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My Top 5 Life-Changing Ways to Exponentially Increase Your Happiness.

Have you ever learnt something super simple that changed your life from that moment forward? Maybe a simple life hack or a ridiculously obvious concept that suddenly made complete sense and hit you like a tonne of bricks?


In my many years of personal and professional development, I've come across a few corkers- so much so that I can almost draw a line in the sand to mark life 'before I learnt this' and 'the rest of my life as I know it'.


There's a very good reason I focus on health AND happiness... Happiness is something we all want to experience and hold on to throughout our lives.


One of the many definitions of happiness is a state of well-being and contentment - a feeling of joy, satisfaction, and fulfillment. But happiness is not something that just happens to us; it is something that we create for ourselves.


There are so many things that we can do to improve our happiness. Below are 5 ideas that, for me, were moments of profound realisation, lines drawn in the sand and crazy simple mindset shifts that created my very happy life as I know it. They may be deceptively simple, but they can also help you to exponentially improve your happiness

#1 Develop a growth mindset.

Carol Dweck, a Stanford University psychologist, has found that people who have a growth mindset believe that their intelligence and abilities can be developed through hard work and effort. People with a growth mindset are more likely to be happy and successful because they are not afraid of challenges. They are also more likely to persist in the face of setbacks.


The book 'Mindset: The New Psychology of Success', by Carol Dweck was the first significant book I ever read about 'mindset' and it changed my world completely. I helped me realise that all I needed to be successful was the desire to learn. I didn't need to have special talents or the right personality or the perfect situation to be as successful as I wanted. All I need to do is give it a go, learn from it, and occasionally ask for help.


It totally went against the idea that you had to be an 'alpha male' or a cunning sales person to be able to run a successful business, and I've become more and more successful ever since!


It's such a simple concept but simply choosing to learn from something, rather than discounting it because you're not automatically good at it. It changes your outlook on what's possible, and prevents the ego taking over and telling you there's no point trying if you're not gonna be good at it.


#2. Don't be afraid of stress.

Stress can be a good thing. It can motivate us to take action and achieve our goals, and it can help us connect with others. However, too much of the worng kind of stress can be harmful. Kelly McGonigal, a Stanford University lecturer, has found that there is more than just one type of stress (the bad kind) and that stress can actually make us stronger and more resilient, depending on how you think about it. The key is to learn how to manage stress in a healthy way, and to use the different types of stress to your advantage.


This book ('The Upside of Stress' by Kelly McGonigal) landed in my lap at a time when the number one thing that was stopping me from moving forward in my business was the fear of the harmful effects stress.


In case you didn't already know this... running a sole trader business can be highly stressful! Ultimately, the buck stops entirely with you. If you stop, money stops, life stops.


I was terrified that if I did the work required to make the business work, I'd end up suffering the consequences of chronic stress for the rest of my life. And I just didn't think it would be worth it.


But this book changed everything! I was shocked that the way you think about stress ultimately determines whether it is physiologically harmful or beneficial (again with the power of mindset!)



#3 Learn from your emotions.

Our emotions are not always bad things. They can actually be a source of information and guidance. When we learn to listen to our emotions, we can better understand ourselves and make better decisions.


I learnt this as a bit of a side-effect of doing my coaching qualification and then coaching my clients through some pretty tricky emotional stuff. The idea is this:


You only hold onto an emotion until you learn from it.


We often get taught that we shouldn't be sad or angry and our default state should be some form of happiness or contentment, but that's just not how emotions work. Emotions flow in and out of our lives like waves on a shore. Our emotions are really helpful triggers to action and unless we allow ourselves to 'ride the wave' of the emotion and go through it to the end, we never end up processing it and end up holding onto it rather than moving on from it.


In my experience, the best way to move past (through) an emotion is to firstly acknowledge that it's ok to feel how you're feeling.


Try as they might, nobody can tell you you're wrong for feeling how you feel, and it wouldn't change anything anyway. Allow yourself to feel how you feel with no judgement.


Secondly, sit with it and feel the emotion for as long as it's there.


Feeling grumpy? that's fine, it's not the new permanent state that needs to be quashed as soon as possible... it's a temporary feeling that will pass like all others.

Let yourself feel grumpy for the hour or morning or day, knowing that it will pass soon and make way for the next emotion.


As counterintuitive as it sounds, trying to get rid of an emotion quickly actually prolongs it in the form of residual or bubbling emotion later down the track.


Next, notice what brought it on and learn from the actions or thoughts that caused the emotions. Sometimes asking yourself why a few times can uncover the true reason for the emotion.


Emotions often have themes, for example, anger can be a trigger to protect loved ones or your own boundaries; sadness can be a nudge to let go of something that no longer is; fear keeps you safe from harm, but sometimes can be a reminder to check whether or not there is real potential for harm or just perceived; hurt can challenge you to check your expectations of yourself and others, and guilt can be a moral compass and help guide you to do what you know is right for you and the people around you.


