Stop chasing happiness!

Chasing happiness

I have been pondering this statement a lot lately “stop chasing happiness.” What does chasing happiness actually mean? The mental picture I get in my mind is a person looking frantic and harassed running around everyday trying to find happiness, but never hitting the jackpot.

If I asked you were you chasing happiness what would you say?

Are you someone who is unhappy? Do you think about happiness a lot? Does being happy consume most of your waking hours? Do you chastise yourself for not being happier? Do you compare your level of happiness to that of other people?

WOW so many questions!

Happiness seems to be the trend at the moment. Everyone is talking about it. What is happiness? How can you live a happier live? What do you need to do to be happier? Obviously I am in the thick of it because my aim in life is to colour the world with happiness one person at a time. But can this intense focus on happiness actually make people unhappy?

My new book on happiness is all about consciously and proactively working on your happiness. The Dalai Lama said “happiness is not something ready made it comes from your own actions.” Both these concepts indicate you have to think about what makes you happy and then act on it in order to be happy.

But does this mean you have to chase happiness? I don’t believe so.

Many people chase happiness because they think it exists outside of them. They work on the notion that a new car, new home, new clothes, next holiday, next promotion, next job will make them happy. These things may create a short burst of happiness but it’s not sustainable. The brain just moves onto the next thing that it believes will create happiness and the chase starts all over again.

Happiness exists inside everyone of us; it’s an inside job. We just forget it is there. We cover up our happiness with layers of external stuff. Some of this stuff is tough and challenging and some of this stuff is external bullshit.

If we can shed some of these layers and create some space to breathe we will be able to look for other possibilities.  It is then we start to realise that happiness requires an acceptance of the negative and a focus on the things that are already good in our lives.

Below are some tips on how you can gently nurture the happiness that resides inside of you. By acting on these tips (no chasing required) overtime you will be able to peel back some of these layers.

Lighten up

Think about something that instantly lights up your face and brings you joy. All too often we take life too seriously and as Oscar Wilde said “Life is too important to be taken seriously.” I have a list of five things that bring me joy written down on a card in my wallet. These are watching a movie, reading a book, sitting by the water, having a hot chocolate with my girlfriends or cranking up the music and dancing around my lounge room like no one is watching (it’s the best mood booster ever).

What are five things you can do to bring you instant joy?

Aim for colour

If the colour of the food on your plate is a sea of beige I can guarantee you will be eating food that is high in fat, high in sugar and high in salt. This is a recipe for unhappiness. If you aim to put colour on your plate with natural wholefoods you will be filling up your body with premium fuel. You will have more energy, be able to think clearer, move more easily and be healthier from the inside out.

Every time you eat a meal check to see how beige it is. Your aim is to colour your plate with three different naturally colourful foods at every meal.

Up and out

Get up and out in the great outdoors, connect with Mother Nature and move your body. A brisk walk around the block will release some happy endorphins and instantly lift your mood. Everyday make it a priority to spend 10 mindful minutes outside in the fresh air.

Give thanks

Whilst you are out in the fresh air think about three things that are already good in you life. It can be as simple as giving thanks for the beautiful blue sky and the freedom you have to enjoy it. When you are being grateful it is virtually impossible to be consumed with negative thoughts.

Each week write down at least three things you are grateful for. In no time your brain will be searching for the positive experiences instead of focusing on the negative ones.

Help others

Did you know life isn’t all about you! When you are feeling unhappy take the focus away from yourself and go and help someone else. When you make someone else feel happy it comes back to you twofold. It can be as simple as giving thanks to a friend, helping someone with a deadline or stopping by a work mates desk and asking if they are ok.

Happiness is not about chasing it’s about gently creating an awareness around what brings you joy and then consciously acting on it.

Be happy, colour the world.

Claire

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