You want happiness right? Isn’t this what drives us in all of our actions? Well you’re about to find out the one thing that you need to do to find happiness and why for most people it’s incredibly hard to find.
It’s deeply programmed into our psyche that getting happiness comes from getting ‘things’. If we aren’t happy, then we need to get more ‘things’. If you have the ‘things’ you thought would bring you happiness and you still don’t have happiness, then you simply go out and get MORE ‘things’. This is what they called ‘shopping therapy ‘ right?
A while ago we surveyed our audience to ask them what they were looking for most. We had a huge response and what we received astonished us. Our audience mostly wanted to manifest more wealth, then after that they wanted to have healthy, loving relationships, then the next highest, in third place, was to find their life purpose and a successful career. In fourth place was happiness. WHAT??? FOURTH!??? Seriously?
Then we delved deeper into the psychology of this and we realised that those surveyed most probably felt that if they had 1, 2 or 3 then they would find happiness anyway. They no doubt thought getting those ‘things’ would lead to happiness, which is why happiness was further down the list.
The challenge with trying to get those things is that it can exhaust us. More and more in today’s world we are trying harder and faster to get those ‘things’ and in the process we are getting highly stressed. I presented a talk the other day in front of 220 people and I asked them to be very honest with me and put up your hand if you were stressed, tired, anxious, or depressed. Guess how many put up their hand? About 90% of the room!
Here’s the catch, in the process of trying to get the ‘things’ we have become exhausted and stressed, which ironically prevents us form feeling happy when and IF we do get the ‘things’. The greatest barrier to you feeling happy isn’t whether or not you get the things, its STRESS. Recently I had a stress response in my body because of some circumstance that I was facing. Immediately I noticed that my whole body shifted. The feeling of lightness and happiness dissolved and fear and anxiety kicked in as my body was flooded with biochemical’s of adrenalin and cortisol. It’s a beautiful design by our body to protect us from danger. Your body will shut down happy biochemical’s like serotonin and produce fight-flight biochemical’s like cortisol. WHOOSHKA…. there goes happiness. The two cannot co-exist. Nup, not possible. Unlike Abott and Costello stress and happiness don’t go together.
So if you are struggling to find happiness in your life, the first step would be to eliminate the stress response. Please note, I didn’t say eliminate the thing that you feel might be causing the stress. This doesn’t mean get rid of your partner, your job or your latest wardrobe, it means getting rid of the response that your body is having to the circumstance, whether it is the past, present OR future. Stress is a response in your body and it’s something that with mindfulness, strategies and vigilance, you can eliminate.
Here are some strategies that can help you eliminate the stress response in your body so that you can coherently and non reactively make smarter choices about the direction of your life.
1. Reduce the amount of screen time on your smart phone. (How can a smart phone create stress? Its constantly overstimulation your nervous system making it less resilient and more reactive to when situations arise that are challenging.)
2. Take time out each day to pause, and let your mind, body and nervous system recalibrate. This can involve sitting in the sun, lying on grass, being in Nature and just pausing
3. Being physically active. Burning up that adrenalin through a big work out, run, swim, or bike ride is a great way to eliminate stress. We are living very sedentary lives by sitting at computers all day and then going home and sitting on the sofa. This is a sure fire way to build up cortisol and adrenalin and increase stress. Daily physical exertion is a great antidote to stress.
4. Sleep. LOTS and LOTS of sleep! Yep we are so sleep deprived it’s just not funny. Most of my students fall asleep in their first few meditations because their bodies are SO tired. 7-8 hours a night minus and if possibly naps in the day or weekends plays a big part in eliminating stress. Ideally shut off all technology and get to bed by 10pm at latest for a good nights sleep.
5. Stretch. Stress tightens the body and this compounds the stress response in the body. It’s like a snowball effect. Stretching and yoga play a big part in opening up the body, releasing tension and overriding that fight flight response in the body.
6. Meditation. Whatever your practice of meditation is, doing something is better than nothing. Even if it’s for a few minutes throughout the day. Ideally if you can find a deep transcending style meditation with a mantra that will take your mind and body into profoundly deep states of rest will be very effective in eliminating stress from your life.
Happiness is available to you, however stress will be the greatest barrier to you finding it. You can have all the ‘things’ you ever wanted, but if you are stressed, forget being happy about it! It just won’t happen. Get rid of the stress response in your body and watch how much better you will feel in life. Small things like the warm sun on your cheek, a hot shower, a cup of tea or a hug from your kids will bring you sheer delight when there is no stress to impede it. Why? Because your happiness is inside you and those simple things remind you of it.
and Rhonda said:
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