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Last Updated on July 31, 2019

11 Things to Do to Start Being Happy Today

11 Things to Do to Start Being Happy Today

Happiness can seem fleeting and momentary at times. What is it that happy people do differently?

Happy people developed a habit of being and only doing those things that bring them happiness. Here are 11 things that happy people frequently do to bring happiness into their lives. And these are things you can do now to start being happy.

1. Decide to Be Happy

Happiness really is a choice you have to make. Many of us get it wrong: We think that happiness is a byproduct of success, be it a high-paying job, a successful business, raising a family, or achieving a goal.

Ever heard of this old saying?

If I have the money, then I will do the things I want. Finally, I will be happy.

Yet, dissatisfaction and sadness often keep us from doing the things we want. We lack the enthusiasm and the vigor to do those things in the first place that we think will ultimately bring us happiness. I want to challenge your thinking a bit, and turn it around:

I will decide to be happy. Then I will do the things I want. Finally, I will get the money.

Wow! What a shift! I still remember the excitement and ah-ha moment when this was first presented to me. I thought about it for days afterwards. It has had such a large and profound impact on my life that I still talk about it, even after all these years.

2. Practice Gratitude Daily

When you start practicing gratitude, you re-frame your perception of the world. Whereas in the past, we tend to look at opportunities and resources as scarce, practicing gratitude helps us see limitless abundance.

By being grateful for the here and the now–even in the absence of the very thing you desire–you put yourself in harmony with the good that you desire. In other words you, start moving towards what you want.

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Did you know that you cannot get to your desires and your dreams from where you currently are? You have to first come from the place of your dreams. You have to first believe in it in order to see it.

Gratitude gets you believing it so that one day you will see it. Spend a few minutes in the morning, afternoon, and just before you go to bed, writing out 5 things each time for which you are grateful.

I’ve personally found it useful to use this time even during your break at work to recharge your batteries. The time you spend quieting your mind while writing out your list helps put things into a different perspective.

You can also try these 40 Simple Ways To Practice Gratitude.

3. Practice Affirmations Daily

Affirmations are simply positive, proactive statements you say to yourself. After all, how is this different than the negative mind-speak that occupies most of our inner dialogue?

Personally, I’d rather hear the recording of my brain tell me why I can do something instead of why I cannot. These statements can be something as simple as…

  • I am deserving of success and a good life.
  • I enjoy exercising and eating healthy foods.
  • I release [insert name of someone who really bugs you here] to his/her higher good and me to mine.

What’s important when saying these affirmations is repetition. We learn through repetition. Also, be emotionally vested when you compose your own affirmations and recite them. They should make you happy, excited, passionate, appreciative, blissful, and in general feel good. Hence, the name AFFIRMations!

Take a look at these 10 Positive Affirmations for Success that will Change your Life.

4. Meditate Daily

Take up the practice of meditation in order to help you stay focused and on track with your gratitude and affirmations. Through deliberate practice, meditation quiets your inner monologue and quells your negative mind-speak.

Find a quiet place and sit upright in your favorite chair. I prefer this to the cross-legged imagery we all hold as sitting in a chair is much more comfortable.

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Concentrate on your breathing as you slowly breathe in and out, dismissing with zero judgement and opinion any thought that enters your mind. Gently shoo them out of your mind. Now, as you constantly concentrate on your breathing, slowly relax every muscle in your body:

  • Starting from the top of your head, deliberately focus on relaxing the muscles in your head that you think with, your ears, your jaws, and your nose.
  • Moving down, relax your shoulders, your chest, your biceps, your arms, your hands, and the tips of your fingers.
  • Moving further down, consciously think about relaxing your stomach, your hips, your legs, your knees, your feet, and your toes.

All the while, concentrate on your breathing: breathe in and out. Dismiss any random thought that enters your mind, without judgement or reservation.

The idea is to develop a razor-sharp focus over time, develop the ability to manage the stressors in your life, develop the fortitude to respond to situations in a way of your choosing, and to ultimately find inner peace.

And one more thing: You’ll probably find your mind wandering the first few months of trying to meditate or even falling asleep; and that’s okay.

If you want to learn more about meditation, check out this guide: Meditation for Beginners: How to Meditate Deeply and Quickly

5. Laugh More

Find things to laugh at daily, whether it be putting on your favorite comedy while eating dinner, reading satire, or just playing with your pet. You might even consider laughing for the sake of laughing, as a change in your body affects your brain chemistry, which ultimately affects your mood.

Laugh and you will find yourself actually feeling better, even if you have been a sourpuss for hours beforehand. Consider joining a laugh yoga group and surrounding yourself with positive, upbeat people.

Laughing also helps you look for the good in things. Are you starting to see how things happy people do are synergistic?

6. Enjoy the Little Things

The ability to express gratitude and joy for the little things is important to achieving more happiness in your life. Simple things include a smile someone gave you, a cup of hot coffee on a cold day, a walk around the block to stretch your legs, a call from someone you love, and even just finding a dollar or two in the jacket you last wore months ago.

As you can also guess, finding joy in the little things opens your awareness to the abundance in the world. In this case, the abundance of things that bring you joy and bliss.

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7. Exercise Three Times a Week

I won’t tell you how good exercise is, for both your mind and your body. I won’t tell you that exercising releases endorphins in your brain, which is that feel-good high. I also won’t tell you that exercise leaves you feeling positive, reduces stress, alleviates or staves off depression, and increases your quality of sleep.

What I will tell you is that exercise boosts your self-esteem, self-image, and confidence. You feel more energetic and develop a new vitality for life. You will develop a discipline that you can apply to other areas in your life.

So, safeguard your wealth and your relationships by ensuring that you will be healthy to enjoy them.

