We’ve all heard the quotes, “Happiness is an inside job”, but what does that truly mean in a world where you are striving to make a difference–have aspirations for achieving and succeeding–have made commitments to make 2020 a year of self-care, passion and taking your happiness back into your own hands?

So, Is happiness about reducing stress or having a dream?

Do we become happy by doing or by being?

I was taught as were many of you that ‘doing’ and ‘accomplishing’ brought acceptance, love and/or positive attention your way. This makes one feel happy! ?

However…

Happiness IS a state of being. Let me ask you this: “Are you being in the doing or are doing to be?” Reflect on that. Our body-mind connection can’t be teased apart; you can’t split the body-mind as it is a unified whole. Although we can’t control what goes on outside of ourselves, there are some Fitness For The Soul tips to help you enjoy your life journey and experience genuine happiness along the way.

  1. Understand your perceptions.
    Diversity makes life interesting and when we harbor judgments about ourselves or other people we tend to think in terms of good and bad. We give power to the inner critic and measure our lives by what we believe. One of the best resources raising your awareness for understanding your perceptions derives from The Work by Byron Katie. She teaches that we can ask ourselves four essential questions to get to the heart of our perceptions: Is it true? Can you absolutely know that it is true? How does it make you feel when you think that thought? Who would you be without the thought? You get to decide whether your story is more important than your happiness! (This is a good Heart Chakra Book)
  2. Spend time in silence regularly.
    We tend to spend most of our daily hours filled with some sort of noise – talking, listening to music, podcasts, Netflix etc. If you live in a city, the hustle and bustle of traffic is loud and noisy as well. For many, the space of silence feels awkward. Silence is a gift of the soul and meditation is a direct path. The emotional effects of sitting quietly and going within are profound. As we make friends with silence and release the fear of being with our own thoughts, we open ourselves up to receive the quiet nudge of our soul’s calling. We may enter an expanded state of awareness and discover our own inner fountain of joy, a source of happiness that isn’t dependent on anyone or anything.
  3. Listen to your body’s wisdom.
    That wisdom expresses itself through signals of comfort and discomfort. Your body-mind is a miracle! Your body carries you through life, and it will carry you on the journey of your evolution. We must stop pretending to think we know what is best for us and ask our bodies and heart to guide and help us. When teaching yoga, I ask my yogi’s to listen in and ask what their body wants…to move, to rest, to shift? In choosing a certain behavior, ask your body, “How do you feel about this?” If your body sends a signal of physical or emotional distress, watch out. If your body sends a signal of comfort and eagerness, proceed. Your body and heart are incredibly happy to communicate with you, we just need to remember to slow down and make it a priority to listen.
  4. Nurture self-acceptance, just as you are.
    Embrace the fact that you aren’t perfect and neither is anyone else. Trade your shame and guilt for acceptance, cultivate forgiveness instead of blame, and most importantly, share empathy and compassion – for yourself and others. When we stop fighting ourselves, battling the inner critic we open to the possibility of “Yes!” to what is, this is real vulnerability. It may feel uncomfortable – learning how to be comfortable being uncomfortable is an invitation to practice authenticity. The more self-acceptance you have, the more authentic your happiness. (my favorite book on vulnerability and shame: Gifts Of Imperfections by Brene Brown)
  5. Foster creativity and curiosity.
    Everyone has the potential for a creative life, and yet, external demands and internal obstacles exhaust the energy required to develop and express your full creative capacity. Creativity isn’t just about making things, it’s also about being curious. Curiosity offers an intrinsic interest and an inner experience within and the world around you. Curiosity propels innovation, spirituality, and self-reflection. Suggesting curiosity is the key to creativity. This boosts our resilience and our satisfaction with life – both part of the equation for overall happiness.
  6. Practice gratitude in moments of hardship, uncertainty, and fear (and every day!).
    People who are grateful are likely to be happier, hopeful and energetic. They possess positive emotions more frequently, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships. Abraham Hicks, channeled through Ester Hicks, shares that it is just as easy to think in gratitude as it is to go down the rabbit hole of negativity. Practicing gratitude is a spiritual practice that can make one feel lighter, happier, and more appreciative. Allowing you to live energetically in a higher vibrational frequency. We are made of energy, living in our bodies with our soul connecting our body mind and heart, gratitude can only increase our joy and happiness.
  7. Take time for unbound play!
    There is no quicker transport to the experiential realm and full engagement than through play. Play is 100-percent experience. It’s done for the intrinsic pleasure, for the participation, with no judgment or outcomes needed. Play was an everyday occurrence when at Energy Medicine School because it put you in the here and now! Play satisfies core needs, connecting with your spirit to explore and challenge yourself. It is also an eye-opening observation to how you “do” life. And when you do play, you’ll find that you are laughing and smiling more – a reflection of your inner state of happiness.
  8. Surround yourself with supportive, caring people who love, nourish, and encourage you.
    We are social creatures and it is unnatural and extremely lonely to live in isolation. All of us need other people in order to be well and thrive. The book The Blue Zones shares the longevity and happiness of people thriving when living in a community of people who support each other. People who believe in you and your dreams will lift you higher. We feel better just being around other people, and we need close relationships in order to be happy.

Happiness starts with being happy first with you – not as something to accomplish but rather as an experience to be cherished and lived. As Dr. Wayne Dyer once shared – You can not be lonely if you like the person you are alone with. After all, you are the hub of your life’s wheel. We are all teachers to each other and happiness never decreases by being shared, be that light for yourself and others.