What is happiness? Am I happy? What makes me happy?
“Finding Happiness: When you change, everything changes.”
So far, I feel like I am off to a great start this year.
Work-life balance? Check!
Healthy eating? Check!
Meeting new friends? Check!
More “meaningful” time and conversations with my #LittleLove? Check!
Getting rid of clutter in the house? Almost complete:)
Taking a step back from people who make me unhappy? A work in progress.
Learning new things? Always a work in progress.
In my 2017 quest to find a healthy balance in my life-mind, body, and spirit, I constantly find myself reading articles on health, fitness, life skills etc. I recently came across this article below, Top 7 Tips for How to be Happy.
I know, I know. It may sound corny, another self-help article blah blah blah…but I am open-minded.
I realized that the article was linked to a movie (Finding Happiness, currently available on Amazon Prime). After reading the article below, I found myself curious about the movie.The movie is very different, as it is a blend of fictional drama and documentary. If you enjoy yoga and meditation, this movie is also for you. The main character is played by Elisabeth Rohm, best known for her role on Law and Order.
Finding Happiness is a film that effortlessly combines fact and fiction. Its main character is a cynical journalist from Manhattan, Juliet, who is sent out to visit and write about Ananda Village, a multi-denominational spiritual community based on the ideals of Indian yogi and guru Paramahansa Yogananda that is located near Nevada City, California. While Juliet and her boss are fictional, the community and its featured members are real, and their activities are showcased in a way that directly reflects reality (excerpt from The Mindful Word).
When you start watching, like the main character, you might think…cult. Yup!
But, don’t give up on it. Be open-minded. I am a Christian, but I have always been very interested and respect how people (Christians and non Christians) live and worship (Amish, Monks, Judaism, Buddhists…). There are so many lines within the movie in which I had to stop and rewind to hear it again. Like the fictional character, I admit, I can be a skeptic. But this movie hits the spot for many on their journey of finding their own happiness and spirituality. And even through the cheesy moments (community choir and singing scenes-CHEESE ALERT, CHEESE ALERT, CHEESE ALERT), I had to take a step back, I smiled and thought…well, they have accomplished what many of us want… TRUE HAPPINESS. They have learned to let go of greed, hate, ego… They have learned to live together in harmony and embrace differences. Simply, they are HAPPY!
The Ananda community (there are many throughout the world) featured in this movie is only 2.5 hrs. away from San Francisco. I would love to see their gardens one day and go on a retreat. Sounds like a future trip!
(Article on Top 7 Tips for How to be Happy is featured after trailer)
Top 7 Tips for How to Be Happy
Finding Happiness went in search for the answer to the question “why are happy people happy?”
Here are our top tips for how to find true and lasting happiness in daily life:
1.) Let go of negativity.
•Learn to forgive and forget.
•See every challenge as an opportunity for further growth.
•Express gratitude for what you have.
•Be more optimistic about the future and your ability to accomplish life goals.
•Open yourself up to success and embrace failures or mistakes that happen along the way.
•Know that none of us are perfect, we are all here to entertain and be entertained.
•Don’t worry about the little things. Take plenty of “worry vacations” where you train your mind not to worry for a certain lengths of time.
•If you want to be more positive, surround yourself with positive energy and people. Nurture the positive relationships that you have, seeking out more of those relationships that help uplift you.
•Accept and love yourself for the unique gifts and talents that you bring to life. Spend less time trying to please others and spend more time trying to please your higher self.
•See the humor in life and in our experiences. Take life less seriously and learn to laugh at yourself.
2.) Serve and be kind to others.
•Treat everyone with kindness. Not only does it help others to feel better, but you will notice that you too feel good after having a positive interaction with others.
•Speak well of others. When you speak negatively of others you will attract more negativity to yourself, but when you speak positively of others, you will attract more positivity.
•Truly listen to others. Be present and mindful to what others are really saying when they speak. Support them without bringing yourself into it.
•Be careful with your words. Speak gentler, kinder, and wiser.
•Respect others and their free will.
•Put your trust in others and be trusted in return. Enjoy the sense of community and friendship that comes from this openness and faith in one another.
•Work as part of a whole. See others as partners in your efforts. Unite your efforts with them to create a synergy more powerful than anything you could do alone.
•Practice generosity and giving without expecting anything in return. Get involved with service opportunities and offer what you can to a greater cause.
