"If you want to feel happy, focus on joy! If you want to feel crappy, focus on crap!"
Isn't it interesting that there are literally thousands upon thousands of studies about illness, unhappiness, poverty, stress, depression, anxiety, and discontent in America. But scant numbers that study wellness, joy, and prosperity. Huh?
What's even more interesting is that studying illness, sadness, poverty, (etc.) has ZERO bearing on remedying those problems. And wouldn't you know it, learning to be happy can, in most cases, be as simple as studying it!
The challenge with studying problems, is that there are no solutions inside of problems. Solutions can and will emerge, but only when we move away from problem-focused thinking, to solution-focused thinking AS A LIFESTYLE.
The second challenge with studying 'sickness and unhappiness' is that whatever one focuses on (as an individual, family, couple, or collective) will expand, grow, or gain momentum. Ideas, thoughts, feelings, illness, sadness, and so on expands as it's given any kind of energy, like thought, emotion, discussion, or research.
Think of the last time you called a friend to vent? You told the crappy story again, you got angry and frustrated again, you felt all of the pain… again. People say, "I feel better after venting", which is just another name for complaining, judging, or gossiping. BUT what they really mean is that the feel better AFTER venting. As in once they stop thinking about or talking about the upset or problem. This is problem-focusing and people don't solve things while they're bitching!
"All things grow as we give them attention."
Here's a different example. Think about a time where you were involved in an exciting brain-storming activity, where the discussion was centered around solving something. Was it exciting, fun, or inspiring? Yep! Of course. Because solving problems makes people happy, complaining about problems makes people feel powerless and victimized. Making happiness and solution-focused a lifestyle doesn't mean life will be completely without frustration, but frustration and upset will reduce by 80% or more.
This concept is why one of the first things I do with clients who have a troubled, or 'seemingly' failing relationship, is to teach them how to shift from the inevitable 'problem-focused' thinking and feeling they have been caught up in (upset, resentment, negativity, and annoyances) that plague them, to solution-focused thinking and feeling. The platform for fast-tracking any troubled relationship to a place of joy! Learn more about refocusing your relationship by attending this year's 2015 Couples Retreat.
If you're thinking about problems, you WILL feel upset, disempowered, and like a victim. When you're thinking about solutions, you feel powerful, productive, connected, and happy. This is the KEY difference between the joyful and the crotchety! So, if it's happiness you seek, and therefore success, health, wellness, and prosperity- Learn the art of shifting your focus and lifestyle to joy and solution creation.
Here are a few simple ways to shift your focus and become a happier, freer, and more compelling version of yourself.
1) Anyone Up For An Adventure?
Happy people are open to new and exciting adventures of all kinds- Even when fear creeps in, they refuse to let it stop them! And since happy people are all about solutions, they figure ways around obstacles like fear. Adventurous opportunities abound; here are a few you can consider:
Be completely honest at all times (I know, scary, right?!)
Train to climb a mountain.
Start a business.
Play with children.
Climb a tree.
Learn a new sport, hobby or language.
Take a walk in the middle of a full moon night sky (but be safe…)
Travel to a foreign place.
Move your family onto a sailboat for a year to see the world!
Some adventures are simple, while others require planning. Both are thrilling. As you may know, Chris and I took only 6 weeks from the idea of selling our belongings and buying an Airstream to travel full time, to actually moving into our Airstream! And that adventure continues … See more about our Lessons From The Road.
The point is to determine what kinds of adventure allow you to feel fully ALIVE and inspired, then add these to your life. In my experience, people are too frickin' bored… I literally had a client hire me with a goal of remaking her life because the most exciting thing that happened to her in a year was a mugging… Um, not quite the adventure we're going for!
Live Free Action!
Define 3 adventures that inspire or excite you, then add them to your calendar over the next week. Select two that are easy to act on, and one that requires a small measure of planning. Anything that feels adventurous to you will do! Carve out a chunk of time dedicated solely to 'adventure' each week. Your adventure time must be sacred and let NOone and NOthing interrupt or interfere with this precious, life-giving time. Adventure and excitement birth creativity and joy- a key practice to a happy, free life.
2) KISS- Keep It Simple Silly
The happiest people around the globe live simplistically, but fully. The 'American' way of constant chaos and drama, hours of feeling brain dead while escaping in front of small and large glowing boxes (phones, computers, and TVs), frantic schedules, and the replacement of human connection with social media outlets have left people with a complicated, depressing, and anxious existence in many ways. It's time to simplify.
Live Free Action!
How can you simplify your life? You could begin by applying the 80/20 rule and getting rid of 80% of all you have, do, say, and think. After all, people only use 20% of any 'stuff' or home space, and only 20% of your thoughts and words are useful (yes, you can check these facts. Living The 80/20 Way is a fantastic start.)
Try getting outside! Trade some shopping, eating out, and TV watching for the a walk in the park or a beautiful hike. Both are great ways to simplify and feel great. Have a picnic lunch outdoors with your co-workers or spouse. Or take a stroll with your best friend! It makes little difference whether you're sitting, walking, biking, or rock climbing- as long as you trade some chaos for time with Mother Nature.
What other ways can you think of to simplify your life in an effort to ramp up your joy? This is a fabulous opportunity to put on your solution cap! Can you remove some obligations and to-dos? Slow your children's schedules down? Work less maybe? Get creative here as you work to simplify your life.
Check out "Break Up With Your Crazy Life", A Fresh Look At Living Free!
3) Love, Love & More Love!
Happy people are 'head over heels' in love with life! And they spend very little time on thoughts and conversations like arguing, complaining, venting, or gossiping; an intentional and disciplined choice unique to the most joy-filled humans. It's not difficult to be in love with life, in fact, it's quite easy once you set it as your focal point. Happy people simply find more interesting things to think about, talk about, and do. Spend your time in ways that make you feel in love with and enamored with all of creation! The world is as you choose to see it.
Live Free Action!
Find at least one solid reason to be utterly in love with your life today, then keep that thought on top of your mind. Anytime you're tempted to stray from loving thinking or behaving, reel it back to this thought. Secondly, make a comprehensive list, a life 're-design' list that encompasses how, when, where, and why you would spend your days and weeks in certain ways. Once your ideal life re-design list is complete, begin applying it, one piece at a time to the actual RE-DESIGN OF YOUR HAPPY LIFE!
"Turn your life into the study and practice of happiness."
Until next time, Be happy!
A FREE 30 Minute Coaching Session is available if you have questions about how to implement the ideas in this blog or for more information on learning to be super duper happy!.
Reach out if you'd like support along your journey!
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Cheers to Liberate Living! Shawn