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7 Things You Need to Look Out for When Trying to Experience Happiness

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Peak experiences. We all get excited about fulfilling our current craving be it planning a trip, being invited to a special party, finding the perfect shoe to wear or having our latest crush call for a date. This is not shallow. It’s fun and I’m all in. I love it all, but I am here to tell you true happiness is not about hitting the peak now and then.

It’s about maintaining the life’s peak experiences. Momentary fulfillment is fun but it is situational happiness. If this, then that. How do you feel when nothing special is happening? I’d like to address a happiness that lasts a lifetime. A default state of happiness and appreciation when it seems like nothing is happening.

You could say that what exists between peak experiences is the gap. How do we all feel about the gap? Dull? Uncertain? This is where true happiness is experienced. You could call it ease and peace and joy on a low simmer.

Happiness, like a bicep, needs to be worked on and once you have developed the strength of consistent well-being, it takes little effort to keep it strong. Without working on it, your happiness will be as flaccid as the muscles you don’t tend to. Sometimes it is easier to get at happiness by looking at what corrodes it.

Below are 7 things you need to look out for because of their ability to sabotage your happiness:

1. Our Emotions

Even though they appear to come out of nowhere, they don’t. We allow ourselves or others to stir them up inside of us until they take over our mood and, eventually, our life. If we don’t learn how to control our thoughts, our emotions will run over us and our dreams. Happiness is not an emotion, it is our home base only with lots of clutter on top of it.

Antidote: The clutter is our thoughts. Happiness demands we see things clearly.  Emotions are more like a cloudy cup we drink from. Thought precedes emotion. Learn to control your thoughts and the emotions will no longer run the show.

2. A Default Identity

We construct our world through what we say to ourselves and what we choose to accept from what others say to us. Untamed, our minds are reckless, random, and reactive. It doesn’t occur to us that we have control over our thoughts because we assume they are all true.

Even our beliefs are just thoughts we either never examined or thoughts we keep thinking. Yet one day, we choose to exercise control instead of reacting and find we do indeed have choice. Choosing happiness is equivalent to being free.

Antidote: Emotions come from thoughts and we can learn to control our thoughts. That is the happiness muscle at work. Off with the negative weight.

“Happiness is a choice. You can choose to be happy. There’s going to be stress in life, but it’s your choice whether you let it affect you or not.” – Valerie Bertinelli

3. Living Conditionally

Much of our day to day happiness relies upon other people acting a certain way and conditions being “perfect” in the world according to us. Since we can’t control others, we should drop the “shoulds” and embrace the “coulds.” What could be? The mood of your life is at stake here.

Antidote: To get the shoes, or the Rolex, or the house on the hill is a short-term thrill. The shoes will get scuffed and out of date, the Rolex may get stolen, and maintaining the unreliable notion of perfection will make you uptight. Happiness lives between your ears. To live unconditionally is to choose happiness over your “shoulds” and other people’s opinions and actions.

4. Being In Control

That you can exercise control over others is a myth. Even if they seem to go along on the outside, you don’t have control over their thoughts and feelings. You’ve got to give up trying to control other people. They are not animals to be tamed.

The only control I recommend is taking control of your thoughts and therefore, your perspective. We try to control people out of our own insecurity. Insecurity is also a thought. Control is too small a pen to play in.

Antidote: Catch yourself when you want to exert control over another. No one has successfully changed anyone else. Don’t threaten or pout when things don’t go your way. When you take responsibility for your mood, life will be sweet.

5. Judging

It is not possible to be happy when you are judging yourself or another. Happiness requires equilibrium. Judging keeps you off balance. It is a signal of seeing yourself or another as superior or inferior.

Judging is the product of a foolish ego who likes a short lived win until the next “challenge” to itself comes along. Happiness doesn’t come from comparison any more than it comes from being taller or shorter than someone.

Antidote: Change the thought. Silently wish them (or you) well and compliment them in your mind and move on.

“Judging a person does not define who they are. It defines who you are.” – Wayne Dyer

6. Complaining

Most of us regurgitate the same complaints to our friends, therapists, and bartender. Our lives seem to revolve around a few complaints. Think of it this way: Inside every complaint is a request. The complaint is asking you what you really want? Focus on the positive action or your complaints may come to define you.

Antidote: Get up and get out. Put your attention on creating something new. You can’t have a fulfilling life through an unfulfilled journey.

7. Being Right

This certainly is the booby prize and a lonely place. The ego loves little wins, acknowledgement from others, but there is generally little peace to be had in such an interaction. I would love to convince my husband of the value of a certain program I listen to. He wants none of it. While I would love to share it with him and see him grow from it, he has said “no.” I respect that. What’s “right” for me may not appeal to you.

