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Five ways you steal happiness from yourself

Five ways you steal happiness from yourself

Isn’t happiness an elusive desire among all of us?

How many books, seminars and articles are written explaining how to achieve happiness and how to maintain it? Perhaps we sometimes lose out on happiness by focusing on the wrong things. We get so worried and caught up pursuing happiness that we never actually stop and really feel that happiness we have. Often it is the counter intuitive path that is actually the correct one. How many articles about happiness tell you that the way to achieve happiness is to set goals, have achievable aims, have a great job or be in a relationship? However, how many people have an amazing job and are unhappy? There are so many folks in good relationships and yet, they also feel miserable. Why would that be so?

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Here are some easy to use ideas about thinking differently about happiness. Do you fall into the trap of any of these thought habits?

1.Trying to impress others

Are all your decisions really your own? Do you ever bend your decision making to fit in with others or please others? It could be something relatively harmless such as which movie to watch or a restaurant in which to eat. Have you ever met successful people in good jobs, be that as a lawyer, a doctor or other professionals? Yes, they earn well but also, often, they feel down and miserable. Why? Medicine was what mom and dad wanted for them. It was not actually their own choice at all. Aim for choices that are good for you, not to please others.

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You steal your happiness when decisions are not in line with your gut or when you don’t listen to what you know to really be right for you. Happiness is about feeling a calm inner contentment about your choices and decisions. Try to please others and you will lead their life not your own life. Feel okay about expressing opinions that are unpopular. It is preferable to be true to you and find yourself in the minority than to conform and sacrifice your independence and feel weak.

2. Wishing to control everything, ourselves and everyone

We all need to feel that we are in control. However when you find it hard to go with the flow and relax, then anxiety increases. Think about all those things you actually can’t control. We all lack control over the weather, the stock market, world events and most importantly, other people’s behavior. Are you someone who allows rainy weather to bring your mood down? When you think clearly about it, you are simply wasting valuable energy on something you can’t control.

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Stephen Covey talks about two areas, your circle of concern and your circle of influence. You may be concerned about pollution,the snow, global terrorism, your children’s futures or what to prioritize today at work. We all have many concerns. Then of course, there is the circle of influence. What though can you really actually influence and affect in a meaningful way? Where these two circles overlap is where you can create change.

3. Having expectations that relationships should be fun and always make you happier

We have been speaking about happiness but have not talked about how you achieve it. In reality, happiness is not a goal in itself but a by-product. When you are living in line with your values and what you hold to be important and what brings you fulfillment, then happiness flows by itself. Relationships can be happy and relationships can be rocky and stormy. Happiness is the by-product of making the right decisions and living your life well. A relationship will not solve your self doubt or insecurities. The right relationship will help you face them and the wrong relationship could make them worse. Either way relationships bring you face to face with all your faults and insecurities and of course all those little bad habits. Great communication is always essential. You both need to talk it out sometimes. After all, the only real way to find happiness is to aim to be living with integrity, by expressing clearly your needs and asking for those needs to be met by loved ones.

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4. Waiting for the time to be 100% right before acting

Those things which we believe will bring us happiness always involve a leap of faith. A business venture is never guaranteed to be a magic wealth generator, you need to believe it will work and probably put some hard work in too. Committing to a relationship is about putting reservations aside and being prepared to open your heart to the possibility that your heart may get hurt. You can try to ‘look before you leap’, but no one has a crystal ball that can predict the exact outcome of future events. For many decisions in our lives, often the time will never feel exactly right, but if your instincts say yes, why not say yes too, wholeheartedly? Don’t allow past experiences to tell you that the future is something to be scared of. If you believe you can do it, don’t wait for the perfect time, since it will never arrive and you will regret not acting right now.

5. Expecting guarantees that things will always work out well

Scientists looking for cures for diseases such as cancer know that their first attempts won’t always result in success. They try and try and try again. Success is always about being rejected, failing and learning to do things better. There are never guarantees and taking risks is a part of the gamble.

There is a wonderful saying attributed to a therapy called NLP (Neuro-linguistic programming) that says that “There is no such thing as failure but only feedback.” In other words, you never failed the test but the experience gave you valuable feedback on how to do better next time and succeed. The team who lost the football match will look at the tactics, view the match and consider what could have been done differently. Calling yourself a failure is very unhelpful, especially if you realize that you never failed but simply at that time just needed more skills or more insight to succeed. A step back can actually hold the secrets to true success and happiness.

Featured photo credit: Stokpic via stokpic.com

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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