the park will eventually turn up. They enjoy each moment right up until they see that park through the car window. This is what a happy life is all about.
  10. Don’t Take Things So Seriously. Dogs live like every day is their last. They will have fun, spend hours playing with a stick or an old tennis ball – they aren’t worrying about what they’ll be doing tomorrow. Fun is the aim of their life.

We can’t all live a dog’s life but we can learn from how they choose to perceive the world around them and inject more of these principles into our attitude and daily habits. Next time you see a dog, let it be a reminder to you to be more like them!

The 7 Deadly Happiness Sins: What We Should Avoid

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I was a bit hesitant on writing a post about the things people do wrong when it comes to happiness – I’d rather write about the mindsets and perspectives we should adopt to live a happier life – but I think sometimes it can be easier to spot what we aren’t quite doing rather than be told what we should be doing! 🙂

As humans, we can sometimes get into habits that we pick up from an early age or we can be easily influenced by what our parents think or thought, what society thinks or just general opinions that people we come across have.

1. Devaluing happiness

There’re so many articles about how to be happy that a lot of it has become quite cliché. We can roll our eyes and dismiss it all. But in doing this we can devalue the potential of creating happiness in our lives. Our ideas of happiness can be misunderstood – happiness comes in the form of the big achievements rather than in the walk to work or the conversation we had with the postman or neighbour. By doing this, we’re never really that happy and we devalue happiness in the process. Never find yourself in a position where you feel happiness is overrated and you should just accept the crap going on in your life. This will just keep you from experiencing the joy of happiness altogether.

2. The need to be superior to others

How many times have you argued with someone and you have the overwhelming urge to be right. You absolutely have to prove that they’re wrong! This comes from a place of superiority. Accept that everyone essentially thinks they’re right. Accept that what you think isn’t ‘better’ than someone else. Everyone has different perspectives based on their life experiences – let it go. Recognising that trying to prove your point is essentially, well, pointless! It only generates feelings of frustration and lessens your happiness.

3. The need to be loved

We all want to be loved but the problem comes when we feel we need to be loved. This indicates a lack of self-love within ourselves because if we truly think we’re awesome there is no need to be loved because you already feel it. If you feel this need to be loved you may want to look at possible low self-worth issues or the idea that you’re not enough unless you’re loved by people. Happiness comes from within and this starts with the love you have for yourself.

4. Being overly controlling

The need to control, again, comes from a lack of self-worth. You feel that things must be a certain way for you to be happy. But true happiness comes when you release control and be happy with whatever the outcome will be. Once you do this you instantly feel more at peace and realise by controlling outside factors you were actually restricting your own ability to be happy.

5. Lack of trust in others

We do live in a untrusting society but this doesn’t mean we have to buy into being untrusting ourselves. The majority of people are honest and sincere at their core. Believing otherwise stops you from experiencing that trust and also stops the other person experiencing being trusted. It’s a wonderful feeling to choose to believe you can rely on other people to do something without worrying. Learn to trust and your happiness will grow.

6. Lack of trust in life

Faith is massive when it comes to happiness and by ‘faith’ I’m not necessarily talking in a religious sense. Trusting the direction of your life and believing whatever happens is for your higher good in the long run will give you that sense of peace that comes with being happy. The problem comes when we spend precious time worrying that our life isn’t how it should be or we must be doing something wrong every time something ‘seemingly’ goes bad. Relax and trust it’s ultimately all good.

7. Ignoring your inner-energy

We are extremely powerful beings. Our thoughts shape our beliefs which, in turn, shape our lives. We have the ability to change how we think. We have the ability to change our beliefs and our mindsets. We have gut feelings that steer us in the right direction if only we wouldn’t ignore them. Dismissing our inner-energy and walking around disconnected with it, is a sure-fire way to know you’re not reaching your full happiness potential. Meditating even for a few minutes a day can help you connect with your own unlimited supply of happiness. Everything you need to be happy is found within you.

 

 

Why Feeling Sorry For Yourself Is So Destructive For Your Happiness

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Life is full of ups and downs and the way in which we react to them are very different depending on our mindsets. But something we can all be guilty of is feeling sorry for ourselves.

While it’s normal, natural and healthy to feel our negative emotions to a situation, when it becomes too persistent and prolonged – even a habit – then it can have a detrimental effect on our happiness and well-being.