Antidote: Allow things to be this way and that way. They usually are. No one is in this world to live up to your expectations, and for sure, you won’t live up to theirs!

There is no gym for happiness outside of you. By divesting yourself of the automatic reactions you have to things, you will come to realize that a change in attitude, moving a few thoughts around is all that is required. Only by exploring what is driving the negative into our lives, dropping the drama, the funk, and beliefs that don’t serve us will we free ourselves to be filled with joy.

Joy is the outcome of the happiness muscle workout. Flex that muscle wherever you go. It’s stunning and contagious.  

Which one of the above 7 things do you need to work on most in order to enjoy a more fulfilling and happy life? Let us know below!

Known throughout her career as the happiness expert, Nanci Sherman was raised in New York City and earned a B.S in Journalism and Communications at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Nanci revolutionized the industry and consulted on leadership and motivation on three continents. Nanci raises the bar on happiness. Her personal quest has been "How do I live an extraordinary life?" Nanci studied with some of the greatest experts in the field of self-development and personal growth. She synthesized their teachings, expanded upon them, and translated this into her work success and life. You could say she is “terminally” happy and wants to pass that recipe for joy onto you. You will find her enthusiasm to be infectious, and her insights to be profound. She is a Happiness and Leadership Coach, Hotel Revolutionary and an established Author.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Tiffany Plummer

    Feb 10, 2019 at 11:32 pm

    Loved reading this! We all fall victim to at least one of the 7 points you mentioned in this post on a daily basis but the key is to always be mindful on your journey to happiness.Thank you for this!

    Love,
    Tiffany

    • Nanci Sherman

      Feb 16, 2019 at 3:37 am

      Thanks, Tiffany. I hope you are living a life you love and wish you every happiness. Check out my book Follow Your Bliss, Not Your Blisters: How to Live Unconditionally Happy for anyone you know that needs a kick start to taking control of their happiness quotient. Best to you!

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If You Want to Avoid Failure Once and for All, Ask Yourself These 4 Questions

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You just invested in yourself and in your business. You are taking massive action but the results are just not clicking yet. While everyone is making 10X, 20X, and even 100X ROI on their initial investment, you have made $0 return. Failure is starting to overcast your bright shining positive attitude and you are feeling the pain and shame of it. (more…)

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3 Simple Hacks That Can Recharge Your Willpower and Help You Perform Better at Work

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How many times did you wake up feeling like you could conquer the world? You set ambitious goals for the day, you put on your best attire and walked out the door with a big smile on your face but eventually, life took over. Traffic, emails, work, family, and everything else you have around slowly but steadily started to drain your energy and made you feel exhausted.

You run out of battery, and the only solution that seemed viable was to rely on more caffeine. When that stopped working, all the temptations around you started to look much more appealing, and that sense of drive and commitment you had before slowly faded away. This is you running out of willpower.

Willpower: what is it? Why is it limited?

The American Psychology Association describes willpower as “the ability to resist short-term temptations in order to meet long-term goals.” In the book “The Willpower Instinct”, Dr. Kelly McGonigal, explains how every person’s willpower is limited, and slowly depletes throughout the day. The more “willpower challenges” you face, the quicker your reserve drains. Dr. McGonigal divided the different types of willpower challenges you might encounter in three categories:

  • I will: We face this type of challenge whenever we should do something, but we simply don’t feel like getting it done right now.
  • I won’t: We face this challenge when we try to resist temptation, or we try to keep cool in stressful situations.
  • I want: This is a particular type of challenge where we keep track of our long term goals, dreams, and desires. In this instance, we feel like we should take action right now to come one step closer to the goal. 

It’s easy to recognize it when you face a willpower challenge because you literally “feel it in your body.” Imagine being really hungry and walking in front of a bakery. The sight and the smell of pastries quickly triggers an “I won’t” type of challenge, and it takes a severe amount of effort and energy to walk away.

Every time you manage to win one of those challenges, a little bit of your willpower reserve gets used. The more challenges you face daily, the harder it will be to stay true to your goals.

Can you train or recharge your willpower?

A growing body of research suggests that willpower should be considered a muscle. To strengthen it, you should exercise it regularly, but you should not overwork it. Therefore, we shouldn’t try to “be good” at all times. Instead, we should learn how to relax and recharge our willpower.

The general advice on how to improve willpower involves sleep, proper nutrition, and regular exercise. This broad and general recommendation is often not downright applicable by most, because it consists of changing various daily habits. Luckily, three very effective hacks have been discovered, that have an immediate effect on our willpower and take just a few minutes to apply.

