Cultivating Happiness

According to the Ancient Greeks, happiness is "the joy that we feel striving for our potential.

I believe that the elevated rates of depression and general malaise in our young adults has a lot to do with chasing happiness the wrong way. Instead of believing that happiness is an outcome to be achieved, an award to be won, or a checklist to be completed, why not consider shifting the paradigm to focusing on the golden nuggets which are all baked into the process? The way you perceive the world, the commitment to the learnings along the way, and the way you engage with yourself and others are much greater predictors of your happiness than a sparkly resume and a specific outcome. 

As my clients attest, It can be a bit disillusioning when you work hard and do all the things that you are supposed to do and happiness remains elusive. But, seeking this kind of happiness is a moving target. You never actually arrive because the bar keeps on shifting. Interestingly, your happiness quotient grows when you become more positive, and choose to see every experience as a progression, an experiment, and a path to getting closer to self. 

Research tells us that 90% of our happiness is how our brain processes everything while 10% of our long-term happiness is what happens in the outside world. In light of this, cultivate more happiness in your day to day by assimilating healthy and productive habits that create a positive ripple effect in your life and the life of others. Here are some daily practices to start weaving in doses of gratitude which create more of that feel-good chemical dopamine:

1) Think of one meaningful experience in last 24 hours. Not anything huge, but something that stands out. In 2 minutes, write down every detail of what happened. Get your brain to remember it. By doing so, it creates connection and meaning in your life. 

2) Write a 2-minute email or text, or place a phone call or have a face to face interaction, praising or thanking someone you know. Do this EVERY day! Research tells us that social support and relationships are huge predictors of our happiness. What are you waiting for?

3) Exercise - move your body at least 30 minutes a day. This routine trains the brain to believe that your behavior matters which paves the way for optimism, and this creates a constellation of positivity. 

4) Meditation - the more time you can spend in silence/stillness and shut off the constant shallow and incessant chatter of social media and the outside world, the more you will have exponential benefits. Try the Calm or MindSpace apps. By quieting the noise around you and shifting your focus to the mind/body connection, you will experience more serenity and clarity. 

Cheers, dear ones! Here's to cultivating happiness on the journey. #lifeisanexperiment #learnasyougo #growasyoulearn #processtrumpsoutcome #gratitudecultivateshappiness