•Smile more– to family, to co-workers, to neighbors, to strangers– and watch it not only change how you feel but also how they feel too.
3.) Live in the present.
•Don’t replay negative events or worry about the future.
•Accept and celebrate impermanence. Be grateful for your life, for each moment of every day. Observe the constant and natural flow of change that surrounds us, and your small yet important part in the natural, divine flow of life.
•Observe yourself in the moment. Work on your reactions to outer circumstances and learn how to approach life harmoniously.
4.) Choose a healthy lifestyle.
•Keep a daily routine. Wake up at the same time every morning, preferably early. Setting yourself to a natural biorhythm will make it easier to wake up and feel energized.
•Get enough sleep. Proper sleep is linked to positive personality characteristics like optimism, improved self-esteem, and even problem solving.
•Expose yourself to cold temperatures (especially first thing in the morning with perhaps a cold shower). It increases your circulation, helps minimize inflammation in the body, enhances weight loss, and energizes and invigorates you to start your day.
•Turn off the TV. For every hour of TV you watch, you reduce 22 minutes of your life expectancy.
•Eat properly. What you eat has a direct effect on your mood and energy levels. Eat plenty of organic, locally grown fruits and vegetables, nuts, whole grains, and dairy products that are both vitamin and mineral infused. Don’t overeat and try to practice healthy self-control.
•Exercise daily to the point of sweating. It not only helps to purify the body, but also releases endorphins which help to prevent stress, relieve depression, and positively improve your mood.
•Laugh more. Laughter is the best medicine. Like exercise, it releases endorphins that battle the negative effects of stress and promote a sense of well-being and joy.
•Practice deep breathing and yoga. The body and mind are connected. Emotions affect the physical systems in the body, and the state of the body also affects the mind. By relaxing and releasing tension through the breath or yoga practice you feel more calm and centered throughout the day.
5.) Take care of your spirit.
•Strive to always learn new things. Constantly expand your awareness and discover new ways of expressing your divine gifts.
•Get creative. This will not only challenge you to learn new things, but will also help to keep your mind in a positive place. Practice living in the present moment and being a channel for the divine flow of creativity.
•Practice meditation. Research has proven that even as little as 10 minutes of meditation a day can lead to physical changes in the brain that improve concentration and focus, calm the nervous system, and help you to become more kind and compassionate, and even more humorous. Then bring the joy and peace you receive from meditation into your daily life and activity.
•Be honest. Telling the truth keeps you free inside, builds trust in relationships, and improves your will power and the ability to attract success.
•Surrender to the Universe Divine and allow it to take care of the littlest things in life to the greatest and most important.
6. ) Be inwardly free.
•Live minimally and simply. Often extravagant living brings more stress not more satisfaction.
•De-clutter your home to de-clutter your mind. Clutter is an often unrecognized source of stress that promotes feelings of anxiety, frustration, distraction, and guilt. Feel good in your own home. Make it your sanctuary by keeping it clean, organized, and uplifting.
•Go without certain things you think you need. Travel to new places where not everything is as easily accessible or readily available, and learn to appreciate what you have by expanding your world.
•Take some time away from life’s complicated outer involvements to get to know your family, your neighbors, and your loved ones better; and to get to know yourself.
7.) Reconnect with Nature.
•Take some time every week to recharge your body battery. On the weekend, escape to nature or a place where you can feel peace in time for a fresh start to the work week.
•Get outside whenever possible to breathe in the fresh air and feel the sunshine. Both of which studies have shown to have a positive effect on our health and our mood.
•Take some time to be silent. Be silent and calm every night for at least 10 minutes (longer if possible) and again in the morning before rising. This will produce an unbreakable habit of inner happiness to help you meet challenges in life.
•Observe the natural beauty that surrounds you and feel a sense of connection. Appreciate the details and miracles that can be found in nature.
Taking the Next Steps to Finding Happiness:
Ask yourself what makes you happy, and find ways to restructure your life so that you are able to do more of those things.
Then ask why you struggle to do the things that you know will make you happy. Why are you not yet happy? Why haven’t you taken the next steps to find your happiness? Why are you here? And what do you need to do to feel a sense of accomplishment in this life?
Visualize yourself happy, doing the things that will bring you inner and outer success in life and write down the things you need to do to create a Happiness Bucket List. Start with the little things you know you can do each day that will bring you joy. Then move on to accomplish greater and greater things on your happiness bucket list.