4 steps to a happier 2016

4 steps to a happier 2016

There are so many great articles floating around at the moment designed to help you enjoy a happier and better 2016. Many touch directly or at least indirectly on happiness, and many include gratitude and mindfulness. Here's another good one well worth reading via the Huffington Post by Denise Mills…

This morning during my usual Internet fix, I came across a motivational blog that claimed to know the secret of happiness. It spoke of something most of us have heard before, and many of us agree with: The key to happiness is gratitude.

The blog goes on to explain that if something bad happens — for example, you spill a cup of coffee on your lap — you should chuckle and say, "Oh well, at least I have a lap to burn! Some people are born without laps!"

I'm exaggerating slightly — but you get the general gist.

As you've probably guessed, I'm not a fan of this approach. I don't believe forcing ourselves not to feel is a normal, healthy response to a negative situation.

You are allowed to be pissed off, sad, frustrated, overwhelmed, hurt and tired. You don't have to push it down and try to think of someone who is worse off. The trick is to feel the emotion, but not live there; don't start identifying your sense of self with your pain.

The truth is, you can't skip straight to gratitude. As a born stress-head and recovering perfectionist, here are the four factors that I've incorporated into my life that have made a huge difference to my mindset.

#1 — Mindfulness.

Where does your mind live? Is it constantly focusing on regrets of the past, or the awful things someone said last week? Or is it thinking about the future: conversations that may never happen, and worse case scenarios that may never occur?

Mindfulness is simply awakening yourself to the truth of where you are right now, in this very second. Its returning back into your body and into the present, rather than having your energy scattered between a million different factors that are outside of your control.

So how do you "do" mindfulness?

A good place to start is to meditate. I used to despise meditation, and any attempt at it led me into a Hulk-like rage (although I did not turn green or muscly). Basically, it did the exact opposite of what it's meant to do. The reason? I was trying to force my brain not to think at all, which is damn near impossible for most of us mere mortals.

The trick is, instead of trying not to think, make it about focus. Focus on your breath. It gets easier the more you practice it, and eventually becomes a daily habit.

Apps like Headspace are great for learning how to meditate without putting a lot of pressure on yourself…

…keep reading the full & original article HERE