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How to be Happy, Today, Tomorrow and for the Rest of your Life

How to be Happy, Today, Tomorrow and for the Rest of your Life

Happiness has become the latest fad. Since the Lehman brothers made their mess, we have changed. Mankind has seen the light and it comes in the form of inner bliss rather than external kicks.

We seem to finally realized that not only does money not guarantee happiness, it no longer guarantees security or position. Everything is volatile. Fighting is not an option, the only thing to do is surrender. Surrender the past life to the in vogue search for happiness.

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“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence” Aristotle

What do the Experts say? How to be happy?

Paul McKenna, Hypnotist and author of “I Can Make you Happy”

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Smiling can make you happy even when you don’t feel like it. In his book “I Can Make you Happy” he says whenever you smile you release serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that makes you feel good. McKenna also a NLP expert says that the more we repeat a thought or action and create repetition, this creates a neural pathway in the brain. The more we repeat it, the stronger the pathway becomes. Once we form the habit it’s then regulated by the unconscious mind. So what McKenna is saying is that we can create the Habit of Happiness without actually being happy.

Brian Colbert, Mind Coach and author of The Happiness Habit

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Colbert confirms McKenna’s views that Happiness can be created as a habit by training your brain to replace constant self criticism and depreciation with more useful ways of thinking. Colbert advocates replacing negative self talk with positive nurturing talk. It’s essential to become aware of how we speak to ourselves and ensure it is positive and constructive.

Martin Seligman, Positive Psychologist and author of “Learned Optimism”

Seligman also promotes the use of positive interior dialog which he says can positively impact depression, boost your immune system, develop your potential and make you happier. Human beings are generally optimists or pessimists, some of us were lucky to be born the former and the later type must work harder at being positive and optimistic. You will easily recognize a pessimist; when you get excited about something and they stomp on your dreams they will tell you they are just being realistic!! Whichever sort you are naturally it’s important to watch out for that inner dialog.

Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche Buddhist Monk and author of The Joy of Living

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Buddhism is perhaps the closest we have come to cracking the secret of happiness. In his book The Joy of Living, Rinpoche describes Buddhism as a way of doing things that fosters serenity, happiness and confidence and avoids things that provoke anxiety, hopelessness and fear. The essence of the Buddhist practice is not so much an effort at changing your thoughts or your behavior so that you can become a better person, but in realizing that no matter what you might think about the circumstances that define life, you are already good whole and complete.

If most happiness experts tell us that happiness is not something we can seek externally, then we must accept it comes from within, it comes from the acceptance that there is no search, that happiness is yours for the taking, all you have to do is accept that it’s yours and the present moment is all that you have.

Happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold, happiness dwells in the soul
Democritus

Featured photo credit:  Smiling teenage girl reading a book via Shutterstock

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Ciara Conlon

Productivity coach, speaker, blogger and author of Chaos to Control, a Practical Guide to Getting Things Done

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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