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“You’re such a happy and positive person!” I hear this quite often in person and via social media. I can’t help it. I’m a happy person who always looks for the positive in any situation. Yes, I had an easier life than most, but I believe perspective and gratitude play a key role in my positivity. I’m excited to share five things you can do to be happier now. Growing up, I remember a sign my Mom had posted in our house by Charles Swindoll. I think she had multiple copies because I remember seeing it in multiple places… the bathroom is one of them. She was pretty smart 😉 I practically know this by heart.
“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It’s more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company…a church….a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past…we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude…I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you…we are in charge of our attitudes.”
1. CHOOSE GRATITUDE
This can sound hard when things get tough, but I promise you if you choose gratitude, you’ll find silver linings and you will be happier now. These are all things you have to learn, practice and turn into a habit before it can make a difference in your life. We all have so much to be thankful for, whether it’s having a roof over our heads or simply being alive. Every day when you wake up, say something you’re grateful for first thing. I wake up every single day so darn grateful to call America home. Being from an immigrant family who left communist Vietnam, this holds so much weight for me.
We can all use a little help and The Five Minute Journal is something both Johnny and I use. For the first task of the day, it asks you to list something you’re grateful for, big or small. To be honest, it really put things in perspective for me when my Dad first fell. I remember a few months later, flipping through the pages and seeing, “My Dad is alive” for weeks. That stopped me dead in my tracks and reminded of how much I have to be thankful for.
2. BOOST YOUR CONFIDENCE
Nothing makes us happy like getting a win under our belt. Whether it’s something simple such as making the bed or getting dressed for the day or remembering you have a secret talent, give yourself an easy win. Part of being happy is also telling yourself you’re good at it. After all, why would we do something we’re bad at? Whether you want to prioritize your time to do something you enjoy or picking up around your home, find something to boost your confidence. Trust me, it’s there. Remind yourself of these little wins so when you need to do something big, you feel ready for it.
3. END NEGATIVE THINKING
We are all guilty of this, myself included, even if it’s in small doses. However, it’s when we let patterns of negative thinking overtake our lives we end up unhappy. What does that mean? We are making ourselves miserable and unhappy. Yup, us. Stop complaining and thinking about how we can’t get the promotion we wanted, how so-and-so wronged us, how our friend was able to close on a new house but we can’t, etc. Consciously make a decision to cut out worrying, self-judgment and fear of rejection will make you happier. If you find yourself spiraling, stop and change your thoughts. This is hard, but in time your brain will learn to do this more easily and you’ll be happier now.
4. NOURISH YOUR VALUES
What is truly important to you? Is it family? Being financially secure? Is it fostering a passion you’ve always had but never made time for? When you re-evaluate and re-visit your value system, you may discover you may have known how to make yourself happy all along. This will be different for everyone and that’s perfectly okay! We are all different. Being autonomous will lead you to happiness.
For me, it’s family and financial freedom. I want quality memories with my loved ones I can look back on when I’m older. Having billions of dollars in the bank does nothing for me. I just need to be able to provide for my family in every way possible and to eliminate any monetary stress.
5. PRACTICE MINDFULNESS
Mindfulness is being aware of and accepting all of your thoughts and emotions, including the good and the bad. Shunning out bad emotions doesn’t do anyone any good. Trust me, shoving them into a box will come back to haunt you at some point. By increasing our awareness and acceptance of how we’re feeling and why we are feeling that way, we can be on a path to happiness.
Being Buddhist, mindfulness meditations are essential to me and I practice them daily. Feel free to do your own research and find what works for you. These can range from just 10 minutes to hours but it’s important you find one you connect with and helps you!