Happiness is something we choose. When we finally realize that we are responsible for our own happiness, we no longer give away our power to other people, situations, or outcomes.
Success coaches and spiritual leaders (like Joel Osteen, Gabrielle Bernstein, and Dale Carnegie, to name a few) believe that in order for us to be happy, we need to use our mind to direct our thoughts (and influence our feelings). Over the years, I’ve come to realize they’re right.
One thing I keep learning is that there is a direct correlation between being mindful and experiencing happiness. If it’s true that emotions follow thoughts, then it’s in our best interest to be mindful of what we think about.
Many of us were raised to believe that external circumstances create our happiness. As examples, the belief that “if we achieve that goal” or “get that loving relationship”, we’ll then be happy. But this is fundamentally wrong. It’s the other way around. When you are happy, you more easily magnetize what you want.
Most importantly, no matter what is going on around you, you can always choose to be in a state of happiness (even when life throws some challenging curveballs). Happiness is a matter of perspective – just keep that in mind.
To help you become more mindful (and happy, as a result), here are 5 inspiring ideas.
5 Inspiring Ways to Become More Mindful & Happy
Create a Daily Habit of Setting a Positive Intention
When you wake up each morning, rather than turn on the news or rush to read emails, either lay in bed or sit up, and start by setting a positive intention for the day. This can be as simple as “I choose to be peaceful, no matter what I experience today”. When you give yourself a few moments to focus your mind toward a positive intention(s), you empower yourself to be the creator of your day (rather than allowing outside circumstances to dictate everything you experience).
Imagine you’re the Captain of a ship, about to set sail. It’s your responsibility to decide the direction and path you’re going on. You wouldn’t just hop on board and say “let’s go where the wind takes us”, would you?! Setting intentions each morning is like creating the foundation of a good map – it helps to guide you in the direction you want to go.
Establishing healthy and happy daily habits (like setting an intention each morning) is more than just a set of behaviors. They become an integral part of our thought process, our emotional spectrum, and our experience of life. Our mental programming determines how we react to situations, and most importantly – if we’re going to be happy or not.
Create a Space in Your Home to Meditate
Whether you have a corner of a room or just a chair to sit on, create a peaceful space in your home to meditate each day. You can light a scented candle (which helps to calm you down through smell), play soothing music (to relieve tension and unwind you), or just sit in silence. However you choose to create this space, the goal is for it to put you at ease and help you relax.
Meditation can be done in a variety of ways – from a guided meditation (through an app like Audible) or through deep breathing and visualization techniques. The goal for meditating each day is to help you focus your mind, clear out “mental clutter” and get centered. By doing this, you help to reduce cortisol (stress levels), improve your ability to react more calmly to situations, and give you a healthy framework for handling challenging moments.
Forbes published an article titled “7 Ways Meditation Can Actually Change The Brain”, in which they reported that “the practice appears to have an amazing variety of neurological benefits – from changes in grey matter volume to reduced activity in the “me” centers of the brain to enhanced connectivity between brain regions.”
Write Down Your Goals
This practice goes above and beyond writing a to-do list of things you need to get done each day. While small goals are important, the point of this exercise is to write down larger life goals. Whether you want to become a wife & mother or you’re looking to achieve a certain level of financial success, studies continue to show that people are often more successful at experiencing what they want when they write down their goals.
I recommend buying a journal that you dedicate toward your goals. This can help you work on all types of goals – from behavioral changes to lifetime achievements. By writing down your goals, re-reading them (repeatedly), and making note of your progress as you work toward each goal – you empower yourself to create a life that brings you happiness and fulfillment.
Choose Home Accessories Wisely
Whenever we look at artwork or read decorative signs in our home, they affect our mental and emotional state. That’s why I’m a big believer in choosing our home accessories wisely. From inspiring messages inscribed on jewelry trays (like the tray above) to hanging artwork that evokes a positive reaction, make sure to surround yourself with objects that bring you a sense of joy.
Be mindful of the types of imagery and words you look at on a daily basis. If something triggers a negative reaction, remove it from your home. Your home is like your sanctuary – a refuge from the world. That’s why it’s imperative to create a space that inspires you, lifts your spirit and makes you feel empowered and happy.
Write Positive “I Am” Statements
Several personal growth and psychology books I’ve read have touted the benefits of writing “I Am” statements. The point of this exercise is to mentally empower yourself by focusing on all your positive traits. In addition to which, by phrasing it in the present (as opposed to saying “I will be”), you give more power to the impact of these words.
If there is a trait or characteristic you want to develop, imagine you already have it. Using your imagination as a creative tool to help you envision acting or behaving a certain way helps you become it more easily.
Similar to how sports psychologists help athletes mentally train (by guiding them to envision themselves performing exactly as they want), this exercise challenges you to think about yourself as already having the tools you need to succeed. It’s like a daily mental rehearsal that helps you realize you have the power to act and be how you want.
The more often you remind yourself that you are (and are becoming) the person you want to be (especially through written “I Am” statements), the more capable you become. Some call it the “fake it until you make it” attitude. In my opinion, it’s more of a technique that simply helps our brains get re-wired into working the way we want.
When we focus on who we are (in the best light) and the traits that we admire in ourselves (including those that we’re working on), the more empowered we feel. As a result of this mindful activity, we feel happier.
For more inspiring ideas, check out the Personal Growth section on I&C.