Tag Archives: Minds

How To Find Happiness Within Yourself: A Rough Guide

The quest of finding happiness is possibly the only goal shared among all human beings – past, present or future. Who doesn’t want to find happiness in his or her life? It’s a silent goal nonetheless. We don’t mutter much about it and most of the time it lurks in the deep inner workings of our minds. Curious isn’t it?

The odd fact is we spend billions of research dollars & euros into treating mental illnesses with drugs, but not much effort goes into understanding the science of happiness or mental well-being. This fact alone compels me to write about the subject.

The title of this article is in itself revealing – “how to find happiness within yourself” suggests from the outset that you should look for happiness within yourself and that happiness is general to be found within. This is also a very curious thing to me. Why are we always trying to find happiness in all kinds of places but hardly ever attempt to find happiness within?

Harry is 67. He lost his wife to cancer almost three years ago now. He saw his daughter pass through a marriage breakdown and divorce. He hardly gets to see his grandchildren because his daughter moved to another city after her divorce. He misses the fishing trips with his brother Joe who also passed away recently. He is relating less and less to a changing hostile world where he is constantly reminded he is an unwanted burden.

Yet there is one major twist to the story. Harry is happy, radiantly happy. How can this happen? I mean if there are people who have passed through all sorts of heartbreaking episodes and hardships but are happy, what’s their story? Conversely, if there are people (and lots of them) who have acquired all sorts of merit, possessions, and good fortune yet is deeply unhappy, what does this say about finding happiness?

Finding happiness by losing old mental models:

One major flaw in the way we live our lives is that we have learned how to be unhappy rather than how to be happy. We have built certain mental models of our reality and these limit us or lead us astray from finding real happiness. Naturally this leads us to the understanding that finding happiness requires us to unlearn certain things and look for it in different pathways. It requires us to look into flaws in our belief system and change them.

One of these mental models we adopt is the belief that we need to reach a certain goal or outcome to be happy, the so-called ‘if-then model’ (if this happens then I will be happy). For example that we should get a better income, financial freedom, recognition of our work, sexier bodies, satisfying relationships and so on. It’s always something around the corner which needs to happen first before we reach happiness.

I know you have many times got to the realization yourself that it just doesn’t work that way. Once you reach that corner there is always another corner to reach. Happiness is not found in anything outside ourselves. We already have all the material at hand to be happy. It’s a matter of shifting our perspective and beliefs completely.

Some mental models to take note of and debunk:

• Happiness is the pleasure: No. Pleasure is instant gratification – physical or mental. Happiness is knowing that you are where you should be or accepting that you are not and doing your best while you’re there.

• Happiness is comfort or security: We live most of our lives in constant security threats – our jobs, our children out at night, our health, etc. The truth is that security or lack of it is based on perception. Happiness is living well in a very unstable world.

• I don’t deserve happiness: Yeah, says who? Another human quirk – self-inflicted limitation. Happiness is for everyone, wherever you come from, whatever you did and no matter what’s your idea. Happiness is open-source.

• It’s impossible to find happiness in this world: Another example of self-limiting beliefs. Wrong. Happiness is as possible to find as unhappiness.

• People who reached their goals are invariably happy: Again, says who? People who reached their goals are not happy because they reached their goals. On the contrary, some are eternally dissatisfied and keep on seeking, other goals in life – a real source of unhappiness. But yes some people found happiness while reaching those goals since they were living their true purpose and enjoying every moment of it. Their eyes were on the doing and not on the reaching.

Finding Inner Happiness Through Finding Inner Peace

So many stories around us, like that of Harry, seem to point at the overlooked obvious – that you will only find happiness within yourself. Well, that’s very good news since you don’t need to look far away to find happiness – like for example running after expensive, energy-consuming and ultimately unsatisfying goals. It’s there right within you. As scientist Zen Buddhist Jon Kabat-Zinn perfectly immortalized in one of his book titles: “Wherever you go, there you are.”

