“If you want to shine like a sun, first burn like a sun.”~ A. P. J. Abdul Kalam
The other day my Mum declared something unusual. She tentatively said, “I know this might sound crazy, but I’m feeling happy at the moment”.
I was shocked. Was she asking for permission to feel happy? Or worried that by calling attention to it, it might somehow vanish?
This got me thinking; how good are we at noticing, declaring & nurturing feelings of happiness?
Is it truly easier to express our anxiety, boredom or depression than it is to tell the world we’re alive, excited and happy?And what can we do to protect and nurture this feeling when it comes our way? If misery loves company, what does happiness love?
A silent retreat in the Catskills? A padded cell where no-one can hear you laugh with merriment and glee?
When I reflect on my own happiness, I must admit that I sometimes downplay it. I often defer to being humble and considerate for fear of appearing boastful. But this lacks authenticity and doesn’t allow me to truly revel in, and appreciate, the power of the emotion.
The Harris poll reported that only 33% of American’s claimed they were happy. I believe this percentage could be higher if folks knew how to recognize & communicate their feelings of happiness. I work with many clients who need support in identifying and articulating aspects of their lives that bring them joy and part of this process involves helping them look at their life with a different lens, allowing them to see things with a fresh perspective.
5 Tips to Let Your Happiness Shine Through
With this in mind, here are my 5 tips on how best to let your happiness shine.
1. Recognize it
Acknowledge to yourself you’re happy; this is the first and often the hardest step. Find a method or routine to help you; journaling is a great way of taking inventory of the things in your life that make you happy. Create a mantra or daily ritual such as lighting a candle or meditating; this allows you to check in with your inner voice and connect with your emotions. And don’t be afraid to say out loud “I’m happy!”, there is true power in vocalizing it.
2. Own it
I know it’s not easy. Working on yourself, your relationships and trying to feel present in your life is hard work. That’s why, when you’ve managed to cultivate a life that is nurturing and fulfilling, you should be proud! Listen to those around you and receive good feedback when someone notices you being in a brighter headspace.
Thank yourself and show gratitude to the people around you that have shown you kindness and contributed to your happiness. Because it’s true what they say: it takes a village.
3. Grow it
Don’t allow yourself to become stagnant in your happiness; this is a chance to water the garden and watch it grow. Consider the people in your life that bring you joy and those who don’t. It’s ok to let a friendship fade and another one flourish, so give attention to the things that serve you and stop wasting time tending to the weeds. Grow from this place and step outside of your comfort zone.
Challenge yourself to create more balance and consistency in your life to maintain your happiness.
4. Ride it
Often the most successful people aren’t those who are always happy but are those who are great surfers of life’s ups and downs. Find comfort in riding the waves; appreciate the highs, learn from the lows and enjoy the ride because each step informs more of who you are. The water may get rough, but it is never a permanent state of being, so take the good with the bad and keep riding those waves.
5. Share it
Share your story. Where did you come from and where are you today? What steps did you take to live a happier life? Bringing people into your journey will make them feel more inspired. Don’t keep quiet, don’t play it down and don’t hide your feelings. Allow others to learn and be motivated by you.
Happiness, like a laugh, is contagious so pay it forward.