Here are the 3 ways to refill your willpower reserves:

1. Focused breathing

Breathing, when done correctly, can stimulate the release of calming hormones while reducing the release of stress hormones like cortisol and catecholamines. To make this effective, you should deeply and slowly inhale through the nose for at least five seconds. Fill your belly with air first, then your chest, and when there’s no more space for air, still try to do tiny inhalations through the nose.

You should feel a pulling sensation around your neck and trapezius muscles. Once your lungs are full, try to hold the breath for five seconds, then slowly exhale through the mouth for at least five seconds. If you repeat this process ten to twenty times, you should feel dramatically more relaxed. Use this method several times a day, especially when you’re experiencing high levels of stress or anxiety.

2. Reward yourself when you accomplish a micro goal

According to a recent study, frequent instant rewards can boost motivation, and therefore, willpower. Creating your own reward system can help you to accomplish your to-do list, and also resist temptations. Since every individual has different tastes, you should come up with creative ideas about the small and frequent rewards you will give yourself upon winning any willpower challenge.

You can see this hack in practice in Apps like the popular Duolinguo, where after completing each lesson you get presented with a chance to open a treasure chest. This rewarding system seems to keep the users much more likely to keep learning new lessons.

3. Taking cold showers

Your body has an autonomic response to cold water. Getting into a cold shower is a difficult (but minor) willpower challenge on its own. As I previously mentioned, winning a willpower challenge strengthens your willpower muscle. Having a morning cold shower, on top of having multiple health benefits, will set you up for a positive winning streak of further challenges.

High performance is the sum of many small habits. Successful people don’t have an unlimited reserve of willpower, but they do have a set of daily rituals that made them succeed. These three hacks are some of the most effective techniques to develop willpower, but some of them may not fit every individual. You should try to find the perfect mix of daily practices that best fits your lifestyle and likes, so that you can strengthen your willpower muscle and perform better at work.

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3 Inspiring Lessons We Can Learn From Jim Carrey About the Law of Attraction

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You’ve more than likely heard of Jim Carrey before. Over the years, he has starred in many popular films including The Truman Show, The Mask, and Bruce Almighty (just to name a few.)

But his personality goes a lot deeper than just his comedic persona and movie star charisma. In fact, Jim Carrey is probably one of the most philosophical individuals on the planet

Although he isn’t in the spotlight as much anymore, throughout the years, he has credited his success and fortunes by applying the Law of attraction into his life. What’s even more inspiring is that Jim Carrey, like you and I, came from humble beginnings. No silver spoon or easy ticket. In fact, his family was very poor throughout his childhood. So what made him so successful in attracting such an extravagant and self-fulfilling life?

Here are 3 lessons you can learn from Jim Carrey when it comes to manifesting your dreams into a reality:

1. You Have To Take Action

You can’t just visualize then go eat a sandwich”, Jim Carrey says. It goes without saying that the law of attraction does require action. You cannot simply rely on visualizing and expect to see results, especially when it comes to manifesting desires that other people would like to achieve also. E.g. Careers, scholarships, competitions, anything that involves another individual.

Visualization and positive thinking are crucial when it comes to using the law of attraction, but you have to meet the universe halfway with the steps you take as well. We are physical beings that require physical steps to get physical results. The real key is to make daily plans/goals in order to get you closer towards achieving your desires. So after that sandwich, make sure start taking action toward your dreams!

This could be working on your hobbies or passion, applying for that dream job or studying to get better grades. As long as you are moving toward your goals then there’s no reason why it can’t happen. So get out there and kick some butt.

2. Double Down On What You Love

My father could have been a great comedian but he didn’t believe that that was possible for him, and so he made a conservative choice. Instead, he got a safe job as an accountant and when I was 12 years old he was let go from that safe job, and our family had to do whatever we could to survive. I learned many great lessons from my father. Not the least of which was that: You can fail at what you don’t want. So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.”

If this story of Jim Carrey’s father doesn’t pull on your heartstrings and inspire you at the same time, nothing else will! This is such an undeniable life lesson that everyone needs to learn. A lesson to take risks, push comfort zones and go all-in on what you love doing. So if your dreams, hobbies or goals seem far fetched to the majority, then you are already beating the other 99%.

Be that 1% that’s willing to dream big and rise above the norm. Unfortunately, in today’s society, our ancestral instincts still rule our everyday life. Fear is one of them and controls the majority of our population. It’s scary to push comfort zones and try something new, the thought of failure is often paralyzing to many. But my question to you is, will you look back one day and regret the chances you didn’t take?

3. Keep Your Eye On The Prize

As far as I can tell, it’s just about letting the universe know what you want and working toward it, while letting go of how it comes to pass.” Holding onto every little detail when it comes to manifesting, can conjure up more harm than good. The reason is that the universe will deliver in ways you might not expect.

