5 Healthy Practices For Happiness

Guest article provided by: pillowsandtrees.com

5 Ways To Find Happiness In Chaos

Everyone talks about happiness, and we all want to achieve it. However not everyone realizes that sustainable happiness can’t be found outside ourselves. Happiness that we obtain from the outside world often depends on circumstances that we can’t control, it is conditional, and therefore limited. 

“Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power,” – Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu once said. What it means is that when we learn to manage our own thoughts and emotions it gives us true power to control our lives in this sometimes-chaotic world. Remember, that your thoughts define how you feel. But changing them can be incredibly challenging especially if you are prone to negative thinking. 

Here are some daily practices that you can implement, that will help you build inner strength and become happier. The key here is consistency and patience. Don’t expect a quick fix since no change happens overnight.

Be compassionate to yourself.

Any journey should start with setting realistic goals, but not only that. Remembering, that you are a human, who is going to make mistakes or even fail at something is extremely important for your well-being. Be kind to yourself. 

When we have negative thoughts about ourselves constantly, it impacts our self-esteem and demotivates us. To thrive you should power your mind with good nourishment. Use positive affirmations. If you have a negative thought about yourself counteract it with a positive one. It may be challenging at first, so use tools like daily journaling to help you out with that. The more you practice, the easier it will become.

Be grateful. 

We are all good at recognizing our problems and struggles and focusing on them. Life isn’t easy, for sure, but there is almost always something good that we ignore. It’s a natural activity of our brains to focus on problem solving, but it makes us unhappy long-term if that’s all we think about. 

So, make a list of things you are grateful for, recognize small things. Back in the day when I absolutely hated my job, I practiced this simple exercise on my way to office: I tried to recognize things around me that I loved: beautiful leaves on the trees, blue sky, etc. It was extremely helpful.

Gratitude stimulates the production of dopamine and serotonin, that are neurotransmitters in our brain that instantly make us feel better. 

Making gratitude your daily habit is going to be beneficial for your mental health and well-being. “Acknowledging the good that you already have is the foundation for all abundance,” – spiritual teacher and author Eckhart Tolle said.

Practice compassion to others.

I think that helping others is underrated in our society. People simply don’t talk about it enough. However, humans are social beings. Even the most introverted of us need social connection and support from time to time, as well as caring about and supporting others.  

When we give as much as we receive, we shift focus from ourselves and our struggles to the outside world, it brings meaning and purpose to our lives as well as boosts confidence. 

Do what you love without expectations.

Expectations steal the joy from whatever it is that you are doing. It’s not bad to have hopes but it’s important to train your brain to simply enjoy the process of doing something as opposed to expect a particular result or reward. It is especially hard today: we often focus more on instant gratification and productivity. 

Lao Tzu taught not to get attached to your work. He said: “Do your work, then step back. The only path to serenity”. 

It used to be natural for us as kids to enjoy playing, but it doesn’t come easy for adults. Try to find something that you enjoy and spend time doing it. You can start small, like 30 minutes a day and slowly increase that time. Try not to have any expectation from this activity. Take it as your time to disconnect and be present in the moment. 

Practice acceptance, but don’t lose hope. 

There will always be things we absolutely can’t control or change. Resistance will only make you suffer more. 

When the pandemic hit many of us faced incredible distress. Financial burden along with isolation led to rise of mental illness around the world. Most of us were simply unprepared, and it is understandable. But it is also a good example of the situation when it was important to practice acceptance. Acceptance doesn’t mean giving up hope. It means giving up resistance. 

Acceptance may come with wisdom that naturally grows from our life experiences. With time we learn to recognize situations where resistance leads to exhaustion, not problem solving. But we can also practice acceptance daily by giving up control in small situations. If you are too tired to do something today, remind yourself there is always tomorrow. If you are feeling sick, let yourself rest if you can, don’t try to push through. You will recover much faster if you let yourself rest. 

Most of the times there is light at the end of the tunnel. Life is about constant ups and downs. Learn to go through those downs without losing too much energy. 

It’s important to remember – there is no such thing as happiness 24/7, there will always be good and bad moments, but we can drastically improve our lives by practicing compassion, gratefulness, and acceptance + lowering expectations. 

Anna, Pillows&Trees