5 Simple Things You Can Practice to Experience a Richer, More Sustainable Sense of Happiness…

Well we are into the new year – your first full week back to work is behind you and now you have 51 weeks ahead of you – yay!

 

Are you also a week into your new year’s resolution?

 

As we all know, most people fall back into old routines by February – so do resolutions not work?  I don’t think resolutions work or don’t work – I think only the people adopting them do (or don’t) work – as in they do or don’t do the work involved in keeping that resolution active in your life.  If you tend to drift away from resolutions – no judgment – I do too.  Maybe the reason they don’t work for me (and what I do instead), will resonate with you too…

 

Personally, I am not one for resolutions because they mostly exist within the context of doing something differently or taking some new routine or ritual into your life with the belief that the benefit of that new ritual will bring you something wonderful that wasn’t there before.  In other words, it implies that something was wrong in your life before and this resolution is the answer to fixing that wrong.  It all sounds like a fat recipe for disaster to me because all it does is bring you into a deeper awareness of the wrong in your life – which usually only brings more wrong into your life.  Who wants that – not me – so after about 21 days I only become more present to what was wrong in the first place – no thanks!

 

Instead, I have learned to think of a word or a quality that I would like to turn up the volume on in my life – something I want to develop a stronger muscle for practicing and experiencing.  This word or quality is there already – I would just like to experience it in a more vivid way.

 

Last year my word was wonderful.  And I have to say – I think I had a pretty darn wonderful year!  I didn’t accomplish all the to do’s I would have liked and a lot of unexpected things came up which could have easily been labeled as tough, heavy or downright dark – but to me – it was all just wonderful.  With everything that came up I would simply ask myself “How might I make this experience wonderful?” – and it would be so.  For example…

 

I cleared some emotional blocks from my life – but I did it in Sedona, AZ (amazing!), I changed up my health and fitness routine rising at 4AM most mornings to accomplish it (peace and solitude at the Jesus hour PLUS I did it with friends and with amazing support from professionals), I started yoga with some meditation (but I did it with my husband and children – yoga is a gift that became profoundly more magical when I did it with my husband and children).  I could go on and on with more examples – but I hope you see what I mean – I never set out last year to join a gym, or work on myself in any way – I simply asked what would make today more wonderful?  Sometimes what came to me was to just light a candle while making dinner (a task I don’t normally enjoy) – other days I booked a trip to Sedona and was there 2 weeks later, one evening I said yes to checking out an introduction seminar to a gym my friend wanted to join – at that meeting I saw the possibility of community, support, and training my brain to think a different way (all things I think are wonderful).

 

This year the word happy came to mind.  I loved it because I think I am a pretty happy person already – so the thought of immersing myself deeper into this state of being really excited me!  With that decision it was no shock to me that after deciding that happy would be my 2016 state of being experience that I stumbled across an interview with Shawn Achor.

 

Many of you may know who Shawn is – I didn’t.  Shawn is an expert on happiness.  He taught the most popular course at Harvard known as “the happiness course”.  Shawn is an expert in the study of positive psychologist which I was shocked to hear came into being in 1998 – did the world really wait this long to study the effects of positivity?

 

This interview with Shawn was on in another room but it really caught my ear when I heard him say something I too have believed for years – success follows happiness.  Even in all my correspondence I always sign off with “Best wishes for your happiness and success” – and it’s very deliberate that happiness is before success in that statement.

 

Anyway, Shawn offered 5 simple things you can practice to experience a richer, more sustainable sense of happiness – of course I went right to work on them (and to keep it wonderful – I invited my husband and children to join me – everything is more wonderful to me when they are with me – ahhh!):

 

1.  Name 3 things you are grateful for every morning – My daughter and I share a morning cuddle every day and discuss our 3 things – then I text each of our 3 things to my husband and son and they share back their 3 things.

 

2.  Write/journal details about something meaningful you experienced in the past 24 hours every night - we each discuss this as a family at dinner every night or I write about it in my journal every night before bed.  For all of us I have noticed meaning comes in the most simply ways from people – holding a door open for another, noticing someone having pride in the work they do or going the extra mile for you, a smile from a stranger, a stranger offering you change for the parking meter, a compliment.  This exercise is bringing each of us more present within those moments (and seeing the not so nice moments as our opportunity to be meaningful to another in need).

 

3.  Thank or acknowledge someone for something they did everyday – a simple text or email does it – takes less than 20 seconds.

 

4.  Exercise - it trains your brain to believe that your behavior matters – yoga 3x a week is a gift!

 

5.  Meditate – take 2 minutes to observe your breath.  Shawn says focusing on 1 thing for a period of time reduces stress.  Again, yoga is a gift – and it turns out – a multi-benefiting practice for happiness!

 

My wish for you…

 

…to find your state of being experience – a state that you acknowledge already having and would like to experience more vividly beginning this year

 

AND…

 

… that your teacher appears with the HOW answers as quickly as mine did.  Remember – your job is to decide WHAT shall be and to act when the Universe provides you the HOW.

 

Want some help deciding on your state of being experience

 

Check out my free Values Clarity exercise.  Get in touch with your top 5 life priorities AND the value those priorities offer you and those you care most about the opportunity to experience.

 

About Gina Calvano

Gina Calvano is a certified coach and Senior Professional in Human Resources, with over 20 years of experience as a talent management professional in both the private and non-profit sectors. With a unique approach, she combines her strategic corporate expertise and accreditations with metaphysics and transformational thinking which has resulted in people all over the world feeling good about themselves and connected to a sense of purpose.

She created the Success Readiness Bootcamp™, a step by step process that enables people to easily discover their unique talents and abilities and match them to majors, jobs, industries and leisure pursuits. Gina is also the co-author of Breakthrough! Inspirational Strategies for an Audaciously Authentic Life with NY Times Best Selling Authors Marci Shimoff, Janet Bray Attwood and Chris Attwood and Powerful Connections Made Easy™ with Aprille Trupiano, and is currently working on her next book — Caged in My Cube: The Turnaround Guide For Loving The Job You Hate.

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