Happiness is hard work. It may look easy to the guy whistling down the crowded streets, or for the woman jamming out in her car during traffic, but after two and a half years working as a life coach, I can guarantee that anyone over the age of 10 has had to work to find their best selves.
Luckily for you, I have figured out a few shortcuts along the way! Anyone, anywhere has the power to create a happy life. Your mind is the most powerful tool you will ever have and when used correctly, you too can harness your inner happiness.
Ditch the excess sugar and caffeine
Sugar and caffeine can actually drain your energy supply as opposed to boost it. If you’re wanting a boost in your happiness, look into your eating habits. Start by replacing heavy sugar-filled items with fresh fruits and veggies. Eating clean will leave you feeling good -- you'll be amazed at the difference.
Make an accomplishments board
Often we are striving for the next big goal or next best move. But what if you celebrated yourself for a change? Take out a large piece of paper and write, draw, or post photos of all the celebrations in your life. This could be your family, a met weight goal, body acceptance, a promotion or something as small but powerful as how you get out of bed each day! They all count.
Reward yourself right
Rewards are an important part of momentum in your motivation, and even the smallest gesture can make your life brighter. It's important to choose rewards that support your goals and not ones that counteract them. For example, if you set a goal to do yoga once a week for six months, and you reach that goal, reward yourself with a new yoga outfit, don't reward yourself with a week off from exercise.
Meditate, meditate, meditate
We've all heard it before -- meditation has many benefits for your body, mind, and soul. However, I can personally attest to the efficacy of daily meditation on my well-being. Happiness starts from within, and the shortcut is meditation. If you are a beginner, or have never tried meditating before, I would recommend starting off with a light practice. As you get more comfortable with the activity, start increasing the length of time and make goals for each session. Keep a journal of your journey -- it can be a great source of inspiration down the road.
Missing something in your life? Ask for it!
Too often opportunities are missed simply by never taking the chance to ask. Do you want a raise? Do you want your significant other to take you on a romantic date? Do you want your friend to call more often? Ask for it. If you don't, the answer is already no. It's a smaller risk than you think and let's face it, you deserve to happy.
Take a mini break
One of the best things you can do is invest in yourself to keep your happiness at high vibrations. Do whatever it takes to get a little "you time" -- book a babysitter, take a day off from work, or treat yourself to dinner alone. If money is a challenge, don’t let that stop you! Look on discount websites like Living Social or Groupon for deals on massages, try a house swap, or simply take your coffee to the park and lie in the sun for a quick pick-me-up.
Speaking kindly starts with your own thoughts about yourself and trickles into your surroundings. You'll find that the more positive you are toward yourself and those around, the more you will be surrounded by like-minded people. That makes it that much easier to be happier. It is more of a challenge if you're surrounded by drama, jealously, and negativity, so try to limit those negative stressors in your life.
Even if you only do it for a short time each day, it's important to turn off the TV, silence your cellphone, and disconnect from social media. Technology and social media have a lot of benefits, but it can also be a strong deterrent if you’re working hard on your happiness trek. You may find that you are comparing yourself to others’ social media facades and the lives of TV characters. My mentor always said, "Comparison is the killer of happiness," and I have seen it to be true over and over again.
Additionally, if you feel like you don't have enough time to accomplish what you want in your spare time, consider this: according to the A.C. Nielsen Co., the average American watches more than four hours of TV each day. This equals 28 hours per week, or about two months of nonstop TV-watching per year. What would you do with two extra months every year?
Try out a spin on the Golden Rule: Instead of treating others how you want to be treated, how about treating yourself the way you want to be treated? I love to buy myself fresh flowers, Champagne, and a magazine and treat myself to a candle-lit bubble bath once a month (or whenever I can). It's a great way to celebrate you and only you.
Bless someone today
If you’re feeling lost and unhappy, one of the best things you can do is to step outside of yourself and bless someone else today. Putting a smile on a strangers face can be a quick turn-around when you find yourself wallowing
Find the blessings in your life today and don’t forget to smile.