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How to Change Your Life From Disappointment to Happiness With 10 Simple Steps

How to Change Your Life From Disappointment to Happiness With 10 Simple Steps

Here it is, another day gone and another series of disappointments. How is it that life got so, well, disappointing?

It wasn’t like that before.  When you were a kid you hated to go to bed at night. You didn’t want to miss anything. You couldn’t wait for summer vacation or a trip to Disneyland or having your best friend sleep over. When did your life go from happy anticipation to not wanting to get out of bed in the morning?

How can you change your life from disappointment to happiness?

The simple answer is viewpoint. How we view something, whether we dread it or look forward to it with bright anticipation determines the actual outcome. The life wrecking viewpoints have snuck in on us so quietly that we didn’t even see them come in and yet here they are, like unwelcome guests that never know when it is time to leave. And here we are, wondering how we got so negative.

There is a way out of it. There are ways to change your viewpoints and thus your actions which will allow you to experience happiness. Here are some simple steps to help you get started.

1. Go into life with less expectation and more exploration.

If you expect life and situations to be a certain, set way no matter what happens, you are doomed to disappointment.

A good example of this is a wedding. Many young girls have a certain view of “Their special day” This is the day where everything must be absolutely “perfect”. There must be no hiccups. The bride’s dress must be perfect, the bride herself will have to lose 20 pounds so she looks her best. The band must perform exactly the right songs at the right time, the caterers cannot step one foot out of line and then maybe, just maybe, everything will be “perfect”. These weddings are almost never “perfect” in every way. How can they possible be? And the bride feels that the day is completely ruined.

How many young ladies have been stressed out of their minds and had melt downs on their wedding day because everything wasn’t “perfect”?

What if a young bride went in with the idea “Whatever happens, it will be perfect!”

She could then plan her wedding without stress. If she were to have that idea, everything that happened that day would be a delightful surprise! Everything that occurred would be meant to be and everything will have been perfect.

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Surprise is what makes life so much fun. If we try to avoid surprises, life becomes like reading the end of the murder mystery and finding out who dunnit before we start reading the beginning. Boring and disappointing!

The most fun I have ever had has been the result of happy accidents that I or someone else, somehow turned into amazing experiences. Life is full of curve balls. Catch them and learn how to turn them into something new and amazing.

2. Learn to trust yourself to handle any situation.

I know that if you feel your life is disappointing you have been through some pretty tough times so far. A lot of people who have been around for awhile have been through some really hard times, but guess what, we are still here! We are still breathing and carrying on. Somehow or other, we got out of it and got ourselves back on track.

It is unrealistic to think that we will never have tough times but it is empowering to know that whatever happens in life, we can and will figure out how to handle it. We all know people who have survived something we are sure that we, ourselves would never survive and yet here they are.

Think back to a really tough situation that you had some time in the past. Perhaps you can even think of many. Well, you got yourself out of all of those didn’t you? It is really amazing how many scrapes we have gotten ourselves out of. When things get tough, think back on the things that you handled and handled well. There are probably more times than you think.

Life has no guarantees and we will go through tough times that try our confidence in ourselves. Just know during those times, that you have found your way this far, you will find your way again.

3. Don’t relive moments in the past and kick yourself over how you handled them.

We live in the present and we all make mistakes. The bigger the spirit of the person and the more active he or she is, the more mistakes they will make. Mistakes are part of the learning curve of life.

It is ok to look back and say to yourself, “How could I have handled that differently and gotten a better result?” That is legitimate as long as you don’t kick yourself for your handling in the first place. If you knew how to handle it correctly, you would have done so.

Give yourself a break and move on. If there is someone in your life who constantly reminds you of your mistakes and criticizes you, get them to knock it off or get rid of them! They are no friend to you and can be quite harmful.

4. Treat yourself as though you were someone else.

When you love someone, you cut them slack, don’t you? You forgive them, don’t you? Yet, there is no one harder on us than we are on ourselves. There is also no one else’s criticisms that are as harmful as the criticisms that we level at ourselves.

