Like blood joyfully dancing in your veins happy.
Or peace calming your whole body happy.
Or deep soul fulfillment happy…
OK, so this may seem like a no-brainer, but the fact is that our brains have something called “negativity bias.” It's easier to focus on the negative and we all do it unconsciously. However, it makes us miserable!!! A client was just telling me how she's become a complainer at work because everyone else is complaining. Another finds constant fault with her husband. And, most of my clients have negative brain chatter about themselves all day long. If you want to be happy, you need to get intentional about positivity.
- An easy hack: Daily Happiness – Do ONE thing every day that makes you happy. Whether that's taking a walk in the park, coloring, or working on a purpose idea, if you know that you HAVE to do a happy hack every day, you're more likely to do it, look forward to it, and savor it. One of my clients did this for a month and it changed her happiness for at least a year later.
We're so busy running around doing-doing that we often miss the moment we're in. I was speaking at a conference for female
attorneys when a woman shared, “Oh my goodness, I was bathing my daughter last night and on my cell phone the whole time.” We've all done this and to be happier, you need to get present. Turn off your phone at dinner, go play with your child, sit in nature for 10 minutes, bring your mind back when it wanders.
- Here's a hack: Find an activity that puts you in flow – one where you lose track of time and focus solely on the joy at hand. You may think you don't have time for it, but you actually don't have time to not do it. Your brain needs to be present and to be in flow to be happy. One of my clients resisted this but once she joined a singing group, she not only became happier, but a group member offered her a job because of her attitude!
Humans are social creatures. We need each other to thrive, but research shows that in our busy lives, spending quality time with friends is one of the first things to go. Deep down, we're hungry for connection but instead, we stuff ourselves with food, alcohol and social media. In my groups, women are consistently amazed that they become best friends the first day of the retreat. Of course they do – we're all hungry for real relationships where we can cry, laugh, scream, be heard, and be held without judgement. We need people who believe in us and lift us up!
- Happiness hack: Put boundaries (like not always answering the phone) around the negative draining relationships in your life (you know which ones they are) and get vulnerable with like-minded souls. Go on a retreat, find a sisterhood, let yourself connect deeply – even when it's scary – and you'll never feel alone again.
- Purpose hack: Start where you are and take the pressure off! Get curious about when you love being you and do more of that. Think you may love teaching? Volunteer one day with kids. An example: One of my clients wanted to empower high school girls but couldn't figure out how to turn it into a career so I suggested that she do it at her church. Another one of my clients – a top corporate exec who wants to teach meditation – started a weekly meditation class at her company. Or, do my free Living on Purpose guide to get you started!
When you feel overwhelmed, exhausted, depressed, and stuck, the last thing you want to do is take action. However, that's exactly what you need. Action is the best antidote to depression. Action puts you into motion. Action creates momentum. Action makes you feel good about yourself, which in turn leads to more action.
- Hack: Pick one thing on your to do list you've been procrastinating on, but it will make your heart happy to do it, and do that. Even if you're afraid – especially if you're afraid – do it. Today. NOW! Then CELEBRATE yourself for doing it!!! Your brain loves celebration because it tells the brain to do more of that, so have a party and keep yourself achieving what's in your heart.