Take 7 Steps
Take 7 Steps to a Happier New Year
As 2012 draws to a close and 2013 Dawns, we should all be looking forward to the promise that a new year holds. Each New Year herald’s fresh beginnings so we should use this time not only to reflect on what has passed but also on what we hope will come.
Many of us choose to make New Year Resolutions, traditionally orientated towards the things we want to give up or leave behind. I suggest trying a fresh approach to this New Year! Why talk about the things we wish to deny our selves when we can use this time to focus on the things we would like to have?
The one thing I am sure most people want in their life is more happiness and there are 7 simple steps to bringing more happiness into your life. Practising these 7 simple steps is a sure fire way to bring more happiness into your life.
- Gratitude. Finding things to be grateful for in our everyday lives is a key step to realising happiness. People who think they have nothing g to be grateful for are in fact surrounded by wonderful things they can show gratitude for. For example If the able bodied were to spend one week in a wheel chair they would realise how grateful they are to have freedom of movement. A week in solitary confinement would soon let you know how grateful you are to have friends and family around you. Even at the end of our toughest days there are things to be grateful for. I am grateful everyday for the love of a wonderful partner, my healthy children, the simplicity of being able to flick on a light switch, the availability of clean running water, good books, music I love, which I can be accessed at the touch of a button even the existence of chocolate and nice food. The trick here is to find appreciation for the day to day blessings we often become complacent about and take for granted.
- Simplicity and Order. Getting rid of clutter in your life will lead to a sense of order. It is hard to be calm and focused when you are surrounded by clutter and disorganization. Clean out the closet, clear of your desk. Make a little effort to get up and get that job done! A reasonably clean and tidy environment helps us to feel a sense of order and clarity. We relate and relax better in an environment that supports freedom. This goes for making choices as well, you will stop feeling overwhelmed by decisions making when you narrow down your options. Get rid of all those unused containers in the cupboard and throw out those clothes at the back of the closet if you don’t wear them anymore. Simplicity is aided by letting go of the just in case options.
- Harmony. Once you create a more relaxed orderly environment you can create a more relaxed attitude. Ego is great performer and usually likes to be right! We often find that our point of view and our opinion want to be heard. Let go of the need to prove a point or sell your opinion. There is no one who really needs convincing, it’s not worth creating drama just to save face or prove your right. I would rather be happy than be right. Cultivate the practice of allowing your view to be right for you; it may not be right for someone else so just let them have their own. Being happy is far more productive to harmonious living than being right!
- Cultivating contentment. Harmony has an amazing way of leading to contentment. It helps you to identify the areas in your life that are working and those that aren’t. It allows you see how to be happy with what you have and thus create a better balance. It doesn’t mean you can’t wish for more but it does mean you can appreciate what you already have. Find contentment in those moments of peace. Always striving for more often robs you of finding the magic in the meaningful moments you have now. Finding what you’re passionate about and create balance between the things you have to do and the things you want to do this brings real satisfaction.
- Noticing Beauty. It is easy to let the little pleasures slip by un-noticed. Make the effort to pause and see the real beauty around you. The amazing beauty in nature is abundant as is the wonder in mans creations. Pausing to see what is at the heart of simple beauty fills us with a renewed sense of wonder. Be it a flower , a face, or a shiny new car passing by they all hold beauty in their own way and are valuable additions to our surroundings.
- Finding Joy. The ability to find joy in the mundane or in difficult times is a habit worth cultivating. Some days can be a drag so round them off with something worth doing, look for the joy in the everyday things. There will always be the good and not so good times. But we don’t rise each morning saying “Oh thank goodness the sun is up, I hope it never gets dark again”. Finding joy in the light and the dark is essential, I love getting up and starting a new day but when I am tired I love going to bed too. You may be pacing the floor with a crying infant at 2am but at least you have the opportunity to experience the joy of parenthood. All things pass and one of the greatest paths to joy lies in knowing that it will be alright in the end…and if it’s not alright then it’s not the end yet!
- Connection. A sense of belonging is one of the lasting elements of happiness. When you practice the above habits you will find it leads to a sense of connection. Not only to those around you but to a greater awareness. Finding connection to the world around you helps you to recognise not only your part in it but how the part you play affects others. When you see how your own happiness and contentment encourages others towards the same goal you realize you are part of a much bigger whole. One of the worst side effects of a nuclear family is the loss of community connection. Making the effort to be part of the greater goodness brings a real sense of knowing who you are and where you belong.
There are many ways you can bring more happiness into your life but using simple practices like those above bring not only great rewards but lasting ones.
Happy New Year!