Christine at Homegrown Holistic Coaching
6 Simple Tips for Choosing Happiness
Happiness is something that doesn’t just happen to us. The science of happiness reveals that happiness, like many things in life, is a choice. If you want to feel happy and energetic more often, it’s your job to find ways to that invite it in.
In other words, happiness takes a little bit of work.
It’s a habit that you can build just like eating whole foods or working out regularly.
A happiness habit is essential for your well-being, because of its many benefits. I like to think of it as an investment in your own health, that ripples out and benefits the people around you too.
Imagine if everyone chose happiness more often and what that would mean for how people relate to one another.
To be clear, there are other emotions to be felt. This isn’t about embracing toxic positivity and sweeping disappointment and other negative emotions under the rug. All emotions are meant to be experienced and felt.
But as happiness and positivity researcher Dr Barbara Fredrickson shares, to have a happier life, we should all be aiming for 3 positive thoughts for every 1 negative emotion we experience. This ratio is the tipping point between languishing and flourishing.
Here’s 6 simple tips for creating more happiness
1. Preserve your energy. Give of yourself and your resources generously, but only from a place of true desire to serve, and only when you have the energy to do so. If a sense of guilt, obligation, or resentment is present, explore why you are choosing to give.
2. Honor negative emotions. This may seem counterintuitive in an article about happiness, but hear me out. When negative emotions aren’t felt and allowed to flow through you, they become stuck in the body. Happiness isn’t available to you when your body feels constricted. Actively work through the tougher emotions so you can organically move on to a place of authentic positivity.
Note: I find it easier to locate emotions in my body first, then see how they translate to thoughts my mind. To drop into your body, relax your face and jaw, send breath to any tight spaces. Notice the physical sensations move and change. Continue this mindful exercise until your experience an emotional shift. You may not fully process the emotion in one sitting, but by the end there will be more lightness, less constriction.
3. Enjoy life and be social. Choose to do something that you look forward to at least once per day, if not every few hours! Sing an upbeat song, dance it out, knit, paint, tend to your plants, meet up with a friend. Do what feels like love and light. For easy reference, keep a Joy List of these activities.
4. Develop a sense of humor. There was a period of my life when I seriously had forgotten how to laugh. I felt it in my jaw, in my shoulders and in my back. Keeping things light is a choice. Holding onto negative emotion is a choice, even when it doesn't feel like it is. Choose to release what isn't serving you.
5. Feel gratitude for the little things. I’ve been keeping a gratitude journal this year. What I’ve noticed is that taking stock of what is good sometimes feels easy, and other times takes more work. Give thanks and look for the goodness in every day. There is always goodness. Make your brain look for it.
6. Create beautiful environments that support you. Maintain a positive attitude by surrounding yourself with beauty. Create pockets of beauty throughout your home, at your desk, and by your bedside. Delight in simple beauty.
And, if you need a little more encouragement for choosing happiness, Elizabeth Gilbert reminds us that “Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You must fight for it, strive for it, and insist upon it.”
Happiness involves personal choice. Positive choices take more effort. Just like any new habit, choosing becomes easier with practice. Until one day, positivity requires no intentional effort.
It's who you are. A lighter, happier Being.