When life rocks your boat to the point of wrecking it or when the proverbial crap hits the ceiling fan you will reach a y-point which will either make you or break you. So many people like Harry managed to find happiness & inner peace through the most turbulent and upsetting moments of their lives by making use of their internal resources, by finding happiness within rather than in external points of reference.

The key to happiness, or, in other words, that of finding true inner happiness, is by finding your inner peace – that center of calm inner knowing which is the real source of your being rather than those mental projections or models imposed by your social background.

There are many pathways to find your inner peace but before I start sounding too metaphysical I’d reckon that the greatest and shortest path is that of acceptance. Let go of your expectations, inner struggle, and frustrations when things don’t turn out exactly, the way you want them. Acceptance is an extremely powerful tool to finding inner happiness. It shouldn’t be confused with resignation or passiveness.

We often fail to understand the power of acceptance because it comes from the heart, not the mind. Its power, in fact, comes from transcending the resistance and inner currents of the restless mind which are often the source of our anxieties, stress, and inner conflict.

Acceptance is when we drop all, our mental models (like the if-then model), often in a moment of clarity or awareness where we become conscious that there is another life outside this madness, outside this huffing and puffing trying to acquire one goal after the other in the wrong belief that there is an ultimate goal post called happiness somewhere on the finishing line.

Ask yourself – how much of what’s going on in your life do you accept? Are you constantly feeling you should be at some other point in your life? Or do you somehow feel at peace with all aspects of your life and make use of them with all their limitations?

Other pathways to inner peace:

• Compassion: Some people admirably manage to find the time and energy to help other even when they are facing rough seas themselves. Even though this comes out from an act of compassion and selflessness, it is also a doorway to their own inner peace. In fact although it seems quite hard to do in moments when we are down and out, giving attention to others’ needs is a way of getting ‘out of your head’ which, ironic as it sounds, is a fast remedy to unhappiness.

• Seek the support of others: Well, it works both ways too. Helping others is a way to shift your center of attention away from your ailments. However seeking any form of support from others is a way of finding reinforcement and encouragement and is highly recommendable.

• Be grateful to everything around you: Because we so often forget of the little miracles happening around us on a daily basis. We only think about what’s missing instead of counting our blessings. Being thankful to life is not some wishy-washy magical spell that washes away all your troubles. Rather it is an exercise in which you become aware of the positive and meaningful things happening in your life, a real booster.

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Do You Feel Misunderstood By So Many People – Always Trying To Be Understood? Here’s 3 Things That Actually Work.

Do you ever feel misunderstood? Do you ever feel that way, a lot?

I know I do – it’s one of the most frustrating parts of our existence. We strive to be fully known – to have someone embrace our ideals, thoughts, and opinions.

We desire others to really understand us at a deep level, even if they disagree or their views are different. We really desire to just be…understood.

However, sometimes this is to a fault. Sometimes you and I both can want this to our detriment, meaning we can strive so hard to win other people’s understanding that we drain all of our energy trying to get there.

In the event trying to get others’ understanding on a continual basis keeps happening, here’s 3 things you can do INSTEAD that actually work:

1. Verbalize when something’s part of your personality.

You would be surprised, but this works. When others hear you say something is part of your personality and it’s just how you’re wired, and they can genuinely see you’re content with that, they may have additional little tid bits to say, but it won’t be much – anything beyond that, and your person-hood is being insulted. Most will just accept that – they’ll have to.

Most people respect what is part of who you are.

The key here is not abusing this phrase – for example, eating fruit is not a part of who you are – it’s something you really like.

If you over-use it, you can’t expect that it will be respected.

Stick to using this strategy for personable traits such as “I need alone time often – it’s part of my personality” or “I really don’t like small talk – it’s just part of my personality.”

2. Back away from the argument.

Here’s the thing. When we argue with someone back and forth, back and forth, trying to get our point, personality, POV understood – we are giving the argument power, not the relationship.

Have you ever stepped back from an ongoing argument and calmly said “okay, it’s cool – I am really SO okay if you don’t get it?”

