It’s Summertime – How can you Create Happiness?

Happiness is the one thing people chase more than anything else. At the start of coaching or therapeutic intervention, we usually reflect on what we want to achieve. People often say to me ‘I just want to be happy’. Happiness is not something you set a goal for, it’s a state of mind that you can choose and cultivate. Happiness is not something to be found in experiences or success or material things. It’s not something to achieve at some point, you can be happy right now.

Drukpa, Author of Happiness is a State of Mind offers a simplistic approach to happiness. He reminds us that happiness is already there. ‘Happiness is your nature’. You don’t need to pursue it, you just need to realise it’s there, in your heart. It may be covered by layers of thoughts, fears, worries and doubts, but it has always been there. How do we know this? For me the evidence is in a child. Observe children below the age of 5. They are naturally happy, fearless, adventurous, full of energy, have a lust for life and are naturally confident too. We were all like that before the conscious ego mind developed with all it’s doubts, fears and concern about opinions.

Drukpa adds: ‘The mind’s natural state is one of clarity and luminosity’. This is encouraging. We just need to learn to let go of the fog. Let go of the conditions we place on our happiness. Nurture the mind to loosen its grip on fear and worries. Then let the natural, true state of mind create your happy day, week and life. How often do we say ‘I’ll be happy if my day or week turns out successful? Well, it’s a bit like the chicken and egg; which one comes first? Happiness or success? Could happiness be the reason things turn out well? Research has now proven that a happy mind is more likely to create success. In fact success depends on a happy state of mind. So instead of chasing success, rather nurture and cultivate a happy mind. Our work is always inner work. With the investment of inner work, the outer world (a reflection of ourselves) resolves itself.

True happiness is freedom. Freedom from fear and worries. Freedom to be yourself. We were born with limitless creative, imagination. As we free our minds to open up, we can let in so much more life, so much more happiness. 

How can you cultivate happiness?

Here are six  key steps to happiness:

1. Gratitude
A key practice, gratitude activates happiness chemicals Serotonin and Dopamine and increases neurons in the prefrontal cortex; the higher mind.
– Start a happiness journal and capture 3 things a day for which you are grateful. This simple practice increases Serotonin levels by a significant 10% after 3 weeks according to research.
– Find happiness in everyday things like being grateful for warm water.
– Practice meditation. Take an attitude with gratitude into a mindfulness meditative practice. Reflect firstly on a person you are grateful for, secondly an event you are grateful for, thirdly something about yourself you are grateful for. In your Gratitude Mindfulness Meditation, focus on the feeling of gratitude – not the story.
– Express gratitude to somebody. Research found a 4-19% increase in levels of happiness when gratitude is expressed to a person.

2. Thought Labelling
You are not your thoughts.
– Standing back from your thoughts allows you to observe them, not be ruled by them.
– Listen to your own thoughts. Some thoughts drive emotional states:
– Shoulds or musts or ‘why didn’t I/they…’ create frustration.
– Always and never (this always happens to me) create anger.
– Catastrophising (expecting the worse) creates anxiety.
– All or nothing/black or white (nobody loves me/everybody hates me) thoughts create depression.
Ask yourself:
– Does this thought help me or harm me?
– Would I say the same thing to my best friend?
– Instead of giving yourself a hard time, bring compassion to yourself. Your journey is to become your own best friend.

3. Good Enough Decisions
Brain science has shown that making a decision, reduces worry and anxiety. It doesn’t have to be a perfect or ‘right’ decision, just a ‘good enough’ decision. Being a perfectionist can be stressful. Trying to be perfect overwhelms your brain with emotions and makes you feel out of control. You don’t have to prove anything. You are already enough just by existing, because of your own uniqueness. Once a good enough decision is made and even marginal steps taken in that direction, relief and happiness sets in.

4. Connection
It’s a basic need to feel love and acceptance from others. When we don’t, it is literally painful. Disconnection and loneliness creates pain. Research has shown that perceived rejection goes down the same pathways in the brain as physical pain.
– A key way to release Oxytocin is through touch – even a handshake or a pat on the back.
– 5 hugs a day is shown to raise Oxytocin significantly.
– Massage reduces pain, increases all the happy chemicals and decreases cortisol.
We are essentially social beings and cultivating positive interaction is essential for our happiness.

