When it comes to cultivating happiness its the small things that really matter. Study findings in psychology show that the frequency of our positive experiences matter much more than the intensity of our positive experiences.
The cumulative effect of the little things that are in our control to experience and pursue matter much more that the big bangs whose impact is uncertain and out of our control.
Cultivate emotional distance and practice not over reacting. Don’t let others control you. Go to the balcony and take a pause for the cause.
You will continue to suffer if you have an emotional reaction to everything that is said to you. True power is sitting back and observing things with logic. True power is restraint. If words control you that means everyone else can control you. Breathe and allow things to pass.
The little moments and actions act flake on flake like a snowfall.
Control means expectation. If we can make something happen then we can expect the outcome. We don’t need faith if we have experience. This sense of predictable levels of small delights keeps us happy.
The best things in life aren’t things.
The three simple top ways to increase happiness are
These are simple and direct. I didn’t say they were easy though. Many know the path, few walk it.
There should really be nothing easier than sitting for twenty minutes doing nothing but breathing deeply and focusing on your breath.
As the brilliant Blaise Pascal noted;
All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.
Carve out twenty minutes in the morning to meditate. Make it non-negotiable.
To paraphrase a zen quote:
If you don’t have time to sit for twenty minutes in silence , then sit for two hours.
If you need some help getting going, here are some mindfulness resources and guided meditations available from some wonderful teachers.
Don’t join a gym. Do it at home. In the time it takes to get to the gym, change, and get home, you can do your whole workout. You need at least twenty minutes to get the benefits.
Start slow and be mindful of where you need to be to enjoy the process. If it feels to exhausting or time consuming you won’t keep it up. Again consistency is the key.
Don’t wear sleep deprivation as a badge of honor. Our cognitive functioning diminishes with lack of sleep. And our over health suffers.
Shoot for eight hours. Every night. Studies show that we can’t make up sleep by pulling all-nighters and then sleeping in on the weekends. Sleep doesn’t work like that.
Its not just the amount of sleep but the quality of your snooze time. Create a bedroom that is dark and quiet when its time to sleep. Try to get rid of the illuminated clock face starring at you all night long.
When traveling use a sleeping mask and white noise generator to mask outside stimulus.
If you have deadlines, plan and do the work in increments and don’t procrastinate and pull stressful all-nighters.
Don’t watch TV before bed and don’t watch it in bed. Read instead. Keep your sleeping space dark.
Exercise will help with your ability to get restful deep sleep.
Don’t over stimulate with caffeine and quit smoking. Nicotine wreaks havoc with our ability to sleep.
Deep meditative breaths will also help to get to sleep and get back to sleep when you wake in the middle of the night.
Attention to these three things will increase your happiness and transform your life. Do it in increments and take it slow. It’s about choice. We are always on the cusp of transformation.
You’re always one decision away from a totally different life.
If you are interested, there is an app for tracking your happiness in real time. It was developed by a Harvard researcher to gather data for a large scale study of happiness. You’ll be able to track your happiness and find out what factors — for you personally — are associated with greater happiness. You’ll also contribute to the scientific understanding of happiness.
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