This is powerful. It reverts the power back to the relationship – relating to one another – and makes it less about the power of two people trying to be understood.

When you genuinely let someone know you can let it go or agree to disagree, it’s amazing how understanding sometimes suddenly appears! It doesn’t always, but I’ve had this happen to me so many times – when you calm the atmosphere, understanding comes a lot easier.

3. Seek first to understand, then to be understood.

There is nothing more powerful than showing someone else you fully understand their POV, if in fact, you do (don’t say you do if you don’t).

As humans, this is all we want – understanding & connection. Think about how powerful YOU feel when someone looks into your eyes and says “yeah, I get it.” It’s like warm honey to our minds. We crave understanding from another person.

So, in the same way you know that, genuinely let someone else know that you fully understand them first, THEN you can have your turn.

This is the beauty of being a giving individual. You have the opportunity to selflessly give to another with no promise of a return.

Seek first to understand, then to be understood.

Have any of these worked for you? Will you be trying any of them? If I didn’t list something that either works for you OR you have used before here, please do share it below. I welcome your perspective & stories.

Thank you for being here.

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Positive Self Talk Leads To Success

Good Things Come to Those Who Believe.

Most people are naturally motivated—even excited—when they begin a new exercise routine or adopt a healthier diet. You’ve got your goals set, a plan to reach them, and nothing can get in your way.

But as time goes by, the novelty wears off and your optimistic attitude can give way to feelings of doubt and dissatisfaction. Or even worse, you start comparing yourself with everyone else, mentally beating yourself up for not being as “good” or successful as they are. These negative thoughts and feelings are especially common when you’re not seeing results despite your hard work.

Sure, it’s much easier to fill your head with negative self-talk than it is to give yourself a mental pep talk. But the latter is exactly what you need to do in order to stay on track.

What you think about while you exercise, for example, affects whether or not you’ll finish today’s, tomorrow’s and even next week’s workout. If you can focus on the positives instead of the flaws when you look in the gym mirrors, you’ll be more likely to keep your appointment with the treadmill. But when your thoughts are negative or you’re comparing your thighs with someone else’s, you’re more likely to feel insecure and unmotivated, which means you’ll stop early and maybe not show up tomorrow. Researchers agree.

In a recent study from the University of Wisconsin in Whitewater, 92 female college students exercised on a stationary bike for 30 minutes, while reading one of two randomly assigned magazines (Oxygen, a women’s fitness magazine or, O the Oprah magazine, a general interest publication), or nothing at all. Those who read the fitness magazine reported more feelings of anxiety, depression and poor mood after working out than before they started. By comparison, women who read Oprah or nothing at all experienced a boost in mood after exercising. The researchers speculate that both women and men can become depressed by viewing fitness (and fashion) magazines because they feel they’ll never look as good as the models they see.

What you tell yourself while you walk the extra mile or turn down a co-worker’s brownie will often determine whether you’ll successfully reach your goals or give up in frustration along the way. When you compare yourself with others (in real life or in print) or think negatively about all the parts of your body that bother you, you’re more likely to skimp on your workout routine. When you tell yourself, “no sugar this week” then you’re more likely to obsess over the one thing you told yourself that you can’t have, and then dig in to a whole plate of brownies instead of enjoying just one. In essence, it’s your own thoughts that may be keeping you from maintaining a consistent nutrition and exercise program.

So how do you even begin if positive self-talk doesn’t come naturally to you? Start by appreciating your efforts and giving yourself a pat on the back for the good choices that you make, no matter how small.

If that doesn’t work for you, imagine that you are talking to a friend. Would you tell her that she hadn’t lost enough weight? That his arms are too skinny? Or that she should spend more time at the gym if she ever hopes to look better in a bikini? Of course not. You would cheer on your best friend for every small accomplishment, encouraging him when he feels down or telling her all the things you love about her. So why can’t you treat yourself with the same kindness and consideration?