5. Savour Positive Experiences
Experience or relive a happy memory for at least 30 seconds, feeling it in the body. That develops happy neural pathways.

6. Meaning and Purpose
A longer lasting investment in your happiness is to identify what you find fulfilling and give expression to what brings meaning and purpose in your life. This can change from one phase of your life to another. It’s about expressing your unique interests, gifts and talents and how you can use them in service to humanity – asking: how can I help? When you combine your unique gifts with service to humanity, joy, abundance and flow follows.

Food for Thought
Happiness doesn’t happen to us. It is something we make happen. Nurture positive relationships, build on your own strengths, exercise choice, savour positive experiences and practice gratitude – often.

Sometimes we can do with a little help
Transformational therapies facilitate a gentle and effective way of healing and releasing issues of the past. It further provides useful mental tools that can be used to change unhelpful thought patterns. Ultimately therapy aims for wholeness of mind, bringing the head and heart into balance. The fears and doubts of the ego mind are exposed for what they are: false illusion. At the heart is who you really are, you’re unique, naturally happy, naturally confident self. Honouring your true self and living as your true self, is at the heart of happiness. Find our more at Timeline Therapy™.

Resources

Events and Courses
Join the forth-coming Meditation Course. The meditations are healing, uplifting and transformational. Full details are on the Events Calendar.

For all courses coming up in the Autumn, visit the Events Calendar.

Visit our stand Sunday 14th July at the Spirit & Wellbeing Day at the Chorley Football Club, PR7 3DU. Come for Energy Healing, Aura Cleanse, Chakra Activation to 12 Chakras. You can also experience a taster of Timeline Therapy™, buy health enhancing crystal jewellery and books

Meditation
Gratitude Mindfulness Meditation

Books
Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom by Rick Hanson
Happiness is a State of Mind by Gyalwang Drukpa
Foundations of Mastery: 12 Steps to a Fulfilled Life

Lifting the Veils of Illusions: 7 Steps to Spiritual Enlightenment

‘Tis the Season of Joy

 

‘Tis the Season – of Joy, or Is It?

As the festive season kicks in there is much to celebrate and enjoy. Christmas is a time of social and family gatherings. Along with the good cheer, it can pose some unique challenges. This is not always a happy time for everyone. How can you make this Christmas a joyful celebration for yourself and your loved ones? 

Be Merry and Bright

Christmas is a great time to get together and celebrate the year and your achievements with colleagues, friends and family alike. There’s so much going on this time of the year. With increased commitments to be ready, be prepared, get the shopping done, see all those people, it’s easy to feel under pressure both financially and socially. All this activity needs to be balanced with just being – enjoying the season. It’s a balancing act. Balancing the needs of others with your own needs. 

Balance Giving with Receiving

The spirit of the season is kindness, giving, generosity and gratitude. Equally, allow yourself to receive. Receiving without saying ‘Ah you shouldn’t have…’. Receiving graciously with just a ‘thank you’, allowing others the pleasure of doing something for you. Balancing the give-and-take in relationships; what’s good for you personally with what’s good for the people you care about, is an essential fine art and you owe it to yourself.

Rest

Nature begins to go into hibernation now, becoming still, resting, recuperating, and so should we. I’m sure, like me, you feel ready for a break. The holiday season is long-awaited and yet it can fly by, with so much on the go. Amidst the shopping and social events, build in some quality personal hibernation time. Rest, reflect, be still – balance all that “busyness” with much needed self-nurturing. Clearing and resetting the mind now will be a valuable investment in your own well-being.

Stay Healthy

Maintain a healthy balance between festive celebration and eating for good health and a healthy immune system. Get out often for a breath of fresh air and movement, creating your own winter well-being experience.

Maintain Good Relationships 

Christmas time often brings extended families under one roof, all expressing their varied opinions and ideas. This can create tension and stress. Have you ever wondered why this can be so challenging and when they go you start missing them again? It’s because the dynamics change radically when people live under the same roof and they reflect your shadow-self back to you once too often. When in company, we are always looking in a mirror. We can only change ourselves – we cannot change others. When you change your perceptions, people change, and your experiences begin to change too. Everyone around you is your teacher – helping you to learn something about yourself. That’s how you grow and evolve. Your greatest teachers are those testing people around you. We learn more about ourselves when our buttons are pushed. 