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We will eventually become what we think about ourselves  Here is a good rule of thumb: Never say something to yourself or think something about yourself that you would not say to someone you love.

Have you ever said something unkind to someone you cared about and were filled with regret? It was painful to see that you had hurt that person. You probably had trouble getting over it. Why then is it ok to say unkind things to yourself? It is supremely destructive! Resist the impulse to think negative things about yourself.

5. Don’t let the external influences of others distract you from getting what you want.

Here is one thing to remember: whatever someone else thinks of us or says to us has no effect on us until such time as we start to believe it ourselves.

When you start out after a goal, chances are there is someone in your world that will disagree that this is what you should be doing especially if it goes against the ideas that our society has with regard to how everyone should live. It is amazing some of the things you will hear from people.

There are people who will tell you that they know you and you will fail. Others will tell you that you can’t make a living doing (blank). When someone comes to you with that nonsense (and it is nonsense) just know that you are dealing with jealousy or with the person’s own knowledge that they could never achieve the goal you are now going after. Either way, that is in their universe, don’t let it become a part of yours.

All through my life, I have had some pretty wild and different goals. At the same time I have had many people come out to tell me that I should not pursue them. There were many reasons but they were not my reasons. As long as I refused their reasons, I was ok. I got what I wanted. No one, including you, knows what you are capable of until you do something spectacular.

6. Seek out the unknown and embrace it

The world is a great and wonderful place. There are so many people and cultures out there creating beauty, traditions, art and magic. When you go out and open yourself up to experiencing these things, nothing is ever the same. The more you interact with people, the more you find out that we have so much in common. People create these beautiful things and experiences for the enjoyment of others.

Michelangelo's Pieta in St. Peter's

    Chefs create amazing meals, artists create beautiful things to look at and experience, families and cultures create amazing traditions, all so that others can enjoy them. Let them give you that gift. Let them show you their worlds.

    There is nothing that fills you with childlike wonder like seeing new and amazing things. Go out and find them. They could be in your neighborhood. There are unusual restaurants, there are museums and natural wonders. Go experience them!

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    7) Turn off bad news

    Bad news has a very negative affect on us when we hear it and, if we hear it day in and day out, it creates an idea in our minds that the world is a dangerous and hostile place. I used to have this idea until I started travelling. I have ended up in some crazy situations in different parts of the world and have been awestruck at the kindness and generosity of people whose only desire was to assist me. I have friends all over the world and they are all good, honest and kind people.

    Here is a news flash: People are good! Sure there are a few bad apples but the good and great apples outweigh them greatly! If you listen to the news, you get the idea that there are people everywhere out to harm you. This is just not true. Turn off the bad news an listen to music instead.

    Tune into shows that focus on the good in people and not the bad. Try it for a week and see how you feel.

    8) Focus on what you have accomplished and not what you haven’t

    Sit down with a piece of paper and write all of the things you have done that turned out ok or good. Keep writing. You will be surprised at how well you are doing in life.

    Another question you might want to ask yourself is “Is there someone in the past or present who would be disappointed in me?” Association with people who are critical can be very harmful to the way we view ourselves. Is  it possible that your disappointment with yourself is not your disappointment at all but someone else’s?

    If you find this to be true, understand that their disappointment is not yours. They created it, let them own it. It has nothing at all to do with you. Shrug it off and start seeing how well you are really handling your life.

    9) Stop focusing on what Is wrong with others and start looking for the good.

    Not only is focusing on the negative extremely damaging to yourself and destroys your happiness, but it is very damaging to the people you do it to.

    When your son cleans his room, bite your tongue instead of pointing out that he failed to clean the window sills. Praise him for what he did do. Chances are he will do better next time. Be an example for those around you but don’t focus on the ways you feel that they don’t measure up. You will all be happier.

