Imagine taking control of your happiness and not leaving it to chance, to the weather, to what other people say and do, or what kind of mood your boss is in.
Imagine most moments of the day, days of the week and months of the year, your happiness is an eight or above, on a ten-point scale, regardless of the external aspects of your life. Maybe you would rate yourself an eight or above now. That’s wonderful because those around you are benefiting along with you.
The happiest ten countries in the world in 2019, cited in the annual World Happiness Report, may not surprise you. They are Austria (10), Canada (9), New Zealand (8), Sweden (7), Switzerland (6), Netherlands (5), Iceland (4), Norway (3), Denmark (2) and the #1 spot goes to Finland.
The U.S. came in 18th place. That’s down 4 positions from the year before. While the U.S. got richer, it got a bit unhappier.
Do not despair if you don’t live in one of the happiest places in the world. You can still be one of the happiest people for miles around.
I’ve learned that happiness is less an outside job and more an inside one.
People with far less than I have ever had, have been happier than I have been at times. I see smiles on the faces of people who are poor, yet radiate joy. I’ve watched people with life-threatening illnesses demonstrate extraordinary appreciation and generosity as they go through their most difficult days.
I’ve also come to learn, as a HeartMath® Coach for almost 20 years, that we can create a feeling of happiness with practice. We can feel happiness more often than we feel unhappiness, regardless of the circumstances and events of the day.
Happiness is largely a choice and game changer as it relates to our health and well-being, performance, and relationships. Many will scoff at this idea, that happiness is mostly a choice, and oftentimes will say, “yeah right, you don’t have my job,” or “my bills,” or “my children.”
Got it, and please stay open just a bit longer before you check out entirely on my “happiness is a choice” notion, regardless of circumstances.
Try this quick HeartMath® technique:
- Focus your attention on the area of the heart. Imagine your breath is flowing in and out of your heart or chest area, breathing a little slower and deeper than usual. Find an easy rhythm that’s comfortable.
You might notice already you have slowed things down internally, the chatter is quieting down or gone, and you’re feeling calmer and more peaceful.
- Make a sincere attempt to experience a regenerative feeling such as appreciation or care for someone or something in your life.
Continue to feel feelings of care and appreciation for someone or something as you breathe in and out of your heart (45 seconds or more).
Now, notice how you feel physically? More relaxed, shoulders down, less tension in your neck, gut, chest, or back?
How about mentally? Is it quieter up there? Perhaps you notice your mind is clearer, maybe even a blank slate.
And emotionally, what emotion are you feeling? Peace, joy, love, compassion? Happiness perhaps?
Compare that feeling to the feeling just a few minutes ago when you might have been thinking that life kind of sucks right now, or your boss is a pain in the you-know-what, or the kids are driving you crazy. All that remains, the job, the boss, and the kids, yet most can shift their feelings to positive ones, in just seconds to a few minutes, as they shift to the heart and feelings of appreciation.
Stay tuned for the next part of this series this time next week!