Happiness is something we all strive for in our lives. We all strive to feel happy and fulfilled in the many different layers of our lives, including our family life, our love life, our social life and our work life.
As a fitness coach, I advocate living a healthy lifestyle as a means to help achieve this state of happiness, because the stronger, healthier and fitter we feel, the happier we are going to be in ourselves.
Yet happiness is so much more that feeling healthy and fit. It comes from within. We decide how each day is going to be, almost on an unconscious level, from the moment we wake up. If we wake up stressing and worried, chances are the day will be filled with stress and worry. If we wake up feeling agitated and annoyed, chances are we are going to be moody and short tempered. If we wake up feeling positive and enthusiastic… Well, the whole day opens up to us and we often manifest opportunity and happiness.
Here are the 3 main keys that I have found are the foundation of my own happiness, and I think you might feel the same about yourself.
Gratitude & Contentment - Some of us are born into nurturing environments and are well provided for from a young age, yet others are not so fortunate. If you are a person who was not so blessed from birth, then the idea of feeling grateful might seem a little far-fetched. Yet some people who have very little in life can be very grateful and content, and others who seemingly have everything can be very discontent. Gratitude is about acknowledging all the good things in our lives, instead of focusing on what we don’t have or want to change. When we start to recognise the good things in our lives (such as being healthy, independent, and alive!), we develop a sense of contentment. Being content doesn’t mean we don’t still have goals we want to work towards, it just means that we are happy with who and where we are in life at this point in time. Once we start to cultivate gratitude into our lives, we become more content with ourselves and happiness flows into all aspects of our life.
So how do we work on feeling more grateful?
Try keeping a diary in which you record all the good things that happen to you. Simply taking the time to reflect back over the day and then write things down is a great way to become more aware of what we have to be grateful for. Try some mindfulness meditations or even meditations that are specifically focused on gratitude.
Morning affirmations. How you feel first thing in the morning can really impact on the way you approach the rest of your day. Because bad dreams or poor sleep can have us wake up in a bad mood. Set yourself a morning affirmation reminder next to your bed where you can see it and read it first thing. Something like “I will notice all the beautiful things in my day” or “I am happy to be alive and healthy”.
Compassion & Understanding - This is a really important aspect of happiness because it is all too easy to be hard on ourselves, or hard on others, simply for not living up to our expectations. At the end of the day, we are all human and we all make mistakes. So understanding that though we may let ourselves down at times, or feel let down by others, none of us can be perfect 100% of the time. We are all moving through lives learning as we go. We all have different experiences that have shaped us along the way. So holding onto anger, frustration or disappointment serves no purpose except to prevent us from feeling happy and content.
Remember that forgiveness is the kindest gift we can give ourselves, whether we are forgiving ourselves or another person. Because though we may not be excusing whatever upsets us, we are letting go of the anger or pain it may have caused. So we are lightening our lives and inviting happiness into it.
Passion & Love - They say “All you need is love”, however, I think passion is equally as important. Not just love of a partner, family and friends, but a love of what we do, where we live and how we spend our days. In order to find love in all areas, we need to follow our passions. Try to find passion in our work to help drive us, passion in our hobbies to help challenge us, passion in life in general. The more love and passion we have in our lives, the happier and more fulfilling our lives will be!