    For a long time I was this way with my kids. I tried so hard to get them to be good and responsible adults. the more I focused on the negative, the more they resisted and the more upsets we had. When I completely stopped looking at the negative and started looking at and pointing out what was right with them, our relationship magically mended and they stepped up. In short, I didn’t make them do the right thing or be the right way, I allowed them to figure out what was right and how they wanted to be. They are now happy and productive and, best yet, I don’t have to worry about them in life. I know they will be fine.

    10) Plan a vacation, go to Disneyland or have a sleepover!

    Just because we are adults doesn’t mean we have to stop enjoying life. If you are enjoying life, it doesn’t mean that you are not doing it right. Being serious sounds virtuous but it is NOT! You are actually more productive when you are having fun!

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    Sit down right now and figure out what special treat would make you happy. No matter what it is, plan it out step by step and start putting it into action. Then plan several more.

    When you have a lot of cool things on your calendar, instead of looking at life as a series of burdensome chores, you start thinking of it as a series of cool vacations or fun things that happen to have some work and some chores mixed in. Nothing gets you through a tough week at work like knowing you are taking off on a ski vacation or even a camping trip. Plan them and go!

    I know I promised you ten things but I can’t resist giving you this FREE BONUS THING!

    As you do these steps, you will see patterns emerge in life. You will see other ways you can be happier just by changing the way you look at things.

    The best way to change your life and your viewpoints is to look at your own ideas toward the various aspects of life. A good start is to decide what the absolute best and ideal you is.

    Several years ago I wrote a short story entitled “The Holy Man”. In the story, the Holy Man is strong, courageous, honest, compassionate, loving and persistent. In fact, he is the embodiment of all of the best qualities that I most admire in a person. He accomplishes great things.

    I had a lot of soul searching to do when I created that character and I wondered long and hard where he had come from. How could little old me come up with someone so perfect?

    After much reflection, I realized that this Holy Man was me. No, not the me who lives on this earth and makes mistakes and has done all of the above things that have made me unhappy, but me at my most perfect. It is who I am when I embody all of these admirable characteristics. I must have them in me because I created this character.

    And If I have them in me then I know you have them in you.

    The question you should ask yourself is “Who is my Holy Man?” Everybody has one.

    What would your Holy Man do? What would he or she think? How would they react? This Holy Man would be the ideal you, the you at your most beautiful, your most powerful, your most intelligent, your most fearless and your most compassionate. That is the real you. Get to know your Holy Man. Ask yourself what viewpoint would that person have? Adopt that viewpoint and do what he or she would do. You will know it is correct.

    Good luck!

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    Last Updated on May 20, 2019

    How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Past or Future

    How to Live in the Moment and Stop Worrying About the Past or Future

    We sometimes hear people talk about the importance of living in the moment. We might hear about the different ways it will benefit us. It all sounds wonderful, but how exactly can we live in the moment when our mind is constantly racing?

    In this article, we’ll discuss some of the benefits of living in the moment you may not be aware of. Then we’ll look at some of the obstacles, and why we worry. Finally, and most importantly, I’ll show you how to live in the moment and stop worrying using some simple practices that you can easily incorporate into your busy schedule.

    The result: a happier and more fulfilling life.

    Why Live in the Moment?

    “The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” – Buddha

    Living in the moment has innumerable benefits. Here are just a few that will enhance your life tremendously:

    Better Health

    By reducing stress and anxiety, you avoid many of the associated health consequences, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity. Studies have shown that being present can also improve psychological well-being.[1]

    Improve Your Relationships

    Have you ever been with someone who is physically present, but mentally he’s a million miles away?

    Being with unavailable people is a struggle, and makes relationships with them extremely difficult.

    How about being with someone who is fully present? We enjoy being with him because we can make a much deeper connection with him.

    By living in the moment, you can be that person other people enjoy being with, and you make relationships much easier.

    Greater Self-Control

    You have greater control over your mind, body, and emotions. Imagine how much better your life would be if it weren’t at the mercy of a racing mind, and unpredictable emotions. You would certainly be more at peace, and much happier.[2]

    Why Do We Worry?

    Before we answer this question, it’s important to distinguish between worry and concern.

