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7 Ways to Live Happier Than Most

Happiness is a continuation of happenings which are not resisted - Deepak Chopra

You weren’t born into this world unhappy.

As a newborn baby you were, as Carl Rogers(1) would describe, ‘a model of congruence.’ If you were hungry, you cried. If you were thirsty, you cried. If you were uncomfortable or wet, you cried.

Those cries were designed to send messages to your carers that something was wrong and, if you were lucky and had ‘good-enough’,(2) attuned parents, they would have responded to those communications and helped you to get your needs met.

As long as your needs were met and you were neither hungry, thirsty, uncomfortable or frightened, your natural default position would have been peace and contentment.

There is a clear message here. If you can get your needs met from your environment, you will feel peaceful, content and live happier. That is your default position.

Do you deserve happiness?

So what happens to us along the way? Why do many of us find those positive feelings elusive?

Perhaps you’re telling yourself negative stories? Perhaps there is little internal critic which says things like ‘you don’t deserve to live happier. You’re not good enough.’

But you were not born a negative person. Somewhere along the way you started picking up negative feedback from other people. Negative thinking can get to be a habit as you lose touch with the essential you, the peaceful and content version of yourself, who deserves happiness.

Perhaps you’re haunted by mistakes from the past? Perhaps people have let you down or your expectations were not fulfilled? Perhaps you find life overwhelming and have lost hope of finding true inner happiness?

Warren’s story

When Warren came to see me he had the look of a man who had lost hope. A series of setbacks had accumulated to what now seemed like an insurmountable mountain of worries and obstacles in his path to peace and contentment.

A recent business venture had gone under. He owed money to the bank and now his health was giving him cause for concern.
‘I wake up in the morning and don’t seem to have any energy to get out of bed.’ said Warren with a sigh.
‘I seem to worry all day and toss and turn all night. It’s the same old problems going round and round in my head. I’m constantly searching for a solution but it seems to me the harder I look the more elusive the solution becomes.’

Sometimes life is like the man in the saddle and sometimes it feels like the saddle is on the man. Warren had disconnected from the enormous resources of his human brain and his potential to solve problems from a calm and rational mind.

His highly emotional arousal was getting in the way of his problem-solving skills. He simply had to make some changes in his approach to his life
situation to taking back to his natural energy, enthusiasm and positivity.

Here are seven ways to access your problem solving skills, take back control and reconnect with your innate happiness.

1. Learn to breathe

Many people think breathing is just breathing. We do it all the time. But the ancient yogis new that if you learn to control your breath you can control your life.

Simply slowing your breathing down and learning to focus on your breathing will help you exclude the worries of the external world and tap into the enormous power of ‘the relaxation response’ (3) located in your body’s autonomic nervous system.

2: Relax your body

We carry an enormous amount of muscle tension around with us without even realising most of the time.
The mind and body are like a central heating system, with all the radiators connected to each other and influencing each other in a feedback loop which is both incredibly complex and incredibly simple.

It is the simple truth that you cannot feel emotionally distressed in a relaxed body and you cannot feel physically tense with a relaxed mind.
Learn to scan your body and notice any areas of tension so that you can choose to let that tension go.

3: Use metaphors of movement(4) for overcoming obstacles

The human brain has enormous potential for shifting perception. For example, in your imagination you can think of an object like a coffee mug and float over it, under it or all around it. You can even settle inside it!

So what if you could imagine your mountain of worry and float right to the top and look down on it? Wouldn’t it seem smaller?

If your problem were an obstacle in the road, what if you could climb over it, tunnel under it or walk around it?

Your subconscious mind has the answer to all your problems. When you relax both your mind and body and ask yourself a question about the right way forward for you, often a moment of insight can provide the answer.

4: Know when to let go

Often we cling on to problems that have no solution. We churn them round in our mind or turn them over and over in our pocket like a ‘bad penny’ which simply will not go away.

Often brainstorming a problem with a large piece of paper will give you the clue. Use the 4D approach to sorting out an action plan…… ‘Do it – Delegate it – Dump it – or Defer it!’

When you’ve made a decision, you will feel so much happier. You’ve taken back control.

5: Accept the natural order

You can go to bed at night time and it’s raining outside but wake up in the morning to full sunshine…… and you didn’t have to do a thing about that. It did it all by itself!

And even if you had stayed awake all night worrying about the weather in the morning, it would not have made any difference at all. Night follows day as spring follows winter. That is how it has always been and always will be.

Some things are outside our control and we need to accept that.

6: Tune into ancient wisdom

There are wonderful stories told by the ancients that tap into the accumulated wisdom and knowledge of previous generations. One wonderful saying goes:

‘Grant me the power to change the things that can be changed
Grant me acceptance of the things that cannot be changed
And Grant me the wisdom to know the difference.'(5)

When we understand this simple concept at a very deep level, it can change the way we deal with life and free us up from unnecessary worry and feelings of responsibility.

These are all obstacles to our happiness peace and contentment.

7: Create your own peaceful place

You can create a wonderful safe haven right inside your own imagination. A peaceful place, a place of calmness and relaxation…….a private place where you can recharge your batteries.

For many people, a wonderful deserted beach is the perfect place and, if you close your eyes, slow your breathing down and allow your body to relax, you can travel there any time you want. And you can choose when and how often to go there.

In the mp3 download, ‘Seven ways to live happier than most’, you are gently guided down onto your perfect beach where you can relax and unwind, breathe stress away and tap into your inner wisdom, knowledge and resources so that you can overcome obstacles, stop worrying and learn to relax very deeply.(5)

‘Whoever is happy will make others happy too’ Anne Frank

1.  Carl Rogers

2.  Donald Winnicott. The Good Enough Mother. › Factual › Families & Relationships

3.  ‘The Relaxation Response’ by Herbert Benson MD. pub. Harper Collins. New York

4.  Metaphors of Movement.

Frances Masters

Frances Masters is a BACP accredited psychotherapist with over 30,000 client hours of experience. Follow her @fusioncoachuk, or visit The Integrated Coaching Academy for details about up coming training.