Stay Emotionally Healthy

It’s always good to say how you feel and best to say it straight away. Biting your tongue and speaking days later is least effective because people only remember their own version. Besides, keeping your emotions in, makes you uncomfortable, unsettled and withdrawn. When you express your feelings, people get to know you better and they have a chance to see another side. 

Christmas is not always a happy time for everyone. I know many people who have lost loved ones this time of the year and they can feel sadness. Allow yourself and others to talk about those who have gone, bringing them into remembrance. Honouring and expressing all of your emotions is the path of healing. Then you can remember the good times and treasure the precious memories. 

It’s a Time for Joy

Mindfully tune into your feelings, to learn from them and grow in wisdom. Allow yourself to embrace and experience all your emotions and, without wallowing in them, keep moving towards love and joy. Yuletide is a time of peace, joy and celebration. Joy opens the heart and suddenly the world is a better place. This uplifting experience makes Christmas a special time. Make that your mission this season, to create the kind of joy that can take you deep into the new year with happiness and an open heart.

Be Grateful – Count your Blessings

Joy is feeling happy for no reason at all. What if you can’t feel joy? There is nothing more magical than a practice of gratitude to bring instant upliftment to the spirit. Reflect firstly, on a person you are grateful for, secondly, an event you are grateful for, thirdly, something about yourself you are grateful for. Listen to a Gratitude Meditation to make it easier for you. In your meditation, focus on the feeling of gratitude rather than the story. 

Be at Peace

It’s best for your own well-being to be at peace with everyone in your life. You don’t have to necessarily like everyone, and there will certainly be people you won’t want to spend a lot of time with and that’s alright. As long as you are at peace in your own heart for your own sake. Sometimes we have to practice forgiveness to be at peace. There is nothing more freeing than forgiveness as it restores your vital energy too. This release can feel like a huge weight lifting as you put the past behind you peacefully. Nothing facilitates this better than the practice of Ho’oponopono, the Hawaiian forgiveness ritual. It means ‘to put things right, to make peace’. Remember, you are essentially doing it for your own well-being and your own peace of mind. 

Set your Goals 

So what will 2019 hold for us? The best way to predict your future is to create it. Create your future with thought-intention. By considering the kind of future you’d like to have, you begin to create it. With the power of your mind and your thoughts, you create your outcomes. Your mind is immensely creative, and the possibilities are infinite. Everything starts with a thought, an idea that we energise through focus. What you focus your mind on is a conscious choice. Often we think ahead with ‘what if type’ of thoughts fearing what might happen. If you focus on what can go wrong, you create more fear. We seem to be good at telling ourselves what we don’t want to happen. That leaves your Unconscious Mind confused about what you do want. Goals and intention give the Unconscious Mind a positive focus and direct the mind towards what you do want. Use the joyful uplifting season of Yuletide to cast your mind and thoughts ahead with a positive focus towards what you would like. This way you begin to create a magical 2019 ahead of you. Write your goals and intentions down now, to make your future more meaningful and purposeful. Next year this time you can look back and reflect on them, celebrating your achievements with joy again. 

Thank You! 

In the true spirit of Christmas, I thank you all for you support throughout the year. It’s been an amazing year. I’m truly grateful for everyone making my work a joyous experience. Together we laid the foundation for next year. I’m particularly excited to celebrate the publishing of a new book “Foundations of Mastery” with you in January 2019. Until then, I wish you and your loved ones a blessed Christmas – make it a joyous celebration of all that you are.

Resources

In the news this week: BBC News: Christmas is coming: Tips to make it stress-free

Healthy Eating: That Girl Cooks Healthy and The Healthline: Nutrition 

Emotional Health: 8 Simple Ways to Improve Your Mood in 5 Minutes or Less

Movement: 5 Benefits of Moving Your Body 

Meditations: Guided Meditations for Self-Transformation

Events: Join one of our Meditation Courses – book now!

Gifts Ideas: Products.