    When we are concerned about something, we are more likely dealing with a real problem with realistic solutions. Then once we do whatever we can to address the problem, we’re willing to live with the outcome.

    Worrying, on the other hand, involves unrealistic thinking. We may worry about a problem that doesn’t really exist, or dwell on all the bad things that can happen as a result. Then, we feel unable to deal with the outcome. Either way, we have difficulty dealing with uncertainty, which is a normal part of life.

    Certainly, some of our problems may not have desirable outcomes, such as a serious health issue. Some problems may be beyond our control, such as civil unrest or economic downturn. In such cases, it can be hard to avoid worrying, but not impossible.

    We sometimes worry when we don’t know how to deal with a problem. For example, have you ever received a letter from the IRS telling you that you owe more money than you thought, and don’t have the funds to pay it? This is enough to scare anyone who is not familiar with taxes.

    How to Live in the Moment

    Step 1: Overcome Worrying

    In order to overcome worrying, we need to do two things:

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    Learn How to Live in the Moment

    By living in the moment, you calm your mind, and are able to see more clearly.

    The reason some problems seem so daunting is that our mind is racing so fast that we cannot see things as they truly are. So we make up a bunch of possible scenarios in our mind, most of which are unlikely to come true.

    In addition to seeing more clearly, living in the moment will help us think more realistically. Unrealistic thinking is fueled by confusion and uncontrolled emotions. Calming your mind will reduce confusion and calm your emotions.

    Learn to Focus on Solutions Instead of Problems

    Some people tend to be more solution-oriented, and others more problem-oriented. Some of the factors that may determine this are gender, upbringing, and education.

    People with higher educations tend to be problem-solvers. That is what their years of education train them to do. In addition, their jobs probably reinforce this way of thinking.

    If you’re not problem-solving oriented, don’t worry. You can train yourself to worry less. We’ll discuss that soon.

    Step 2: Identify Obstacles to Living in the Moment

    In today’s busy world, it can be a challenge to live in the moment. The reasons revolve around how our mind works, and outside influences.

    Racing Mind

    Many busy people have a racing mind that never seems to slow down. Their mind gets so agitated from too much sensory stimulation.

    You see, anything that stimulates any of our five senses (sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell) will trigger a thought, and that thought leads to another, and then another, and so on.

    If you have a busy life, all your activities will overstimulate your mind, and make it seemingly impossible to slow it down. And an agitated mind wants to go to another place and time.

    Unpleasant Situations and Troublesome Past

    None of us want to be in unpleasant situations, or remember those of the past. They can bring up painful emotions, which we don’t want to feel.

    So how do most people cope with painful emotions?

    By doing whatever we can to avoid them, and we can avoid them by taking our mind to another place and time where things are more pleasant.

    In other words, we avoid living in the present moment.

    Some people resort to doing things that stimulate sensory pleasure, such as eating, alcohol or sex. Others will consume substances that dull their mind, and keep them from thinking about unpleasant or stressful situations.

    A Wandering Mind

    From the moment we are born (likely sooner) until the time we die, our body and mind are active performing some function. So it’s natural for our mind to have some level of activity, whether conscious or unconscious.

    Generally, a wandering mind is unproductive. As noted above, one thought starts an endless chain of thoughts. The reason is that one thought reminds us of something else, and this process can go on until we need our mind to perform a specific function, or until we get distracted with something else.

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    Now, there are times when a wandering mind can be productive, such as when creating works of art, or trying to find creative solutions to problems. In such cases, we need our mind to explore different possibilities.[3]

    Outside Influences

    Most of us are not fully aware of how our environment and social norms influence our thinking and behavior. People and institutions are constantly competing for our attention. The news media draw our attention to the past, and advertising usually to the future.[4]

    Many people around us who dwell on the past or future try to draw us to their way of thinking. Even the whole concept of the American dream is geared toward the future. It tells us that if we acquire things like a good career, family, and house, then we’ll be happy.

