By Erica Sofrina, Motivational Speaker, Teacher and Author
Did you know that 40 percent of your capacity for happiness is within your own power to change?
Some myths about happiness are:
- We must go somewhere else to find it
- We’ll be happy if we change our circumstances
- We either have it or we don’t
(from The How of Happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky)
The fact is you can increase your happiness level with intention and practice. Like anything that is repeated over time, happiness can become a habit!
Gail Danchig, MA, the founder of Courageous Happiness®, teaches that by combining mindfulness, creativity and positive psychology, we can learn to better deal with challenging life issues and increase our level of happiness, resilience, optimism and well-being.
Who wouldn’t want that?
I asked Gail to share with our readers some of the exercises she uses in her Courageous Happiness® seminars that can become a part of a daily happiness practice.
Five things you can do that will increase your Happiness:
1- Keep a gratitude journal – Each night, write down three things you’re grateful for from that day. They can be simple gifts and appreciations of the day or big meaningful events that occurred. As you go to sleep, go over the three gratitudes in your mind, taking in the good feelings associated with those you expressed.
2 - Do something that stirs your creative juices, without letting the inner critic stop you from enjoying the process. Read or write a poem. Sing, draw or paint. Dance to your favorite music or new music. Try something you haven’t done before. Be wild and spontaneous!
3 – Write down 10 things that bring you joy. Commit to experiencing more of them every week. Make a “joy” date with yourself or someone else, doing one or more of the things on your list. Do this without judging yourself.
4 - Spend time in nature every week. Be present with the beauty of what you see, hear, smell and sense. Breathe it in. Later bring in the memory and experience of this place. Savor it. Use it as a resource for renewal anytime you need it. ( Read more: Your Personal Nature Meditation, , The Healing Benefits of Walking Barefoot, The Healing Benefits of Hugging a Tree)
5 – Practice Self-Compassion by doing this loving-kindness meditation: Find a quiet place to sit or lay down in a comfortable position. Close your eyes. Notice what’s going on in your body, mind and emotions, being with the way things are without judgment and without trying to change anything. Notice any sounds or sensations. Breathe slowly and deeply into your heart. Say these words to yourself: May I be peaceful. May I be well. May I be safe. May I be happy. May I be kind to myself. Take a couple more breaths. Then open your eyes slowly, noting your experience.
A commitment to a daily happiness practice is the ultimate gift we can give to ourselves. I encourage you to find time each day to use these simple yet powerful exercises and watch your happiness quotient grow!
Gail Danchig, MA, MFT, the founder of Courageous Happiness®, is a licensed psychotherapist, registered expressive arts therapist, educator and life coach, with a private practice in Marin County, CA. She offers workshops, groups and consultation in her studio and through various universities and agencies. To learn more about Gail’s work, go to www.CourageousHappiness.com
For more about Erica Sofrina you are invited to visit www.ericasofrina.com