Do any of these describe you?

  • You tend to complain about life not being fair
  • You feel like you always have bad luck in life
  • You often think and feel the world or other people are out to get you
  • You think people who have great lives are the ‘lucky ones’
  • You struggle to find anything to be truly grateful for

As human beings, we are always drawn to the easier route and in this case it’s easier to feel sorry for ourselves than to pick ourselves up and face our problems. We can let our overwhelming feelings of pity get in the way of moving forward, creating a better mindset and better perspectives.

The problem with this is, we never really allow ourselves to reach our true potential of happiness.

It can blind you to the good that is right there in front of your face. You can push people away with constant ‘glass half empty’ chatter because, sometimes without knowing it, negativity can spread like wildfire to others around you.

None of us are perfect and we all throw ourselves a pity party every once in a while but to be more consistent in our personal discovery of happiness it’s really important to make a conscious effort to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and move forward.

More often than not, negative emotions will breed more and more creating an everlasting circle and it’ll become a destructive habit. We believe it takes too much effort to start changing our thoughts, beliefs and perspectives  – that they’re too ingrained in us and something we have no control over – but it’s not true and to change our thoughts is never as hard as you think it is.

Next time you notice a prolonged period of time where you feel nothing ever goes right for you, just stop and take note of it. Make a conscious choice to see the opposite perspective. The people out there who are ‘lucky’ are no different to you and me other than the way they choose to see the world.

Make your happiness a choice…it’s not always something that just magically appears but does needs cultivating and consistent habits in order to achieve it 🙂

Do You Focus Too Much On Lack?

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I think we can all be guilty of this. When life isn’t quite going our way we focus on just that – that life is not going our way! What about what is going our way?

It’s become a bit of a cliché when it comes to happiness – be grateful and appreciate what you have in life – it goes over our head because we’ve heard it a million times and we stop applying it to our own lives.

But there’s great power in how you focus. There are times in life when everything is moving along perfectly and there are times when, well, it just isn’t. However, the way in which you step back and look at what is going on – the bigger picture – really can be the difference between feeling positive and just feeling crappy.

If your life is taking a turn or you are struggling to see how life is good try to steer away from focusing on the lack.

Our minds are naturally drawn to focus on lack and what we don’t currently have in our lives that we would like to have. If we want the perfect job but feel we don’t have it, we may focus on our current job and what’s wrong with it like the annoying boss and the boring work, but instead try and focus on what’s good about it. Maybe your commute is short and trouble-free, you have fun colleagues, the pay is enough to deal with your bills. The more you focus on the good things about a situation that’s less than ideal, the more you can cope with it.

Remember every situation is temporary and we’re continually moving forward. When we focus on the better things, our mind fights us and thinks we’re trying to accept a situation we hate and thinking about the negative aspects is somehow helping us, that focusing on what’s not there but wish was is somehow going to help us change the situation – but it’s not!

Focusing on the abundance rather than the lack isn’t about giving in. It isn’t about  just accepting the situation and desperately trying to be happy about it. It’s not about accepting it’ll never change; it’s about changing your inner thoughts which, in turn, will gradually change your level of happiness. It’s when you’re in this better state of happiness that you’ll be in a better state for moving forward and inspired action will present itself to you – that perfect job will suddenly appear in the strangest of ways!

So next time you find yourself focusing on something you don’t have like a relationship, perfect job, perfect house or enough money, try to change your thinking to that of abundance – the love of your friends and family, a job that pays the bills for now, a roof over your head (maybe a small one but a roof all the same!) and the money to buy you what you need.

Remember focusing on abundance is about putting that monkey mind at ease and allowing it to enter a more positive state that will go towards opening up paths to new opportunities that frustration, apathy and depression from focusing on lack can block.

So perhaps try noticing how much you focus on lack and change your perspective to that of abundance. Make it a conscious, consistent habit and start seeing the positive changes to your happiness 🙂

 

Why Making Comparisons Is Ruining Your Happiness

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How many times have you compared your life to those around you and felt that panic or overwhelming dissatisfaction for your present circumstances? You feel like you’re not at the stage you were meant to be or you’ve somehow fallen behind in life while they are exactly where you want to be.

I believe no one is alone in feeling this. With current social media exposing us to every nook and cranny of people’s lives, it’s hard not to notice and compare our journey to others.

