11 habits of supremely happy people

happy face drawing

Reminders to help us be happy.

When you encounter a really happy person, are you envious or actually just a tiny bit annoyed?

I always like to see research about happiness, because the first thing I do is compare myself to what the scientists say I should be doing.  We all just want to be happy.  I think for most people, it’s hard to be happy all the time, but when I see these little reminders, it helps keep me a little bit more on track.

Here is a list from The Huffington Post about The 11 Daily Habits of Supremely Happy People.  Here are habits that happy people do to reinforce their happiness. How do you fare?

1. They smile
2. They build and nurture relationships
3. They create value
4. They eat healthy
5. They live in the moment
6. They set goals
7. They’re accountable
8. They laugh
9. They’re adventurous
10. They think positive
11. They embrace change

I think they missed two, well, sort of . . . making meditation and mindfulness part of my everyday life have been two of the most important life skills I have adopted.  Mindfulness is about #5 above – living in the moment, but with a non-judgmental attitude. Meditation is also a beautiful way to notice your life, build resiliency and cultivate joy.

As a change manager who teaches meditation, I was glad to see #11 ‘They embrace change’.  I echo this as I see that the people who don’t let workplace change get them down are indeed generally happier people.

Whatever you choose to do, do it with awareness and intention!  Notice how you are living your life. Appreciate the good things in your life.

Wishing you a series of wonderful moments, every day.

~Wendy Quan, The Calm Monkey

 

 

The journey from rumination to peace

blue butterfly

Transformation is a wonderful thing

I’ve been helping someone named Sam for 4 months now. He came to me seeking help for how to manage his high stress life and constant rumination about his past.  He would talk to me repeatedly about how his family stresses him out, and how life is unfair that he and his wife cannot conceive a baby while all his friends have many children.  Tormented and unhappy, he was hoping that meditation would bring him happiness.

He’s done excellent ‘work’.  After a progression of first learning to meditate and then learning mindfulness, he is now quite self-aware of his thoughts and how he spends most of his day ruminating, feeling victimized and angry.

Here are the steps he took over 4 months:

  1. He first learned to observe his thoughts and emotions – recognizing negative thoughts, recognizing rumination. Being well aware when he was stressing repeatedly about something his brother-in-law said to him.
  2. He next learned to intentionally bring himself into the present moment – to pay attention to what is happening in the moment.
  3. Now he’s often able to switch this negative thinking to something else – whether it’s a thought of gratitude, or just thinking about something else that doesn’t bother him.

Rumination is the compulsively focused attention on the symptoms of one’s distress, and on its possible causes and consequences, as opposed to its solutions.  Every time you think about the awful situation, you relive it and your body reacts.  It feels terrible.

Now, after 4 months, Sam is finding some peace within himself, even though his situation has not changed at all. He’s even trying to teach his wife how to do the same.

His question:

He came to me this week and asked “Is this real?  Am I really changing or am I just faking it?”   I thought: What a great question!

My answer:

I explained that retraining yourself to change your experience of life is a journey, and it may feel mechanical and not genuine in the beginning, but with practice, you are retraining your brain to think differently.  Your perspective of life changes, and more and more, this practice does become less mechanical and more just the nature of how you think – a new state of being.  Being human, we should not expect to be 100% blissful, but we can move the pendulum from anxiety and rumination to more peace and gratitude.

The result:

After hearing that, he reflected on this, and realized that it is becoming easier as time passes.  Before my eyes, over the recent weeks, I’ve seen him start to transform into a happier person who is excited about a new way of being and wants to tell others about it.  It’s been a joy to see his transformation.

Well done, Sam!

~Wendy

 

Living joyfully does not mean living in the clouds

Joy questioned

Is this what it means to live in joy? Not exactly…

Honestly, I did not understand (or really care) about what it meant to live life joyfully.  It has only been in more recent years that I ‘get it’.  The learning developed over time, and did not happen in an instant.

I would like to address the stigma that I think exists about this. When someone truly does not understand or care about living with an attitude of joy, they often label and joke that such people are hippies, tree-huggers, living in the clouds or my personal favourite ‘Woo-Woo’.  Some of my friends joke with me, calling me ‘Woo-Woo Wendy’ – we have good laughs about that and here’s why….

