Below are some of the main tools to practice in order to live a happier more positive life:
Stop the brain from over thinking things – if we allow it to, our minds can ‘run away with its self’ and keep us on a negative spin, worrying about something or thinking about someone else’s misfortune, the economy, the environment, the suffering in the world, even the weather, whatever it is… you must stop your mind from keeping you in the dark place, if you feel strongly enough; do something about it. Take action, but waste endless hours worrying – that gets us nowhere.
Live in the moment – Practicing mindfulness, enjoying the now, forget your to do list, your worries, your problems, just do your best to be ‘present’ in each moment of your life. Appreciate the trees, the sea, a flower, stars in the night sky, nature… don’t allow stuff in your head to take you away from the now. If it’s a conversation, reading a book, washing the dishes – be present and enjoy what you are doing. I used to go to beautiful places and say things like ‘This would be lovely in the summer, we should come here for a Family picnic’ instead of enjoying it, in the moment that I was there. Who knows I might never get back there again. Don’t live in the past or the present, as the saying goes:
‘Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift, that’s why it’s called the present.’ Unknown.
Know when to say sorry and when to forgive and let things go – Know and acknowledge when you’ve done something wrong, even partly, and be big and strong enough to admit it. Also, forgive others and let go of the resentment or bitterness that you carry around. Free yourself from the negativity associated with holding a grudge or continuing an argument. It’s only you that is suffering from this, no one else. If you are making yourself unhappy thinking of this person(s) or incident, you need to forgive and let it go. A A good way to start is to write a letter to the person(s) involved, and then after you can choose whether to send it, or not, (some may say just burn it and release yourself from it), but let it go and free yourself from the weight of that conflict in your life.
Allow people with negative attitudes and who have a negative influence on you, to slip out of your life. If all you are getting from the relationship is negativity then is it worth it? Is life too short? If you don’t want to dis communicate someone for no reason then you can always talk to them about it. Being honest telling them that you don’t like the constant giving out, bitching and complaining (or whatever) that takes place when you’re together and that you’re trying to change your ways, maybe they could help you to both try to stick to happier, positive, more gratitude based conversations.
Know who your true friends are and listen to your instinct in relation to who to trust and who not to trust.
Live true to your values – Be true to yourself is a commonly used phrase but what does it really mean, I think it means living by your heart. Knowing deep down inside what you want to do about something and doing it. Not talking about something and never doing it. What do you value? what traits and characteristics do you really hold as important in your life? List them and decide that from now on, when faced with a difficult decision you will consult the values that are important to you and make your decision according to them.
Set goals and achieve them – to realise your potential in life you must set yourself goals, whether short, medium or long term; they are all important, they all get us moving in the right direction, the direction that we want to go in. Drifting along aimlessly has never allowed a person to fulfill their potential. Have a goal – it’s alright if this goal changes a few times but to have a goal and know what it is you are trying to work towards, gives you powerful motivation and momentum in life. Writing down a goal makes us 42% more likely to achieve it (Dr Gail Matthews). Don’t listen to anyone who tells you ‘you can’t do it’ especially if that someone is you! Change the voice in your head to a positive, encouraging, best friend voice that is always there to support you and say ‘I can do it’. This takes practice but it can be done. Become your own greatest supporter and fan, no-one else can be there for you 24/7, only you! Each step you take, believe more and more that you can achieve your goal. Belief is probably over 50% of the problem when it comes to setting goals. If you don’t believe you can do it, you never will do it. If you do believe that you can do then it pushes you towards achieving it, however you can. Believe in yourself and your own abilities.
Don’t live with fear, guilt or worry – it’s a waste of time. Fear of what might happen, often keeps people awake at night, we are living in our heads. We are also usually passing our fears onto others around us including children, who then learn to be fearful and not live the full lives they might have. What if? What if that thing never happens.. usually we fear the worst and then it doesn’t happen, this should prove to us that being fearful and worrying about the ‘what if’s’ are usually a waste of time. That is not to say bad things won’t happen, as we know tragic, sad things happen in this world all the time. If something bad happens we need to take deep breaths and tell ourselves we can handle it (Susan Jeffers: ‘Feel the Fear and do it anyway’) it is all about our reaction, and not living as a victim in response to something bad happening to us. Lives can be ruined from endless worrying and fears, however recent studies in neuroscience shows that we can re-wire our minds to think more positively and genetics doesn’t have to win.
People can live with guilt and never truly be happy or content in life due to these feeling of what they did or didn’t do in the past. We can go over and over the event or situation, in our head and it can drive us crazy. To take action or decisions in your life based on guilt is not a healthy way to live. We need to forgive ourselves and move on. We only have one life… what a shame not to make the most of it! Also we shouldn’t make anyone else feel guilty in order to get them to do what we want, this is a very low dirty trick, if you think you are manipulating someone regularly in this way, think again, and try speaking openly to them instead. If anyone tries to do this to you, call them on it… ‘If you’re trying to make me feel guilty….’