Next, try to be more aware of your thoughts at all times. Be mindful of thoughts that come and go, and those that linger. Consciously decide to think more positively. When you notice negative self-talk in action, nip it in the bud—don’t convince yourself that your actions are pointless, that your goals aren’t attainable, or that you don’t deserve to be successful. Whether you think you’ll succeed or fail, your thoughts will become your reality. Be a success. Boost yourself up whenever you can. Be your own best friend. Have faith in yourself and the results will come. The important thing is to feel that you’re worth the effort. You deserve to be healthy and confident and strong.

It’s been said that our minds can only hold one thought at a time, which means we have a choice: We can focus on a thought that makes us feel bad or we can focus on something that makes us feel good. Every second that passes is a chance to turn things around. Even if you didn’t eat well at lunch, you can do better at dinner. You’re not a failure if you didn’t go to the gym last week. You can go today. The only thing holding you back is your thinking.

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Want To Get Happy? Detach From These Four Things.

Non-attachment is one of the most important skills you can master.
We easily get attached to things, people, situations, the past and the future.

However, these attachments are never healthy. Clinging onto anything is not a good habit to cultivate, although we all seem to go down that road at some point in our lives.

We often attach ourselves to the things that are making us happy at that moment, trying to hold onto them just so we can experience happiness longer. We worry about the odds of losing the happiness and we think that clinging to it would make it stay. And when things change – as they always do – we feel miserable and betrayed.

Knowingly or unknowingly, we attach ourselves to feelings of happiness and satisfaction, and identify ourselves with them. Because of this, we tend to dwell on the past or feel anxious about the future, failing to experience the joy of the present moment.

Once we stop clinging or trying to control the world around us, we allow the Universe to fulfill us in ways beyond our imagination. Letting go is necessary so we can allow the happiness to flood in.

Releasing attachments is not a one-time decision. It is a moment-to-moment choice and commitment, and it involves changing the way we interact with anyone and anything we used to get attached to in the past.

So how do you release your attachment? Here’s a few tips to set you free.

1) Releasing Attachment From People.

Quit depending on people when it comes to acknowledging your worth. Know your worthiness without needing other people’s approval. Don’t let others dictate how you feel about yourself.

Going alone sometimes is a good way of releasing your attachment from others. This will help you examine yourself as well as your passions and values.

Hold onto people lightly and understand that you, and just you, have the ability to feel loved, worthy and secure.

This can also be applied to romantic relationships. Understand that it takes two whole persons to be together, and you are never someone’s “other half”.

2) Releasing Attachment From The Past.

Whether you like it or not, you can never change what’s already happened – ever.

Holding onto what’s already gone is living your life based on fear. Instead of focusing on what has happened or what didn’t happen, focus on whatever is happening right now. At this very moment.

This is the only moment you have control over – the now. Make peace with your past and realize that whatever happened had to happen, so the you right now can emerge. When you look back, you’ll see that the sequence of events had unfolded perfectly, for your own personal growth.

3) Releasing Attachment From The Future.

You cannot find happiness and contentment in the future, because the only real thing is the present moment – and this is all you’re experiencing right now.

There is no need to know what the future will hold. The only thing you need to realize is that your future is hinged on how you will use the present moment.

4) Releasing Attachment From Feelings And Emotions.

This goes to both positive and negative emotions. Most of us are attached to feelings of happiness and the feelings of regret. We tend to forget that all of these are just passing emotions. Identifying ourselves with our feelings and emotions make us prisoners of our own minds.

To release your mind, notice when you’re overwhelmed with an emotion, and then take a pause. Observe your feelings and take a few deep breaths while telling yourself: “This is just an emotion, it does not define who I am.” You’ll notice the overwhelming feeling melting away.

The practice of releasing attachments may be difficult, but only because we have accepted our attachments as part of our lives, believing it is in accordance with the society.

You can break free from this notion and release whatever is binding you to all these dramas. Not getting attached to anyone or anything is important in order to bring harmony to our relationships with other people and most importantly, with ourselves.

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