Musings on Seeking (and Finding) More Peace and Happiness in The New Year

 

“You are only one thought away from a good feeling.”

Happiness! It’s something we all want but struggle to find.  We could be happy we tell ourselves, if only we had fewer thoughts to analyse, fewer reactions to tame and no bad habits to change. Basically we’d all like to be more in charge of our lives. Maybe then we could be truly happy.

But perhaps all of the above just kind of ‘goes with the territory’ of living? Maybe we’d better just get used to it, ‘cos perhaps it is an inevitable part of the whole ‘being human’ thing ?

A few years ago I had to ponder those questions myself and if I wanted to stay on track with my weight loss efforts, I had to get some answers. What I found was that staying healthy psychologically was a real boon to staying healthy physically. We are, after all, not one-dimensional, but multidimensional beings, with many parts to heal, restore and transform.

So today’s post is about a few of the ideas that I’ve discovered and found to be effective (for me) . I hope they are for you too.

You Can Be Happy

I’m talking here mainly about a few principles I have learnt and now practice myself and that basically all come from a little book called, YOU CAN BE HAPPY NO MATTER WHAT. Great title, huh?

The principles are simple, but once you start to practice them, they can be quite powerful. Okay so here they are briefly described.

1) Stop taking every thought seriously. I think the average human mind produces about 60,000 thoughts a day, so not every one of those thoughts is something you need to take notice of, particularly if the thoughts are negative. Instead you can simply acknowledge them, choice to regard them as temporary and move on. In other words, don’t get caught up in analysis paralysis.

2) Feelings are like thoughts. They will arise, sometimes out of nowhere it seems, but they will pass, if we allow them to, simply by giving them less of our attention. Giving  your mind’s full attention to your thoughts by ruminating over things, hanging on to regrets or ‘if only’s’, is only going to make you more frightened by your own thoughts and….lead to more bad feelings. Sometimes we just have to let things go.

The book also suggests that we view our feelings as our built-in warning system, a system that alerts you via your uneasy feelings that you are heading down the wrong track with your thinking and may need to make a slight mental adjustment or at least, to give your negative thoughts less of your attention and focus.

Stress Reduction

All sound a little hard? Then perhaps you need to become less tolerant of the stress you are under. By that I mean stop being so hard on yourself and take a break. Book a massage. A tank float. A pedicure. Whatever it is that will relax and revive you – and distract you from those continuous and annoying thoughts.

Another great tip suggested in the book is to remind yourself that your thoughts are harmless – they are just thoughts. Stop focussing on them, on each and every detail of them and you will be on the road to better psychological health and fewer destructive habits. The opposite behaviour – thinking about something all the time, which I used to do, only makes a problem grow in our minds and make it appear more formidable.

As we will all be wishing each other a Happy New Year soon, what exactly does that mean for you?

What will it take for you to be truly happy in the New Year?
I would love to hear about your own experiences with seeking happiness. Is feeling peaceful an intermittent thing for you – something that comes and goes? If so, what do you do to restore your inner calm?

We all deserve more happiness in our lives. Writing this blog makes me happy. So do my kids. So do my friends and family. And so does pursuing my goals.

What about you? What makes you happy?

 

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14 responses to “Musings on Seeking (and Finding) More Peace and Happiness in The New Year

  1. I love the line “Then perhaps you need to become less tolerant of the stress you are under” That is so true and I really need to keep that in mind from now on 🙂

  2. Great post! I realized several years ago that my happiness was entirely in my hands, and I’ve been happy ever since. 🙂

    • Good to hear! You sound happy too, Cammy. All the best for a great New Year and thanks for commenting! 🙂

    • I agree entirely with what Cammy said – Happiness is something which is your personal responsibility and although the support of others plays a part in happiness, the first steps need to be begin, at the risk of sounding cliched, from within. If you have a strong core and an ability or willingness to adopt positive thinking, it’s a huge factor in achieving a level of contentedness. I remember reading recently a quote which was something to the effect of “If you were to be happy all the time, there would be no such thing as the concept of happiness”!

  3. Hey Mon,
    Wish You and Your family Happy New Year !
    Truly said, your feelings are creation of your own mind. You feel same as your mind wants you to think. So to be Happy, as you said, one has to channelize ones positive thoughts in constructive manner and purge negative thoughts by just glancing them and by not paying much attention to them.
    The Gita (Holy book of Hindus) deals in one of the chapters about fickleness of mind.
    Wish you happy new year again
    keep blogging
    rajiv
    http://rrajiv.wordpress.com

    • Thanks Rajiv and a very Happy New Year to you and your family, too!

      I think I like the sound of The Gita. I was bought up to follow a traditional western religion, but have always been fascinated by and drawn to the wisdom embodied in many eastern religious practices. Thank you for sharing some of that wisdom!

      Thanks also for your comments and your support with blogging over the last few months. I appreciate all your input.

      Happy New Year again, Rajiv!

  4. Really interesting stuff here, Monica. You say that staying healthy psychologically helps you stay healthy physically. I’m sure that’s true, but I think the opposite applies to me even more! I need to be physically active and healthy to feel good psychologically. Otherwise I either feel gross or have too much pent up energy and can’t get anything done!

    What will make me truly happy in the new year? Doing what fulfills me! In other words, working on my blog, being in the mountains, and being with those I love.

    • Yes, I know what you mean Tristan. The benefits of exercise are wonderful (all those endorphins kicking in !!) and all those stress hormones being released.
      In fact, I think exercise deserves a post all of it’s own!
      I am the same these days, if I haven’t exercised I don’t get half as many other things done!
      This post was mainly about how to adjust your mental processes so that you are focussing on the good and not wasting emotional energy on the negative stuff! Being able to do that sets you up in a good place from the get-go. But….you know that and I am preaching to the converted here!
      You are definetely channelling much positive energy into all you do!!! I have just thought of another line I should have included in the post – ”Surround yourself with postive people”.
      This is also another powerful way to stay happy (at least it works for me).
      Thank you for commenting and here’s to staying happy and fulfilled!! 🙂

  5. I think I’m like Tristan, for me it’s the opposite. I need to be physically active to feel better psychologically – and getting little sleep doesn’t help 😛

    What will make me happy this year? Achieving the big goals that i have set out to achieve.

    • Hey Peter,
      Hope you get some sleep soon! I also wish you all the best with your big goals this year. I have some big ones too!
      Look forward to sharing them and watching you continue to grow your blog and business. Way to go, Peter! 🙂

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