If you are too busy wondering when your desires will manifest, comparing yourself to others, or ignoring every sign that doesn’t look like your detailed plan you’ve written down, then you may be missing out on opportunities that are right in front of you! Your visualizations don’t have to be perfect, in fact, it’s better to just let go altogether and focus on the result itself rather than dwelling on every little detail. This doesn’t mean to simply forget about what you want but instead having the confidence it will happen in time. 

An example of this is when Jim Carrey wrote himself a check for 30 million dollars. The only detail he knew was that he would earn it through his acting career, and he did indeed achieve this goal! So make sure to tell the universe what you want, but try not to hold onto every little detail!

Jim Carrey is just another person like you and me, with his own personal ups and downs in his road to success. He is someone to look up to when applying the law of attraction in your life too. It doesn’t matter if your goals or desires are different because the core foundation will always stay the same. You can and will do this if you think, feel and act as if it will happen!

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Meditation for Beginners: How It Works and Where to Start

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Meditation was first developed in India many years ago (around 5000-3500 BCE). It took quite some time to become popular in the western world, but today, it is celebrated as a therapeutic tool to ease stress, anxiety, depression, and addictions. In the past years, it has also become recognized as helping to improve mental performance, and consequently became a multi-billion dollar business. If you’ve never tried it, you may be wondering how something so simple as sitting with your eyes closed could deliver such incredible benefits.

How meditation works

Meditation is about training in awareness and getting a healthy sense of perspective over one’s thoughts. Many think that meditating is about trying to achieve a zen state of mind, but that’s not the point. Observing one’s thoughts, and then letting go of them so that eventually you may start to better understand them, is the real goal of each meditation practice.

There are different techniques to go through this mental process. Some focus on the breath and bodily sensation, others make you visualize an object, and others help you to channel your thoughts towards acts of love and kindness.

A typical meditation session involves you sitting on a chair or cross-legged on the floor with your eyes closed. Once you assume a comfortable position and focus on your breath, you should start noticing your thoughts. At this point, according to what type of technique you’re using, you will try to let those thoughts go away by focusing on something else (this could be your breath or a mental image you created).

With time and practice, you may be able to reach a state of mind where very few thoughts (or none) are present. Despite the simplicity of this process, meditating for more than ten minutes is extremely tough for most. Many people that try meditation get discouraged by the fact that “they can’t stop thinking.” In fact, it has been proven that people spend most of their days being anything but mindful and peaceful.

In a 2010 study, Harvard researchers asked more than 2000 adults about their thoughts and actions at random moments throughout their day via an iPhone app. People’s minds wandered 47% of the time, and mind wandering often triggered unhappiness, the scientists reported.

They also observed that spending time observing our thoughts without getting stuck on them, may help to better understand oneself, and possibly being able to reduce the number of negative thoughts one experiences.

“The mind is definitely something that can be transformed, and meditation is a means to transform it.” – Dalai Lama

What science says about meditation

People have practiced meditation for thousands of years, but scientists have studied its effects for only a dozen. In the past few years, many studies have been published about the neurological benefits of meditation, proving it to improve brain function in many different ways.

Meditation’s benefits range from preserving the aging brain, to improving happiness by reducing the activity of the brain’s “me center” (monkey mind). A more recent study has even proven that meditation is as powerful as antidepressants in treating depression, anxiety, and pain. Many more studies are being conducted every day on meditation, and we can expect to gain a lot more insight in the near future.

Can anyone meditate?

Millions of people are practicing mindfulness meditation every day with great results, but there are also as many people that have tried meditating and didn’t like it or didn’t manage to be consistent with their practice. The most important part of developing a meditation practice is consistency. You don’t have to meditate every single day, but the benefits are tied to regular, consistent practice.

Some studies claim that some benefits of meditation such as improved mood, decreased stress and decreased blood pressure, can be felt after a single session. Some other benefits like increased focus and decreased anxiety may be experienced after a few weeks and others take longer to develop.

Some people claim that as little as five minutes of meditation per day can make miracles, but research shows that a regular practice associated with benefits involves 10-20 minutes of meditation at least three times per week.

“Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more.” – Mother Teresa

What’s the best way to begin a meditation practice?

A good place to start for aspiring mediators is Headspace. Andy Puddicombe, a former English student in sport science, dropped his studies to travel to Asia and trained as a Buddhist monk. He created Headspace with the goal of helping millions of people to live a more mindful life. Over 30 million people have downloaded and use headspace. This is due to his simplicity and its beautiful design and animations.

Do you meditate? If so, what’s your favorite aspect of it? Share your thoughts below!

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