TIPS ON HOW TO FEEL HAPPIER AND MORE FULFILLED By Ella Miller
Being a positive person doesn’t mean you are always happy, smiling and feeling on top of the world. It simply means that no matter what happens, you have a healthy outlook and the right mindset to make it through tough situations and keep moving forward.
Let me start with why a lot of people are attracted to positivity in the first place. One of the biggest reasons is that having a positive mental attitude comes with big benefits. For starters, positive people tend to have a broader and more refreshing perspective on life. And if you've ever met anyone who was just the opposite — negative with narrow-minded views — you can appreciate how a positive person is more likely to navigate life with fresh thinking and bright perspectives. Positive people also tend to approach every day feeling thankful for what they have instead of always worrying about what they don’t have. Focusing on what IS versus what ISN'T will enable you to feel less stressed and more fulfilled. And ever notice how positive people tend to complain less? This is because they are able to more easily open themselves up to recognizing and experiencing joys, big and small, in everyday living. It comes more naturally for the person who has a positive outlook! Whether you’re longing for positivity and need a few good pointers, or are already a positive person and just want a few gentle reminders, here are 5 good habits that can make a real impact when you put them into action:
1) Accept being imperfect – By simply being human we are susceptible to making mistakes; nobody is perfect and that's OK. So when you set up the expectation that you’re going to do everything absolutely right all of the time (perfectionist behavior), you are setting yourself up for failure from the start. No matter how well you plan scenarios in your head, there is no guarantee that life will go the way that you want. For example, you might envision yourself excelling at your new job. But during the first week, you forget a step in the process and your project goes awry. Or, you might think you and your significant other have the perfect relationship, until you misjudge an incident that leads to hurt feelings and a huge fight. No matter what the situation, it’s healthy to put your ego aside and admit that you were wrong. It’s also healthy to make a mental note of what occurred so you can take away a lesson. That lesson is valuable because it will better prepare and guide you in future situations. Lessons help us avoid making the same mistake twice.
2) Silence your inner critic – Your inner critic is the voice in your head that sends negative messages such as “You’re not good enough” or “You’ll never reach your goal.” Those types of messages are manifested in our own heads and can be damaging both consciously and subconsciously. If repeated, the negativity can go from being a fleeting thought to becoming what we truly believe on an ongoing basis. So you need to quiet down the inner critic in your head when you hear it. I’d like to share a quick story with you. A couple years ago, I tried reconnecting with an old friend. I had written her an email and had not heard back for a couple of weeks. I told myself that perhaps this person didn’t want to reconnect, she must be mad at me for something I did years ago, and that it had been a bad idea to reach out. Then, two weeks later, I received a response. My old friend mentioned she was on a month-long adventure to a remote destination, just got back to the U.S., and was elated to see that I had messaged her. Our cherished friendship grew from that point forward. Her reaction was completely opposite of the scenarios that I had conjured up in my own head. After that, I vowed to shut down my inner critic as soon as I heard it. Now, whenever that negative voice tries to creep up, I replace any “fabricated” ideas with accurate statements of what is happening, and I do not fuel those statements with any emotion. For instance, if I could go back to when I was messaging my friend, I would stick to the facts: I emailed my old friend and she has not respond yet. THAT is true and factual. The notion that she didn’t want to talk to me... or that I had somehow unintentionally wronged her... or how I never should have reached out in the first place was all made up by me. By sticking to the facts, silencing your inner critic, and shutting down opportunities to get caught up in emotions, we are able to move through situations with more focus and see them for what they truly are.
3) Stop trying to live up to other people’s expectations – Spending your life trying to please people who are never going to be satisfied by your actions is going to leave you feeling physically and emotionally exhausted. When you live your life based on other people’s expectations, you start to lose sight of your own personal desires. Nobody knows you like YOU. So having someone else tell you what is best for you is coming from their life experiences, not yours. Instead, remember that you are under no obligation to do and be what others expect. Instead, do what YOU believe is right... or do what you believe will be for your highest good. Living according to your very own “soul calling” will help you feel more free, fulfilled and able to live your truth.
4) Don’t get stuck in victim thinking — Have you ever caught yourself thinking “Why does this only happen to me?” or “Everyone else has life easy except for me!” These kinds of statements — ones that make it sound as though the entire world is against you — is a part of victim mentality. This type of thinking makes it seem as though other people and outside circumstances are somehow responsible for what you are experiencing, that you are always the one who gets hurt, and that you lack the power to change your situation to something better; that’s just not true. Nobody is living your life but you. It’s important to accept responsibility and accountability for what happens in your life (past, present, and future) because you are an active player. Situations that occur in your life are a consequence of the kinds of choices (good or bad) that you make. So having the courage and power to accept responsibility and make different decisions can empower you to get better results. Best part is, once you flip your thinking from “nothing good ever happens to me” to “I am blessed and worthy of abundance and joy” you can attract and manifest more good in your life based on the natural Law of Attraction. The Law of Attraction states that whatever you give your energy and attention to, that energy will come back to you. So, if you stay focused on positivity in your life, you will automatically attract more positivity. Simple as that!
5) Empathize with people around you – Empathy is an important part of the human experience. It’s your ability to put yourself is someone else’s shoes and try to feel what they are feeling. By doing so, you can better understand what they are experiencing. For example, ever see a friend go through a big breakup? An unempathetic response would be, “You’ll be fine, just move on.” Whereas an empathetic response would be bringing your friend their favorite ice cream along with encouraging words, and truly listening when she/he talks about how heartbroken they are. By taking the time to recognize emotions in others, and to understand other people's perspectives on a situation, you can use that insight to support others through challenging situations. Even if you cannot cure or resolve other people’s problems, your empathy can leave them feeling more optimistic, hopeful, and like someone cares. The key to empathy is listening with a loving ear.
In conclusion, nurturing a mindset that is optimistic and positive has many powerful rewards. It can help you be resilient when faced with the ups and downs in life (this also applies to the uncertain times that we are facing now). It can help you be a pillar of compassion for others. And it can open your life to fresh, exciting possibilities.
Looking to boost the amount of happiness in your life? Check out our Happiness Workshop specially designed by Swami Karasananda, ready to set a course for feeling more joy and fulfillment in your life. Want to read more about how positivity results in enhanced well-being? Check out the connection between positivity and leading a healthy and flourishing life published in the American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine. Or explore an analysis on positive thinking published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.