3 surprising ways to find and keep happiness in your life

Happiness is not determined by what’s happening around you, but rather, what’s happening inside you. – Anonymous.

Happiness

As a life coach, I get asked a lot “how can I live a happy life?”.

And the more time that goes by, the more I realize that we all have gotten happiness all wrong.

We think that in order to live a happy life, we must be happy ALL THE TIME.

And since nothing ever stays the same for very long time (that’s the nature of life, that things change!), then every time you don’t feel happy, you’re going to feel like something is wrong.

Here’s an example. Has this ever happened to you?

You’re happy. Things are going well in your life. Your love life is awesome, work is great, and the sun is shining.

You feel amazing.

But suddenly, you’re hit with a feeling of anxiety or even panic.

“Oh my God,” you think, “This kind of happiness can’t possibly last forever!”

And you start to dread the moment when the other shoe is going to drop (because you KNOW it will).

And because you’re so worried about your happiness ending, you can hardly enjoy it while it’s here.

(Which doesn’t exactly make it stick around, right?)

If you’ve ever experienced this strange phenomenon (and most of us have, because we’re human after all)…then you’re in the right place.

Today’s post is all about how to remain happy in these moments of panic.

And the answer will surprise you.

(But it works!!!)

Here are 3 surprising ways to find and keep happiness.

1) Expect that you won’t be happy all the time.

I know this probably sounds counterintuitive, but it’s not actually the “not being happy” that is the most painful thing. It’s the expectation that you’re supposed to be happy that gets in the way the most.

Life is full of ups and downs. We’re happy one minute, and then sad the next. We experience joy one day and then pain the next. But this is a part of life. A part of the human experience.

If we expect that this will happen, we won’t be as upset when it does.

If you know and expect that things are going to change, then you won’t have to worry about the anxiety of trying to make sure the other shoe isn’t going to drop.

2) When you do experience happiness, enjoy it.

As with the example above, if you’re so afraid that your happiness is going to go away (i.e. the other shoe is going to drop), then you will hardly be able to enjoy or appreciate it when it’s here.

So the trick is that when you do feel happiness, try to enjoy it without attachment of needing it to stay this way forever.

When we attach to things needing to be a certain way, we’re actually trying to control them.

And since we technically don’t have any control over the things that happen (I mean, haven’t you ever been in traffic?!), other than how we react to situations that arise in our lives, this attachment causes us a lot of pain.

One way to diminish this pain is #3.

3) Try the best you can to remain in the present moment.

Suffering happens when we live in the past or live in the future.

For example: a past thought that might cause us pain could be “I shouldn’t have called him so soon. I probably totally ruined everything.”

A future thought that might cause pain could be “Oh my gosh! I’m happy now but what happens when something changes and I’m not happy anymore, then what?”

Both thoughts, past and future, cause pain. But suffering doesn’t occur in the present moment. In the example above, the present moment is that you are feeling good. Happy. Right now.

So the more you try to stick with the current emotions that are happening, right here and right now, the happier you will be.

I’d love to hear your feedback.

Have you ever crushed your happiness by worrying about when the other shoe was going to drop? What did you do in those moments? Do you think happiness is a myth?

Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Still on the happy train,

Sally.

Sally HopeSally Hope is a motorcycle riding, skeet shooting, hot-pink lipstick loving renegade life coach and the leader of the Wildheart RevolutionHer biggest goal in life is to help you Carpe The Hell Outta Your Diem. For tips on how, join her at www.sallyhope.com or on Facebook, where she hangs out most of the time.

Main pic credit: Still Moments, Flickr.com. 

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  1. says

    Lovely observations about the futility of holding on tightly to happiness. One other thing I’ve noticed about it: practicing gratitude, being grateful for what’s in your life right here, right now, tends to help increase your ability to recognize and live lightly within those moments when happiness happens.

    • Sally says

      Hey Sally! (fun to have another Sally in the house…I find there are so few of us)

      I ABSOLUTELY agree with you. I think gratitude is ABSOLUTELY key to happiness. Thank you so much for the reminder.

  2. says

    Yes! Happiness is an inside job. I love your reminder that in our humanity we get to embrace ALL of our emotions. Yet, it really isn’t difficult to feel and release the one’s that are not serving us by embracing the present moment, staying in your body and feeling…without creating drama, of course. Your sense of humour is delightful Sally. Thanks for helping to light up the world with happiness!

    • Sally says

      Hey Cindy…oh my gosh! Thank you so much. I’m glad you enjoyed the article and I love your additions to stay present and be in the body. SO DARN IMPORTANT!!!

  3. says

    Yes Sally! Gratitude for the moment is the practice for me that addresses that embracing the moment, and soaking up with self love appreciation for being happy. And yep, it ain’t that way all the time. That’s ok, and not to freak about. It probably wouldn’t be so sweet if happiness was all the time anyway. Thanks for breaking down how to stay off the roller coaster of emotions, and avoid the anxiety of feeling potential loss even when things are going well. Great stuff!

  4. says

    Hi Sally,

    I have been feeling really depressed angry frustrated everyday. And as soon as im happy I think it won’t last so it goes away. Let me tell you why I get depressed… Through my life there have been things that I wasn’t in control of, people got shot that I knew houses robbed including my own and my families. But let me tell you the worst thing that I still feel responsible for. One day outside my grandparents house in their garden I thought to myself I ont know if I would cry if my grandad died but I know I would if my grandma did. A few months later my grandad got cancer and passed away. I feel like it’s those things where I think about it it happens. A few months ago an actor from my parents childhood died I thought to myself I don’t understand why they get so sad. Maybe if it was an actor I knew. As you all know Paul Walker died. I know it sounds completely stupid but I genuinely feel responsible for it. And after his death Nelson Mandela died who was my hero because I am from South Africa by the way. It was at that point I knew someone I knew was going to pass away. I tried to get my thoughts right so bad in hoping someone wouldn’t pass away. I don’t feel responsible but I just didn’t have control and that bothers me. I am writing this to you on the day of a family members funeral. On top of that I worry about my family in South Africa because it’s dangerous. College is bad for me at the moment because the teachers aren’t very good. So I started to believe happiness doesn’t exist.

    I read your article and I feel much better so thank you

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