Happiness, happiness, the greatest gift that I possess – so sang Ken Dodd. But we don’t always get more than our share of it. There are times when we lose touch with our happiness, our inner joy, our feel-good state. And these are the times we need additional motivation, guidance and support to get back on track.
I have a few tools and ideas that I give to my clients – techniques that I have used when the going gets tough to lift my spirits and reconnect to my inner happy state. But before I share them, we need to consider what is happiness? That can vary from person to person, so it’s important to work out what it means to you.
Begin with a journal; write your intention of finding happiness, joy and fulfilment. Then you need to decide what is it that makes you happy. This may sound easy but it’s surprising how hard it can be.
- What are your Happiness Buttons? Write them down – it can be a long list.
You may take some time to remember all those happy days and what was happening but it’s a good exercise and you’ll almost certainly find some surprises.
- What makes you unhappy, miserable or grumpy?
List all the things you do in your life that make you unhappy. This will help you make choices for the way ahead.
- Make a plan
Once you know yourself well enough, the next step is to write a plan on how you are going to change your life to include those activities on the positive list and to avoid or change as many on the negative list as is practical.
Most of us have a driver that motivates us. This is often reflected in your choice of job and the role you have chosen to play in life. It could be to be a mother and care for children or to nurse, to teach, to make money, to develop businesses, to work with figures, to explore, to heal, to mend things, and so on.
Your driver is a strong force in your life and when you are not allowing it to lead you then you are almost certainly going to feel demotivated, unfulfilled or just plain miserable. One of the problems we face when we retire or take time out to have a family is that our driver may be harder to satisfy.
Several of my friends have husbands who have found it very hard to find happiness in retirement as their happiness came from the jobs they were doing before retirement, and they haven’t been able to enjoy their new direction. Mostly they eventually find another driver, another route through, but it can be tricky to adjust. If this is you, it’s important to accept that you can no longer hold your previous role and to meditate on other possibilities. Try some new activities, take on a challenge, think outside the box and experiment. You don’t have to save the world to feel fulfilment, but you certainly need to get off the sofa.
- What is your driver – or do you have more than one? What will you try if you are unable to continue to follow your old route and roles?
Do you feel guilty if you are not busy all day long? Are you able to sit and enjoy the birds, watch TV, people watch? There is nothing wrong with being content with a simple life. It’s not necessary to change the world – fine if activism is your driver but otherwise being happy and content is a wonderful state to be in.
Allow yourself to be happy with the simple things. Make a conscious effort to allow yourself to relax and kick back.
Your happiness or other people’s?
You may be someone who spends more time thinking about how to make the people around you happy than considering what you may like yourself. Caring for others is highly commendable and can bring happiness but if your life it too far out of balance in the giving and receiving you will eventually feel resentful. Set the intention to bring balance into your life, making time for yourself as well as others.
- What do you do because you feel you ought to?
Write down all those things you do that you do because it’s expected of you. Maybe you hate cooking but are obliged to do it for your family. Perhaps you agree to visit your in-laws every weekend, but you are saying yes when you mean no.
How many of these activities could you change around? Could you change the way you do them so that they come from your heart? Could you change the balance in your life so that there are more ‘love to do it’ activities in your day. Could you get someone else to help out?
Happy goal for today
Plan your day and write down what you are going to do for yourself. What treat will you give yourself, what activity will you fit in? What music will you play? Will you go for a walk in nature, take a swim or yoga class? Will you be frivolous and indulge yourself?
Are you your own worst enemy?
Do you make yourself unhappy by being over critical, judgemental or being a perfectionist? If so, acknowledge what you do, listen to your inner dialogue, and see how you are treating yourself.
Be kind to yourself, encourage yourself
- What can you change about the way you see yourself, speak to yourself or encourage yourself? What new dialogue can you use that will lift yourself up rather than putting yourself down?
Finally, how happy can you be if the people you care about are miserable or depressed? I have lived with family members with depression and other mental health issues, and they all say they hate being fussed over. Here are some suggestions for ways you can help – dos and don’ts:
- Don’t continually ask them if they are okay. Let them be in peace.
- Don’t be overly cheerful and bustling around them.
- Check that they are not suicidal – if you are worried contact your doctor.
- Make sure they are taking any supplements and medication that you both agree works for them.
- Get on with your own life. If they don’t want to socialise don’t let that stop you. They will not get better because you make your own life miserable.
ABOUT ANNE JONES
Anne Jones is author of ‘How to Heal’ and an international spiritual healer, teacher, and author of seven books translated into 18 languages. Her books include the best seller ‘Healing Negative Energies’. Anne gives seminars and personal sessions clearing emotional blocks, releasing past life imprints, recovering self-worth and improving relationships. She has developed a training course for healers using energy symbols and supporting products including Oracle Cards and Symbol Jewellery. Her latest book is ‘How to Heal’, is out now. For further information on Anne’s work: www.annejones.org