But holding onto the emotions can keep you stuck.


Ask yourself: 'What's a constructive way to prevent this from happening again?'


Lastly, let it go! If you hold onto it you won't learn from it. As the old saying goes 'This too shall pass'... just let it!


#4 There is no one definition of success.

Success is different for everyone. What matters is that you define success for yourself and that you work towards achieving your own definition of success.


I remember the first time I sat back and really thought about what success is to me. I was asked to think of what success looked like and the image that immediately popped into my head was of a middle-aged man in a grey, three-piece business suit, holding a briefcase, standing in front of a brand new red Ferrari.


I was shocked! And then it dawned on me... I'd been struggling to figure out why I couldn't just do the tasks I needed to do to build my business and stop making excuses and just get it done... this was it!


I had no internal desire to succeed because 'success' didn't look anything like me, so it was almost futile to try.


I'm not a man, I'm not middle-aged, I don't have any desire to work in a high-flying corporate job, have no interest in fast cars, don't like red and I would never wear head-to-toe drab boring grey! Gimme some bright and fun colour any day!


Not only that, but when I zoomed in to this image of 'success' The guy's tie and briefcase were blowing in the wind from the chaotic traffic speeding past, and he was on the phone looking stressed to the max, AAND, I'm pretty sure he'd started sprouting some stress related grey hairs! I am generally cool, calm and collected and love nothing more than spending time in my backyard listening to the birds and the trees blowing in the wind... as far away from heavy traffic as I can!


The point is, not one part of this image of success resonated with or appealed to me so, instead, I thought about what I would have and be doing when I felt successful. And from that perspective my true version of success looks like this:


I have enough money to cover all my expenses plus be able to go anywhere and do anything we want. Have enough free time to spend time with my loved ones, pursue hobbies, learn new things and spend time in the garden. Do a job that I love that helps people be happier and have easier lives. And be able to donate time and resources to causes that are important to me.


That's it. I don't need fluff, stuff, or status - just the time to do what I enjoy and be with who I love.


When I realised that was my true version of success, I realised that actually, I'm already almost there.


And I'm sure if you did the same, magically you'd feel a whole lot more successful too (or it might be time for a much needed change!)



#5 You are already enough.

You don't need to be perfect to be happy. You are already enough just the way you are. Accept yourself for who you are, flaws, mistakes, unreached potential and all.


This is the concept that I can really draw a line in the sand and define my life by before and after I realised that I am already enough.


In the 'before' category, life was difficult and complicated. I was constantly trying to learn enough, get enough experience, earn enough, be smart enough, successful enough, pretty enough, kind enough or motivated enough- but the bottom line is that I was trying to fill the gaps that I thought were going to make me feel like I was 'enough'. Full stop.


I don't remember the exact moment, or even what made me realise it, but when I realised (or maybe it was that I decided) I am already enough, my world changed (yes I know... this blog is very 'my world changed' heavy, but it's true!).


All of a sudden, it was ok that I was different, it was ok that not everyone likes me, it was ok that I wasn't in the same job or financial situation as everyone else, because I was ok.


I went from feeling that I had to achieve things to be worthy, to achieving things because I wanted to and I enjoyed the challenge. I went from feeling like every argument or disagreement I had was a personal attack on me, to understanding that sometimes, people just tell you how they're feeling in a way that brings you into it- not because you have anything to do with how they're feeling.


I know that I had heard people say it plenty of times before and it just didn't compute. 'You're perfect just the way you are' always seemed like a grossly excessive platitude- there's no such thing as perfect after all, so how can I be perfect?! It didn't sink in and definitely didn't feel true.


And I know that some of you might be feeling the same.


So, if you've read this and it doesn't quite work in your brain, to you, I'll say this:


If you are alive, you are enough.


You don't have to be anything or do anything to be worthy of love and happiness, and you never will. All the things you are and all the things you do are simply a bonus that determine what and who is in your life.


I hope one day this makes sense and that you experience what life is like when you trust that it's true. Trust me, it'll change your world!



Wanna learn more about how I did this? Send me an email: mel@thousandreasons.com.au I'd love to help!







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2 comentarios


Miembro desconocido
15 jun 2023

Well thank you for this insight!

I am happy and career is successful, I have taken challenges and pushed myself in more ways than I could have thought, but it never stops, for me. I am always thinking of new things to do, create and see not because I feel unfulfilled but because my happiness and success gives me the confidence to strive and look further than I am, in fact after reading this it nurtured an idea I have had for some time. I might just give it a go!!

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Mel
Mel
20 jun 2023
Contestando a

Thanks Chris, Your 'give it a go' attitude has taken you very far. Good on you for continually challenging yourself 💗

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