We took a family road trip recently from Austin down to the Texas coast. When we take road trips, we allow our 5-year-old to watch a movie in the car. Currently she’s on a Trolls kick.
I’ve never actually seen the Trolls movie, yet I’ve heard it many times as I drive and she plays it on the monitor in the back of the car. I was struck by a line in the movie that really resonated with me.
The main character Poppy says this… “Happiness isn’t something you put inside of you, it’s already there. Sometimes you just need someone to help you find it.”
YES! Preach it, Poppy!
Modern psychology has proven that true and lasting happiness comes within us, not from outside of us. Nothing and no one can make us happy, especially in the long run. Happiness comes from how we interpret the situations and circumstances in our life.
That does not mean that we should take a passive approach to our happiness. Just the opposite. The more proactive we are, the more happiness we’ll achieve, the more we’ll accomplish and success we’ll experience. That’s among the reasons why happiness is a concept making its way into more business conversations… happy people are usually more accomplished.
How can you channel more happiness? It’s simple, really! Frankly, there are many ways that help you cultivate happiness that are good and valid. Here are 5 that are meaningful and helpful for me and the people that I coach.
#1. Stop Chasing Happiness
Counterintuitive at first, yes? If you chase happiness, that means that you don’t think you have it (which, as Poppy tells us, is untrue). However, if you believe you’re not yet happy, you’ll default to looking for external benchmarks to make you happy. Stress will be the by-product along the pursuit and any happiness achieved at the end will be fleeting. Why? Because there’s always more stuff to accomplish.
Truth is, happiness is found along the journey, not at the end.
#2. Remove Your Own Barriers
How many times do we sabotage our happiness? This comes in the form of negative thoughts and emotions that cloud our ability to be happy. It could also be the reason that we “chase” happiness to begin with.
I find that coaching clients that I work with have barriers in the form of old baggage and blocks. It’s familiar and what we know. Sometimes we don’t even realize that the baggage is there because we’ve been carrying it for so long. Letting go allows us to free up the path and find happiness inside us.
#3. Be Present
Quick… look around or within yourself right now… what do you see or feel that brings you joy right now? Maybe it’s a nice cup of coffee you’re sipping on. Maybe it’s a quiet house before the day gets going. Maybe it’s the excitement for what the day will bring or what the day has brought.
Just like that, we can find happiness in the present moment anytime we choose. It just takes us slowing down for enough time to appreciate something right now. The more we do this, the more joy we’ll begin to experience in all moments of our life.
#4. Do What You’re Good At & Passionate About
If you find yourself in a rut or if you feel like nothing is working out (hey, we all go there sometimes…), you can pull yourself out through action. Do something that you’re good at and that you enjoy doing. It could be work related or not. Also, make it something that will stretch you.
As an example, say you’re good at cooking and enjoy doing it. Go make something and stretch yourself… put a new twist on an old favorite, work from the “medium” level recipes instead of the “easy” ones. What will happen is that you’ll enjoy the activity, appreciate the challenge and walk away feeling more proud of yourself for the accomplishment. Use that emotion and natural self-esteem boost in other areas of your life, especially work if that is a thief of happiness at the moment.
#5. Practice gratitude
Bottom line… You can’t be hateful if you’re grateful. I do not know where this quote originated from (if you know, please email me!!) yet it’s one of my favorites. It’s true, isn’t it? Try it… practice feeling genuine gratitude and see if you can also feel negative emotions. You can’t!
Practicing gratitude will not only teach you how to conjure up gratefulness, it will also make you more aware of feeling gratitude. You’ll naturally begin to experience gratitude throughout the day because you make a conscious effort around it.
Use any or all of the hacks when you want to experience more happiness in the moment. Also, use them to develop longer term and more constant joy and happiness. No Xperiential life – human or troll – is complete without true happiness.