January 21, 2012

How to be Happy- 7 Steps to Happiness

How to be happy? Nicole and I are often asked by our clients to simplify complex ideas to make these ideas manageable and actionable. That’s something that we love to do because when an idea is too abstract implementing good ideas becomes very difficult.
Below, we’ve listed 7 steps to help you discover how to be happy and move towards the experience of happiness in your life. Of course, there are many different ways to get to the same place, but these simple steps will allow the experience of happiness to permeate your daily life.

Step 1. Question yourself and self-reflect.

To win the game of life you first have to know how you win because it’s different for everyone. Is winning dying with the most money-will that ensure happiness? Is it living comfortably and safely? Is it inviting adventure into your life? Is it a life filled with love? Is it a life filled with solitude? Is it some combination of the above or something totally different? Whatever it is, you get to decide what  allows the experience of happiness into your life. But, if you don’t choose from your heart center, you’ll never know if you are on the right path. And following your true center is the only way to win the game of life.

Step 2. Dare to be different and develop a complete relationship with yourself and knowing of yourself.

You can’t experience happiness without knowing what really works for you. What does this mean? It means that you discover the unconscious drives that really dictate your actions. If you don’t take this step your unconscious drives will completely dominate your life in ways that are often dysfunctional coping behaviors. By developing your consciousness and your awareness you equip yourself with the necessary tools to experience a full and complete life. Think about the opposites of these ideas-would you rather be going through life in an unconscious and unaware state? It wouldn’t seem so, yet, this is how a large majority of society exists today.

Step 3. Find your truth and live it! Be authentic and true to yourself.

If you understand the necessary requirements to complete steps 1 & 2, step 3 is the natural result of that focus. Once you know yourself you can take the actions that are in harmony and congruent with your true nature- even if others in this society, bureaucracy, sphere of influence, peers, friends and family disagree with your choice. I recognize we all live within the rule of law and societal boundaries to ensure our personal safety and liberty. Within these boundaries is a wide scope of individual expression for you to be you.

Step 4. Live in consciousness!

Do not harm another physically, emotionally, or spiritually. Do your best each day to enjoy life, be kind, and do good within your truth. No one can tell you what enjoying life is for you. Is it reading on a hammock or skydiving? Is it writing or running? When you know yourself and you start to live authentically you will naturally be drawn to a life that fulfills you.

Step 5. Live a gratifying life!

Look for and participate in activities that are innately gratifying and satisfying to you. The quest for material items for their own sake has been proven (time and again) to be a misguided action-a transitory and superficial attempt to satisfy the important internal spiritual, psychological, and emotional needs that we carry. Material items are fun and are often a benefit of following your truth. But if you are not a happy person prior to receiving material items research has shown that material items, beyond a quick lift, will not “make” you happy.

Step 6. Don’t personalize anything!

Let people have their own experience of life without you trying to convince them that you are right and they are wrong. Learn to use your personal judgments and evaluation to simply decide if situations, experiences, or people are good for you are not. We judge and evaluate others constantly and this is a separating experience. When we accept that others have different and yet equally valid beliefs from ours we allow them to coexist with us without us trying to change them. By doing so you free a tremendous amount of psychological energy to be focused on developing your life, your dreams, and following your goals!

Step 7. Invite growth into your life!

Accept that change is the one constant that we all experience. You can resist change and you can resist growth but by definition that is stagnation. If  we are retracting or stagnating we’re not growing. Why do people do live in stagnation or retraction, especially since the choice seems so obvious when reading about it? Fear. We become acclimated to the idea that change is something to fear. This is why we hold on to bad relationships, bad jobs, or stay in bad situations simply because this fear has become so strong. The only way through this fear is to turn and face it to move through it. This is vastly different than the suppression, repression, and depression that most people use to cover up their fear. You can’t cover it up. Fear will show itself in weight issues, dysfunctional coping behaviors, unhealthy life choices, anxiety, depression, and many other ways that are truly messages and your intuitions screaming at you to take care of yourself and honor yourself.

These seven steps are something you can practice every day. Notice that there is no financial requirement. Neither is there a relationship requirement. There is only the requirement that you open yourself to consciousness and awareness. Taking these steps is how you dynamically change your life without some short term motivational technique or trying to follow the latest guru. Honor yourself. Care for yourself. And your life will change

Don Nenninger

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