Welcome to 2013! Traditionally the beginning of a new year is a time to start over, to make changes. Here’s a secret: Most of those changes involve changing your mind. True story. To be successful in eating better, exercising more, being more patient, you need to change the way you think. Being happy is no different.
Happiness does not come from outside, it comes from inside. The way you think is what makes you happy or unhappy. Changing your mind is the clearest path to peace and joy.
It will take practice; you will not be perfect. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. But try it anyway. And if you screw up, try again. Pick one of these at a time and when it gets easier, try another.
- Be compassionate. None of us is perfect, so when someone does something that irritates or enrages you, step back a moment. That person who cut you off in traffic or couldn’t find their money at the checkout line isn’t necessarily a jerk or an idiot, just someone who messed up. Have you ever screwed up and done something that pissed someone off? I guarantee that you have. Take a deep breath and let it go.
- Reframe. Things are what they are, but you can change the way you look at them. Turn problems into challenges, disasters into opportunities for change. Think positively as much as you can, even if you have to fake it at first—eventually you won’t have to.
- Focus on what’s good. There’s always good somewhere. You have a job, even if it’s not your dream job. Find joy in small things like a cup of tea in the evening or a nap on a Sunday afternoon. Look for things to be happy about and you will find them.
- Practice gratitude. If you are able to read this, on a desktop computer, laptop or on a phone, you likely have a lot to be thankful for. Try not to take it for granted. So many people struggle just to survive. Make a point of listing one or two things you are grateful for every day.
- Forgive. People will hurt you. They will disappoint you. You can hold a grudge and be mad forever, but that’s only poisonous to you. You forgive for yourself, so you can let go of the hurt and move forward. No, it’s not easy, but it’s important.
Greater peace and happiness are yours for the taking – you just have to change your mind.
Happy New Year!