Have you ever noticed how, whenever you have something to do, it goes so much better if you feel happy while doing it?
Your ideas around the subject just tend to flow.
Yet if you approach a certain task from the perspective of feeling stuck, or overwhelmed, your angst is immediately apparent to anyone viewing the final product.
This applies whether you’re cooking a meal or writing a book – feeling good while you’re doing something greatly enhances your results.
This came to my attention years ago, when I used to regularly strive to ‘make things happen.’ I, like most people, erroneously believed that life was a struggle; and that great results were preceded by blood, sweat and tears.
I aggressively pursued projects that in retrospect, I ought not to have done. I forced situations that ended up working to my detriment.
I focused on beating down doors and taking action intended to propel me towards my goals; and in most cases, the results were disastrous.
What I’ve learned is that, life is supposed to be easy. Taking action from a happy place not only facilitates our task, but our final product. Life unfolds in a much more satisfactory way.
Perhaps many of us are tempted to struggle because we don’t feel worthy of the good that comes our way. We believe we need to earn our achievements.
We wear our struggles like a badge of honour, when the truth is, we’re worthy of everything we desire. Yet we cannot receive it unless we’re in a place of true contentment.
When we’re happy, life has a way of materialising in a way that surprises and delights us. That’s why our greatest task should be about finding greater levels of happiness on a moment-to-moment basis. We should always be aware of how we feel; and reach for thoughts that make us feel better.
When we take action towards certain ends, we need to do so from a place of feeling good.
But since none of us is positive all the time; and there are things that remain imperatives – like paying our taxes or doing our work – the thing to remember is: while we may not have a choice about whether we do them, we have a choice about our attitude.
How we feel, about anything, is absolutely our choice. Most of us say ‘if I had a better job, or if I didn’t have to work quite so hard, then I’d be happy’. The truth is, we can choose to be happy regardless of what it is we have to do for a living; and ironically, cultivating positivity about our employment, or other things in our lives, is likely to bring us even better options. If we feel good, we draw similarly good things into our lives.
I’ve reached a stage in my life where I don’t even buy anything unless I feel ecstatic about it.
If I see something I like, but feel uncomfortable about the price, for instance, while I may haggle over the price or ask for a discount, I’m much more likely to go away and work on my feelings of ‘lack,’ or ‘not enough money.’ I make an effort to get positive about my purchase; and if I fail, I simply forego it.
For issues where I don’t have a choice, for example having to write a report for work, I remind myself of all the things that I appreciate about my job: it pays the bills; and I work in a supportive environment. Viewing the report, or whatever task, as something that helps me to sustain a good life enables me to develop a new perspective. It turns my work into something I appreciate.
Deliberately cultivating feelings of happiness regardless of what we’re doing brings more things to feel happy about into our lives. Things come more easily to us than they otherwise might. We get help from unexpected sources; and life seems to orchestrate itself so that we attain our desires.
Knowing this, wouldn’t you want to be more focused about creating happiness? My challenge to you this week is to develop an arsenal of tools that you know will make you feel good.
It could be a certain book that inspires you, a piece of music, or hiking up Kgale Hill. Give some thought to what makes your heart sing; and come up with different ways to light yourself up. Here are a few things that might like to consider:
Build a positivity portfolio: Barbara Fredrickson, who studies the benefits of positive emotions in our lives, suggests building a portfolio of objects that help us connect to specific positive states, such as joy, pride, gratitude and love. For a full week, look for photos, letters, quotes or objects that carry a deep personal meaning for you; and evoke those positive states within you. For example, I have a pride portfolio.
While I was building it, I considered when I felt most proud of myself, or fully confident in my abilities. I have pictures; and letters of commendation that encourage me not only to appreciate where I am, but to see myself soaring to even greater heights.
What will you put in your portfolio?
Create high-quality connections: Be present, attentive and affirming during your interactions with people close to you ÔÇô don’t send endless text messages while you’re having lunch with a friend. Enjoy the moment; engage in mutual appreciation.
Find nearby nature: there’s nothing like nature to lift our spirits. Find and enjoy places that make you feel tranquil. Even if it’s only online, you’d be surprised at the effect mere images have on you.
Success in life is not about how much stuff we accumulate; it’s about how happy we are, moment-to-moment.
Practice feeling good no matter what you’re doing; or what other people around you are doing or saying. You’ll realize that your happiness doesn’t depend on external sources, it comes from within.
Feel good now!