    Step 3: Practice Mindfulness

    So how can we live in the moment in a world that is constantly trying to draw our attention to the past and future?

    Before we get into concrete actions you can take, it’s important to understand what mindfulness is. You’ve probably heard the term before, but may not fully understand what it means.

    Understand Mindfulness

    The concept of mindfulness is actually quite simple. To be mindful IS to live in the moment.

    When you are mindful, your attention is focused on what is happening in the present moment. When you are mindful, you are fully in touch with reality because the present moment is where reality is taking place.

    You are aware of what is happening in your body, mind, emotions, and the world around you. This is different than thinking about these things. To develop greater understanding, you don’t have to think about them so much, but rather just observe them.

    This may be counter-intuitive to many people, especially intellectuals, because they’re so used to using logic to develop greater understanding. With mindfulness, we calm our mind and emotions so we can see clearer. Then much of our understanding will come from simply observation. When we develop mindfulness, we literally expand our awareness.

    To develop mindfulness, we need to train ourselves to observe things more objectively, that is, without our emotions or preconceived ideas influencing our views.

    You’d be surprised to find out just how much your emotions and past experiences influence your judgments. What many of us do, including intellectuals, is make a quick judgment about a person or situation, then add the reasoning afterwards. That is not logic, but rather rationalization.

    When you are mindful, you reserve judgment until you have more information. Notice how I said “more information,” and not “complete information.” It is impossible to have complete information about something because there are infinite numbers of factors affecting it. So the best thing to do is be as objective as possible, and always be open to new information.

    Viewing the world in this manner can be a challenge, and takes some practice to overcome years of habitual thinking. But it can make our lives infinitely more fulfilling, as we’ll be able to make much better decisions that will result in real happiness and inner peace.

    So if you’re ready to live a better life, read on for some simple mindfulness practices that you can incorporate into your busy life to help you live in the moment, that is, reality.

    You don’t have to do all of them, but rather choose the ones that appeal to you, and suit your lifestyle.

    Mindfulness Meditation

    Mindfulness meditation is the mainstay of developing mindfulness and living in the moment. To practice mindfulness meditation, all you really have to do is sit quietly and follow your breathing. When your mind wanders off, just bring it back to your breath.

    Notice how your lungs expand with each in-breath, and contract with each out-breath. Let your breathing become relaxed and natural.

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    You don’t have to do it perfectly. The idea is to give your mind a rest from the constant sensory stimulation of all your activities, and just allow it to settle down naturally. Start with about 5 to 10 minutes per day and work your way up to about 20 minutes or longer.

    This practice is highly effective, and can have both short-term and long-term benefits.

    If you want to learn more about mindfulness meditation, take a look at this article: How to Practice Mindful Meditation to Calm Your Thoughts

    Also, there are many good books on the market that explain the concepts and techniques in greater detail. Some examples are

    Mindful Breathing

    While this may sound the same as mindfulness meditation, all you’re really doing is taking short breaks occasionally (10 to 15 seconds) to observe your breathing. Stop whatever you’re doing, and take a few mindful breaths, then resume your activity. That’s it.

    You can do mindful breathing at any time of the day during your busy schedule. What it does is interrupt the acceleration of your mind. It is like taking your foot off the accelerator while driving. It’s a nice refreshing break you can take without anyone noticing.

    Here’re some breathing exercises you can try to learn: 5 Breathing Exercises for Anxiety (Simple and Calm Anxiety Quickly)

    Mindful Walking

    Walking is an activity that you perform several times throughout the day. We often think we’re being productive by texting, or calling someone while walking. But are we really?

    Instead of getting on your cell phone, or letting your mind wander off, why not use your walking for training yourself to live in the moment?

    Mindful walking is similar to mindful breathing. But instead of focusing on your breath, focus on your walking. Pay attention to each footstep. Also, notice the different motions of your arms, legs, and torso. When your mind wanders off, just bring your attention back to your walking.

    You can even make a meditation out of walking. That is, go walking for a few minutes outside. Start by slowing down your pace. If you slow down your body, your mind will follow.

