By Lee Neale
There is nothing particularly new or exciting about the following list. In fact, it’s little more than the mental laundry list that I stick on my refrigerator somewhere between the electricity bill and the pizza menus. Much of this is age-old wisdom, some reworked for the tech age. I’m sure most of it will be quite familiar. However, it’s always good to give ourselves a little reminder that happiness doesn’t just grow on trees; that it needs to be nourished with a little reflective day to day self-awareness.
1. Count your blessings daily. Focusing your energy on the good things in life brings more of them to you.
2. Learn to love yourself as you are. Perfection is an illusion. At every level of being we are in ceaseless flow and change. Embrace a lack of perfection and even revel in some occasional chaos. Crisis is Mother Nature’s way of saying hi!
3. Connect more deeply with your five senses. For example, when you are eating a meal forget everything and be right there with the meal: soak in the colours, savour the tastes, smells and textures. Feel the energy, warmth and nutrition as the food becomes one with your body. Thank the Earth for sharing this blessing.
4. Remember that true power lies within and not over others.
5. Compliment people on their positive qualities. Kindness shared is kindness received.
6. Happiness is a choice: seek out positive alternative opinions to balance out your worldview. There are an abundance of positively oriented news sites popping up all over the web.
7. Reflect critically on the true level of danger you are experiencing. Look out your window. Unless you’re living in a war zone, it’s likely you’ll see a pretty peaceful scene. That peace in the present moment is your reality: work with that, not the latest crime statistics.
8. The thoughts you go to sleep with have a big influence on your waking life. Visualising images of success, prosperity, happiness, generosity, love and kindness as you drift off into sleep, can have a profound effect on improving the quality of your day to day experience. Over an extended period, this practice can be a major life-changer.
9. Forgiveness: do you really want to keep carrying around the luggage of other people’s mistakes in your head? … NO, SO LET IT GO!
10. If you want to see more of something in the world, take responsibility for expressing it to others first. Want to see more tenderness then be kinder, more generosity then give more, more love then be loving. When you connect with these things within yourself, then you will naturally find them present in what is around you.
11. Make a habit of going out of your way for somebody. Even one small act of mindfulness can work wonders. The universe has an endearing habit of repaying you in unexpected and useful ways.
12. Time is the most precious gift you can ever give. Spend less time shopping for people and actually share that time with the person instead. Give them a laugh, a massage, a hug, an ear, cook with them or share one of their hobbies. No amount of luxury items can replace your presence in the eyes of a friend or loved one.
13. Praise and reward people for their effort and not for the success or failure of that effort. Especially children!
14. Social media is designed to enhance social life, not replace it. Balance social media time with real face to face interactions. Turn off the tech for a little while each day and be fully present with friends and family, especially at shared meal times.
15. Feng Shui your PC: shed psychological baggage by clearing your cyberspaces. How much mental clutter is lingering on your computer devices in the form of old emails, cached data, temporary downloads and unused files. Deep cleaning removes blockages from your online expression, which can stimulate more clarity, purpose and creativity in life.
16. Set aside time each day for just being instead of doing. Stop chasing the world. Sit still, relax, forgive, let it all go, be still and breathe deeply!
17. Spend time with animals, nature and children: they are treasure troves of wisdom on the art of being human.
18. Try to see life less as a problem to be solved, exploited or overcome and more of a mystery to be creatively enjoyed, explored and shared. In a word: PLAY!
19. Randomize aspects of your life to open up new energy and creativity. Do things that are out of character: take a different direction to or from work, explore different artistic tastes or food, try to consider different points of view.
20. If you can’t get to nature, bring it to you. Let more fresh air and sunshine into your living or working spaces. Bring in plants, play soothing music and spread delicious aromas.
21. Write a list of your very own happiness tips and stick them somewhere you can see them every day! Share them with your friends.
About the Author
Lee Neale is the founder of Shama Gaia. He’s an Australian-born sociologist, language teacher and Shamanic healer living in Japan.