Happiness is here. It's right here in this moment. It's right here in your surroundings. It's right here in you.
This is one of the biggest, and perhaps most challenging, happiness lessons that we all ought to learn—that it's in our power to feel the happiness in any moment of any day.
Too often, we tie happiness to our successes or achievements. We misleadingly think that once we've gotten that promotion, bought our dream house, or married our Prince (or Princess) Charming, happiness will come and stay for good. This couldn't be further from the truth.
Sure, you will feel an incredible sense of achievement when you get a promotion—and rightfully so. You will feel ecstatic when you walk into your new house. You will be full of love on the day you marry your beloved. But none of these feelings will last for long.
All of these events will lead you to feel happy in the moment and for some time after. However, before you know it, you adapt to your new situation and you revert to your usual mood. That's why it's incredibly important for you to learn to influence your mood and your mindset, regardless of what is going on in your life. It's this ability to be able to notice happiness and create moments of it that leads to a fulfilling life in the long-term.
To help you get started, here are five things you can do to bring happiness into your moment:
1. Write a thank you note to someone you love.
We have a natural desire to connect, to feel loved, and to feel a sense of belonging. Yet, we take very little time and make very little effort to voice our appreciation to the people who lift us up. That's why I'm asking you to do exactly that: Write down or tell your loved one what they mean to you, what you most appreciate about them, and how they help you to feel happier and more fulfilled. Writing this will not only help you to appreciate your relationships, but it will also strengthen the bond you two have as well as give both you and your loved one a positivity boost.
2. Look up and notice the beauty around you.
Too often we are so busy running around we forget to stop and take stock of what's actually around us. Do it right now. Look up from this screen and look around you. What can you see that is beautiful in your surroundings? Some flowers in a vase, someone's vibrant scarf, or perhaps just the bright sunshine? Make the effort to pause and really look for the beauty because you'll quickly realize it's all around you. Best of all, research has suggested that simply looking at beautiful things lifts your mood.
So simple yet so powerful, smiling creates a release of happy hormones in your body which in turn make you want to smile even more. Even a fake smile can do this. Smiling is also contagious, so you can use one effectively to change the mood in any space into a more positive one. Try it right now: Lift the corners of your mouth upwards and think of something silly, then keep that smile for as long as you feel that positivity kicking in.
4. Do one act of self-care.
If you want to help others, you have to start by helping yourself. Investing in small, simple rituals of self-care—and bigger ones when you have the time—will energize your body and lift your mood. It will also recenter your soul, making it easier for you to feel contentment and peace. This tiny act of self-care could be as simple as giving yourself an honest compliment, putting a face mask on for five minutes, or doing a short self-compassion meditation. It doesn't matter what it is or for how long you do it. What matters is that you do something that shows your appreciation for your being.
More specifically, try Andrew Weil's breathing technique of inhaling for four counts, holding for seven, and exhaling for eight. Repeat this cycle for a couple times to feel your mind calm down, your muscles relax, and your fulfillment come alive. Breathing is connected to your parasympathetic nervous system, so calming breathing exercises can really shift how you feel. Every inhale energizes you and every exhale relaxes you. Make each one count. While you're at it, whisper your breathing and your body a little thank you. Without your breath, you wouldn't be here.
Learn more in my new book, Happiness is Here.