Happiness can be cultivated like all other things. The structure of the human brain is optimally designed to allow us to affect our behaviours, personality and patterns. Ultimately giving us the power to lead either unhappy or unfulfilled lives or to live inspired happy full lives. The choice is ours.
Fundamentals of Happiness
“The systematic training of the mind- the cultivation of happiness, the genuine inner transformation by deliberately selecting and focusing on positive mental states and challenging negative mental states – is possible because of the very structure and function of the brain. We are born with brains that are genetically hardwired with certain instinctual behaviour patterns; we are predisposed mentally, emotionally, and physically to respond to our environment in ways that enable us to survive.
These basic sets of instructions are encoded in countless innate nerve cell activation patterns, specific combinations of brain cells fire in response to a given event experience or thought. But the wiring in our brains is not static, not irrevocably fixed. Our brains are also adaptable. Neuroscientists have documented the fact that the brain can design new patterns, new combinations of nerve cells and neurotransmitters (chemicals that transmit messages between nerve cells) in response to new input. In fact, our brains are malleable, ever-changing, reconfiguring their wiring according to new thoughts and experiences. And as a result of learning the function of individual neurons themselves change, allowing electrical signals to travel along with them more readily. Scientists call the brain’s inherent capacity to change “plasticity.”
No matter what activity or practice we are perusing there is not anything that isn’t made easier through constant familiarity and training. Through training, we can change; we can transform ourselves.”
1. “Make a Conscious Choice To Be Happy”
Most things in life require that we make a conscious, deliberate choice to pursue them or they remain only an allusive dream just outside of our reach. Acknowledge you are not happy with your current self, be honest with yourself and others. Commit from this day forward to live a happy, fulfilled life
2. “Cultivate a Sense of Connection With Yourself and Others”
Foster friendships; we are here to experience all the joy the world has to offer and, without other people to share the experience with, we would not have the fulfilment and joy that we all desire. Let people into your core to share in your vulnerability and your growth.
3. “Focus on Forgiveness of Yourself and Others”
Forgiveness is not always easy but the more we say the words “I am sorry” the easier and more natural they become. It does not take away from who we are as a person, to forgive it is what makes us complete.
4. “Cultivate Gratitude”
Be grateful for every moment you have: the good, the bad and the boring. Each moment is precious and provides us with a path to wholeness. Embrace each experience and say thanks at the end of each day for all that you have, all that you experienced and all the opportunities you will create.
5. “Counteract Negative Thoughts and Feelings”
This requires a conscious effort on your part to acknowledge negative thoughts and to replace them with positive feelings. To build positive neuropathways that will dominate your thinking requires constant practice. If you have a tendency to be negative, it simply means you have focused on negative feelings or have practised being negative more than positive. It is that simple! Practice positive feelings!
6. “Shift your Focus”
Focus only on YOU. Accept the fact that you cannot change another human being. And in fact, that is not your job or your place. You can only change yourself. Shift your focus to what it is you are doing and feeling. You may be surprised that you are in fact doing some of the same things that you are criticizing others for doing.
7. “Engage in Meaningful Activities”
If your life is filled with mundane, unsatisfying activities, attaining happiness will be an uphill battle. Are you living an inspired life? Are you engaging in activities that you desire, that make you happy? Engaging in activities that have meaning to your true, authentic self brings you tremendous joy. Find out what is meaningful to you and pursue those activities.
8. “Cultivate physical, Mental and Spiritual Health”
We are physical beings living in a physical world. We need to tend to our bodies, our minds as well as our spirits. Eating right, exercising and practising our spiritual beliefs on a daily basis with help cultivate the seeds of happiness.
9. “Pursue Pleasure”
Do things that bring you total JOY. Things that inspire you, please you and provide you with a boundless sense of love and joy. We all know that feeling; we just need to make it a priority to pursue pleasure!
7 Steps to Happiness
We are human and we require structure and repetition to alter our behaviours and ultimately alter our lives. Having steps to support your goals is essential.
1. Meditation or Prayer
Find a meditation that works for you and practice it every day! It is that simple. Give yourself the time to release everything, to be in the moment change your life.
No matter what your situation or condition you must move your body! We are human and our bodies are required to be fluid to function properly. This functioning is not limited to the physical self it also influences your mental health and spiritual health. Remember we are a whole being.
Proper sleep is essential for our physical and mental wellbeing. It is our time to regenerate and recover from the experiences of the day. Without proper sleep, your body will be running on a constant deficit and will always be compromised. Thus making it all that more difficult to obtain happiness and wellbeing.
4. Proper Nutrition
As with exercise, we must acknowledge we are human beings with basic needs to function properly. Eating right will provide you with the optimum resources necessary to attain your physical, mental and spiritual goals.
Simple enough but most of us do not breathe deeply enough to engage our bodies and provide our cells with all the necessary nutrients to function properly. Practice deep breathing throughout the day whenever you remember.
Humour ultimately is the best medicine. From a physical perspective, it releases endorphins in our body, which makes us feel better, and it releases pent up emotions that if not released become toxic to our body. The more we can laugh at ourselves the healthier and happier we will be.
7. Practice, Practice, Practice
The excerpts above are from one of my favourite books The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler MD.
Happiness is what you need, for it. In case of any help, our happiness coach is just a click away www.myfitbrain.in helps you to connect you with your happiness.