    In addition to paying attention to your walking, notice the trees, sunshine, and critters. A mindful walk is enjoyable, and can really help your mind settle down.

    Mindful Eating

    Eating is an activity that most of us perform mindlessly. The reason is that it doesn’t require your attention to perform. So what many of us do is try to multitask while we eat. We may talk on the phone, text, watch TV, or even hold a meeting.

    The problem with not eating mindfully is that we don’t eat what our body and mind need to perform at an optimal level. We may eat unhealthy foods, or too much. This can lead to various health problems, especially as we get older.

    Mindful eating has many health benefits, such as reduced food cravings, better digestion, and even weight loss.[5]

    So how do you eat mindfully? Start by slowing down, and avoid the temptation to distract yourself with another activity. Here are 3 different aspects of eating where you can practice mindfulness:

    • Eating itself: Focus your attention on choosing a portion of food to insert into your mouth. Notice the smell, flavor, and texture as you chew it; then finally swallow it. As with following your breath during meditation, pay close attention to every aspect of eating.
    • Choice of foods: Although you’ve already chosen your food before you have begun eating, you can still take the opportunity to contemplate your choices. Think about the nutrients your body needs to sustain itself. Ask yourself, “Is this what my body and mind need to be healthy, and perform at an optimal level?” “Is it sufficient, or too much?” By asking yourself these questions, you will be more inclined to make better choices in the future.
    • Contemplating the sources: Most of us don’t think about all the work it takes to provide us with the food we eat. While you’re eating, consider all the work by the farmer, shipping company, and the grocery store. These are real people who worked hard to provide you with the food necessary for your survival.

    You can find more tips about mindful eating here: 7 Simple Steps to Mindful Eating

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    Mindful Activities

    Choose an activity that you perform regularly, such as washing dishes. Focus all your attention on this activity, and resist the temptation to let your mind wander, or get distracted. When it does, then just bring your attention back to washing dishes.

    Notice some of the specific movements, or sensations of washing dishes, such as how the soapy water feels on your hands, the circular motion of scrubbing the dish, or the rinsing. You’d be surprised at how such a mundane activity can truly expand your awareness.

    You can choose any activity you like, such as ironing, folding clothes, mowing the lawn, or showering. Over time, you will begin doing all these activities with greater mindfulness.

    Bonus Suggestion

    Here is one activity that is not generally considered a mindful activity. It is physical training. For those of you who already workout, it may be easy to see how physical training requires you to live in the moment.

    Here’s how it works:

    In order to perform an exercise to get the desired benefit, you need to use a proper technique. In order to use the proper technique, you need to pay close attention to how you are doing the exercise. In other words, you need to be fully present in the moment.

    Another aspect of training that helps you live in the moment is tuning into what is happening in your body. First, during exercising, you need to pay close attention to how your body feels. Are you exercising hard enough, or not enough?

    There are times to go easy, such as during warm-up exercises; and times to push yourself hard, such as when you’re warmed up and want to stimulate growth.

    Second, when you’re not in the gym training, you need to pay close attention to the signals your body is sending you. What nutrients and how much do you need to consume to support your training? How much rest do you need?

    By tuning in to your body, you force yourself to be in the moment. So, physical training done properly is just about as effective as meditation, or any mindful activity, for developing mindfulness. It’s also great for your health.

    Final Thoughts

    Practicing mindfulness is like regularly putting small amounts of change in a jar. They will all add up over time. And this will add up to greater peace and happiness.

    Remember, you don’t have to do the mindfulness practices perfectly to get the benefits. All you have to do is keep bringing your mind back to the present moment when it wanders off.

    Practicing mindfulness may be a bit challenging in the beginning; but I can assure you, it will get easier fairly quickly.

    The benefits of living in the moment are well within your reach, no matter how much your mind is racing. If you stick with these mindfulness practices, you too will learn how to live in the moment and stop worrying; and when you do, a whole new world will open up for you. This is what Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh calls the ultimate reality.

    Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

    Reference

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