But comparing ourselves to others hinders our happiness in so many ways.

Remember that everyone is potentially going through a battle we don’t know about. Don’t judge or compare your life to someone else’s seemingly ‘happy and perfect’ life because you don’t know what they are truly going through. They may have it all or have what you want to have but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are happy.

Don’t take social media at face value. People are extremely willing to put up the best bits of their life on social media especially Facebook or Instagram which gives the impression on the outside that this is the sum total of their life – happy and carefree. What you don’t know is the possible depression they are secretly battling with or their own dissatisfaction with life. This is why we can’t ever take social media at face value as we’re only seeing people’s highlight reels – it’s not a true representation of reality.

Always remember that our negative thoughts and feelings aren’t real. When you get these feelings when comparing yourself to others it’s kind of illogical – you can’t compare yourself to someone else because they are on a completely different path to you despite what you may think.

The comparison game never stops. The main reason we compare is because we are unhappy with our own lives. The key to combating comparison is to simply be more relaxed and happy with the way our lives are because even if you achieved the life others have, there will always be something else to be unhappy with.

Comparison just kills your focus and own happiness. Comparison is just a distraction from your own wonderful journey in life. So what if it’s not the same as hers or his? By focusing on others you aren’t focusing on yourself which is far more important.

See your unhappiness as a stop on your journey to happiness. Making comparisons are a sign of our own unhappiness. It happens to the best of us but just trust that this is where you’re meant to be in the present moment. Everyone is at different stages in both life and happiness and you are where you’re meant to be. Trust you will get where you need to be to be happy when it’s your time.

Finally, you don’t know what happiness means to other people. Just because being successful in your career is your definition of happiness doesn’t mean it is for someone else. Always keep this in mind when making assumptions of other people.

It’s so important to focus on your own happiness and stop being concerned with those around you. Yes, it’s not always easy to do, but taking steps to concentrate on the appreciation you have for your current life – no matter what stage you’re at –  will attract the things you want into your life and be happy with them.

Remember, your happiness is personal to you and no one else 🙂

Do We Get Happier As We Get Older?

Today is my birthday…hurrah! It got me thinking about happiness and age – specifically do we get happier as we get older?

Happiness tends to be positively linked with age and there has been a plethora of scientific research that has delved into the answer to this question.

It seems happiness is intrinsically associated with youth and youth means opportunity, excitement, health and the start of the life journey. Yes, we have more energy and future hope but I don’t think this necessarily equals being more happy. Youth brings more mistakes that cause us to feel lost and confused. Societal pressure to have your life going in the right direction can cause stress and feelings of failure if it doesn’t work out the way you expect.

We’re happier when we’ve accomplished our major goals. Many studies have shown that happiness becomes more prevalent in our lives when we’ve completed the goals we’ve set ourselves. This causes us to float along in life more contently and happily because we no longer have to strive for the big things we want out of life. This isn’t to say we stop working towards goals but we do this in a more laid-back, ‘along for the ride’ attitude.

We appreciate things more when we’re older and appreciation plays a huge role in happiness. Gratitude and appreciation is a major factor in the achievement of happiness and with the increase of age comes the increase in appreciation. It’s been found that although identity in youth is formed through experiences such as travelling, falling in love (several times), and general thrill-seeking, as we get older we find identity is found in everyday, simple pleasures and with this comes more contentedness.

With wisdom comes happiness. Every year we get older we add our lifetime experiences to our sense of self. We learn from what we’ve done and fine-tune our ideas, beliefs, understandings and apply this to life going forward. The wisdom we develop adds to our happiness as we realise others opinions don’t matter so much or how much money we make isn’t ultimately as important in making us happy as loved ones do.

We have a greater sense of acceptance as we get older. We resist less as we get older. When we’re younger we tend to want to control circumstances that are mostly outside of our control. With this brings frustration and sense of failure if it doesn’t go our way. Age allows us to accept our situations for what they are and being happy with them. This is where appreciation and feeling content with how things are ups our happiness levels.

So turning a year older, whatever your age, shouldn’t be approached with apprehension and reluctance. Be safe in the knowledge that your happiness is most likely going to rise to whole new levels 🙂

If you’re interested, here’s a great TedxTalk about age and happiness: