Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Three Habits of Happy People

To some lucky people, happiness comes easy, but to many others, it's a learned skill.

Unfortunately, I belonged to the latter group, and had to learn the skill. As it turns out, my view on the world used to be a pretty screwed up one: I wanted to do-it-all, know-it-all, be on the top of my game, and be fun, fancy and fabulous. And I would never accept anything less than that.

I remember telling my therapist: I want to move the mountains, and him replying: But that's impossible.

Really? I didn't mean it literally!.. or did I?

Well, looking back, I think I may have actually meant that literally. So, for years, I was trying to do something that was impossible, and when my energy and hope on succeeding ran out, I became very depressed. It all makes total sense now!

Once I figured this out, I started working on rewiring my brain and adopting a few new principles to ensure an enjoyable and happy life.

So here are the three important habits I had to learn from happy people for the sake of a happy me:

1. Keep it real.
As kids, we hear many times: dream big! But what is a dream? 

Well, according to a dictionary, it is a series of thoughts, images, and sensations occurring in a person's mind during sleep. So then, we can't really dream while awake, can we? 

No! We can only have ideas on what we want to accomplish in our lives, but we can't just have them without lots of hard work and an alignment of appropriate events and circumstances... unless we are dreaming, of course. 

So if I decide that I want to lose weight and fit into a size 2 of a beautiful, strapless chiffon dress, I also need to want to exercise daily and give up pasta and deserts which I cannot live without. So, obviously, I don't really want to get into that dress and should not beat myself up for not getting there...   

2. Concentrate on the journey.
Oh, if you only knew how many times I used to find myself wishing for the power of teleport. But what about the journey from point A to point B?

Being a very health-conscios person, I go for a run once a week. And I H-A-T-E running! I already calculated that it takes me 45 minutes to get through the usual route, and I find myself checking my watch - how much longer?!

Well, have I told you where I run? I run in Balboa Island, and here's the view.
I ask myself, why am I so desperate to get to the finish line? Just so I can stop running? It's 45 minutes, and I am doing it anyway, so I might as well find something I like about it. Maybe I can leave my watch and phone in the car, stop thinking where I am going, turn on some music and enjoy the blue sky and the breeze! Honestly, what's at the end of those 45 minutes? Work?

Simple, isn't it? But it took me quite a few tries to get comfortable with an in-the-moment state of mind. But that's what happy people do!

3. Smile and be compassionate.
 As it turns out, compassion releases serotonin in our brains which has the ability to make us feel happy. And, unless you are a Queen-B, an act of kindness will makes us feel good inside. Even watching someone else performing acts of kindness, will release serotonin into our brains and make us feel good. It is that powerful.

Smiling has a very similar impact. It is a universal symbol of happiness. When we feel good, we smile. When we don't feel good, we force ourselves to smile... and that makes us feel so much better! The shift happens in our energy as we smile. And the best part of smiling, it is contagious and it makes others smile too.

If you are not smiling now, you must. Smile right now! Smile and say: I am the president of awesomeness!

So how did it feel? Did something light up inside you?

It's 6AM now, and time to get up and start my day... with a smile. :)

Spread the joy!
xo, Zuma A.

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