We do a lot (okay, basically everything) in order to be happy: Go to school, graduate, go to school again, get a job, climb the ladder, work 70 hours a week, get promoted, feel successful. Or maybe it looks more like this for you: fall in love, feel excited, get bored, break up, feel sad, fall in love again, repeat patterns, fall in love, get engaged, get married, feel supported. But do all those things actually make you feel happy? It’s possible they do, but they can leave you in a constant chase or pursuit of happiness, feeling like you never quite got it.
- When’s the last time you slowed down, or stopped and really took a look around?
- How often do you sit in stillness in a state of awe at the way life unfolds?
- What have you done to tell the people you love you appreciate them?
- When is the last time you made time to experience nothing but happiness?
- Why are you doing all the things you are doing if you could just be happy?
My guess is the answer to those questions are things you want to do, or plan on doing, but often are the first to get kicked to the sidelines when you get busy. That’s completely understandable, but totally illogical. Why would you stop doing the one thing that brings you the most happiness in order to do other things that aim (but often fail) at getting you to that experience? Success, achievement, connection, growth… these are all wonderful things to strive for, but probably because you think they’ll lead to feeling happy. There’s an easier way!
Here’s the secret: Spend more time in a state of happiness. It’s very simple, and it takes only three minutes each day to kickstart a happier you. Adding this process into your daily routine could be the most valuable time spent. Doing an exercise like this not only changes your perception of reality, it also is proven to lower blood pressure, drop stress and cortisol levels, and increase the overall feeling of well being.
Carve out three minutes of your time for this day-enhancing and life-changing practice:
- Minute 1: Quiet your mind. Sit or lie in a place where you are safe, preferably alone. Close your eyes and start by taking five deep breaths. On your inhales, focus on breathing in a feeling of rejuvenation. On the exhale, experience your body relaxing. Allow your body to remain still, take five more breaths, and focus on your mind. On your inhale, take your attention to whatever thought is present, and on the exhale, imagine yourself releasing it.
- Minute 2: Focus on happiness. With your mind and body calm and peaceful, bring a little excitement into this exercise by focusing on a thought that brings you pure joy. There are no limits to what this could be. Notice what changes happen in your body. Then shift your experience, begin to feel that same level of happiness actually coming from you, rather than from an outer circumstance. Notice what it feels like to produce happiness.
- Minute 3: Say thank you. For the last minute, just let gratitude pour out of you for everything and everyone in your life. Let this flow as stream of consciousness. Nothing is too silly or small to mention. If this is hard at first, just think of the same thing for one minute. You may soon find that you want to expand this to more than one minute. At the end, just say a big universal “Thank You” to everything you brought your attention to. Smile through your entire body, inside and out, for a few moments and capture that feeling. Hold onto it – that’s happiness.
This simple exercise can be repeated daily, or multiple times a day whenever you need a boost. It’s amazing how a “shitty day” can turn into a “miraculous day” by simply shifting your perception and using this simple tool. Have fun with this, enjoy it, and be happy.