8. Spend Quality Time With Your Loved Ones

Part of practicing gratitude, laughing more, and enjoying the little things is to spend quality time with the people you care about. They could be your lover, your children, your parents, your friends, or just your pets.

After all, life is mainly about serving others and helping to bring value into their lives. We are all fundamentally the same and want the same things. When you realize this, you will eventually learn to stop judging others for their appearance and start developing your compassion.

9. Make Time for Yourself

While it’s important to spend time with loved ones, it’s also important to carve out time for yourself to rest, relax, and recharge your batteries.

Spend time exercising, reading a good book, listening to music, meditating, writing, cooking, hiking, practicing your craft, or whatever it is that makes you happy.

Master your craft. When you master something, your self-esteem and confidence grows. In the process of doing so, you learn more about yourself while you develop greater focus, intuition, will, reason, awareness, and perception.

Start picking up these 30 Self Care Habits for a Strong and Healthy Mind, Body and Spirit.

10. Stop Blaming Other People

Happy people learned a long time ago to be proactive. Unhappy people tend to blame others for their conditioning and problems.

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By being proactive, you assume the mantle of responsibility for the direction your life is heading. Despite all outward appearances that control lies with someone else, you realize that there is really only one person who is responsible: You.

More importantly, you take responsibility for your life. Instead of saying to yourself, “I can’t do this because of that person, thing, condition, environment, etc.”, you start asking yourself, “What can I do? What can I do? What can I do?” 

In other words, you go from looking for reasons why you cannot to what you can do.

11. Start a Healing Journal

A journal acts as your deepest confidant, to whom you are able to share your deepest shame, anger, and frustration. It is by verbalizing in exact and specific terms that which is frustrating you over time and being specific in the role that it has in your life that you can start healing.

It is hard to heal when you have a vague or general idea what is bugging you. It is when you are able to describe in words, using highly specific language, that you are able to pinpoint the exact cause.

Your journal then is a source of healing. Healing is a necessary component for moving towards happiness. When we put all our energy on something negative, we only help to accelerate its growth. In other words, we get more of what we don’t want.

Get more inspirations about journaling here: Writing Journal for a Better and More Productive Self (The How-To Guide)

Final Thoughts

Decide today that you will be happy and start forming the habit of doing things that facilitate happiness. Practice gratitude and affirmations daily. Meditate to focus your mind and help cultivate your attitude–your response–to a given situation.

While you’re doing all these things, remember to laugh more, and enjoy the little things as they come along. It’s also important to spend quality time with your loved ones as well as make time for yourself. Remember that while life is best lived in the service of others that you have to take care of number one.

Of course, you have to protect your wealth and your relationships by making sure you are in good health to enjoy them. So, exercise at least three times a week. Finally, learn how to be proactive and take responsibility for your life and the choices you make (or don’t make). To help you with your healing from the wounds that rose from blaming other people, conditions, and environments, start a journal of healing.

Big changes come from minor tweaks. If these 11 things are too much for you to do at any one time or overwhelming for you, then pick a few that resonate with you and start with them.

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Featured photo credit: KAL VISUALS via unsplash.com

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Benson Wong

Benson aspires to help people shift their paradigms and live a more fulfilling life.

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Last Updated on July 3, 2020

How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life. To control your thoughts means to influence the way you live your life.

Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affects your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality)

I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive, and just a general waste of energy.

You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Be someone who can control your thoughts—become the master of your mind.

When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

I currently have a few thoughts that are not of my choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in control of your thoughts.

If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create unhealthy and unproductive thoughts.

1. The Inner Critic

This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

  • Other people’s words—many times your parents
  • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples’ expectations
  • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media
  • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance, and lack of self-love.

Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is youwhy else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

2. The Worrier

This person lives in the future—in the world of “what ifs.”

The Worrier is motivated by fear, which is often irrational and has no basis. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

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3. The Reactor or Troublemaker

This is the one that triggers anger, frustration, and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

This person can be set off by words or feelings and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control. He is run by past programming that no longer serves you—if it ever did.

4. The Sleep Depriver

This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

  • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
  • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
  • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity, and generalized anxiety
  • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

How can you control these squatters?

How to Master Your Mind

You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You can control your thoughts, but you must pay attention to them so you can identify “who” is running the show—this will determine which technique you will want to use.

Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

There are two ways to control your thoughts:

  • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
  • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

This second option is what is known as peace of mind.

The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go-to” thoughts in applicable situations.

Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

1. For the Inner Critic

When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

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You can also have a dialogue with yourself to discredit the ‘voice’ that created the thought—if you know whose voice it is:

“Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready.

This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

  • They rile up the Worrier.
  • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
  • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
  • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
  • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

2. For the Worrier

Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally, and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind, and creates anxiety in the body. This may make it more difficult for you to control your thoughts effectively.

You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tense

Use the above-stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time, you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

“Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense. Both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

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Now, take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like! Do it until you feel that you’re close to being in control of your thoughts.

Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

For example: If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

“I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place.

Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

“Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

3. For the Troublemaker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers. But until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain.

I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds—just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

Breathe in through your nose:

  • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
  • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
  • Focus on your belly rising.

Breathe out through your nose:

  • Feel your lungs emptying.
  • Focus on your belly falling.
  • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize. Now, you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior, and you’ll be more in control of your thoughts.

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One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

4. For the Sleep Depriver

(They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher, and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

  1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
  2. Then I came up with a replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and thoughts, and I choose quiet.

From the first time I tried this method, I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (closed, of course). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

You can also use this technique any time you want to:

  • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon
  • Shut down your thinking
  • Calm your feelings
  • Simply focus on the present moment

The Bottom Line

Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or destructive purposes.

You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable, and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. You can be in control of your thoughts. The choice is yours!

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Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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