It’s funny because they remember where they came from before being open to living their life with awareness and intention. They can look at themselves now, and remember that before they practiced meditation and mindfulness that they would have looked upon such people as ‘woo-woo’.  Now they are basically ‘woo-woo’ themselves! And they look at me as the instigator  🙂

My point is that once you wake up to life, live life in the moment, and choose to find joy rather than living life through a lens of negativity, your experience of life changes dramatically.

To live joyfully means:

  • to pay attention to the present moment
  • to try to live without judgment
  • to be grateful for the wonderful things in your life
  • to notice even the smallest and seemingly mundane things in life, like appreciating how you have a roof over your head, or that you can enjoy your cup of coffee in the morning, or how your body carries you through your day.
  • to choose your perspective on life
  • there is so much more… what else can you think of?

And does not necessarily mean:

  • you are living in the clouds and are not grounded
  • a religious connotation
  • to ignore the bad things in life
  • that you are jumping up and down and happy all the time

We are all human and even people who live joyfully are not happy 100% of the time. To experience the ups and downs and emotions of life is to be human. But when we have a grounded perspective of life and choose joy over suffering, our human experience is so much better.

So if you ever scoff when you see people who live joyfully or when you see a touching quotation about the beauty of life, stop for a moment and be curious why you do that. Maybe, just maybe, there is something about this joyfulness stuff?

If you want to get into this subject in a much deeper way, here is a wonderful interview with Dr. Wayne Dyer called Seven Secrets of a Joyful Life.

Create a wonderful day,

~Wendy

Finding happiness by dropping your form

Uncovering your inner happiness

Uncovering your inner happiness

I know you have probably heard that money doesn’t buy happiness.  But let’s go beyond that now . . . how can you find happiness in this busy, stressful world?

I’ve learned something quite profound that’s helped me become a happier person. I’ll share this with you.

Do you agree that as we live our lives, more and more stuff gets layered onto our state of being?  All those times you’ve been burned by friends and co-workers, how your parents criticized you, how that other driver yelled at you because you were in his way?  All of these experiences affect you. I think you would agree that you have created layers of defense around you over time.

All these layers protecting you develop into your current state of being – how you behave, how you think and feel, and how happy you are.

Imagine these layers of self-protection as your ‘form’ – the persona you choose to portray to the world.  Now, what if you drop this form for a moment?  Scarey thought, isn’t it?  Just the thought of dropping your form likely makes you feel exposed and vulnerable.

Why would you want to drop your form?  With practice, over time, dropping your form allows you uncover your true state of being, the unadulterated state of pureness that you were born with before life’s experiences got in the way.  It allows you to feel like your true self.

Let’s be clear. Dropping your form is not easy and it takes practice.  It also does not mean that you necessarily live in a constant state of bliss either.

How do you drop your form?  It can be done in meditation.  Even if you are not an experienced meditator, you can still sit quietly and practice this.

Here’s how:

  1. Take time to sit or lie down quietly.  Give yourself ample time to get into a relaxed state. This might be anywhere from 5 – 20 minutes.
  2. Once in a very relaxed state, imagine dropping your form.  You may have your own way of doing this.  Try imagining that all those layers of life’s experiences, perceptions, attitudes, judgments, etc, start to melt and slowly drop down from your body into the ground below you.  As your form slowly dissolves, allow yourself to feel safe in doing this. Allow yourself to feel your persona, your ego, dropping off of you.
  3. Allow your true, unadulterated, pure self to now expose. You may even allow your pure self to start glowing or feel your vibration of energy as it is exposed.  Take the time to feel what this feels like.  Don’t be scared.  Just allow.  Do not doubt if you are doing this right.  If you feel different, perhaps vulnerable, you are doing it right.

During this moment of meditation or quiet time, you may experience the feeling of happiness.  The more you practice dropping your form, the more you will feel the innate happiness within you being expressed.

The more you practice doing this in meditation, you will practice understanding the feeling of what your inner happiness feels like.  It is unlikely, however, to expect that this feeling will stay with you all throughout the day.  But the more you practice this, the easier it will become, and now I am able to call this feeling up during the day without sitting in meditation.

Please give this a try.  It’s different and it works for me.

Wishing that your happiness is able to shine from within you,

~Wendy