Are you happy? No really happy?
I am and you can be too!
We tend to think that if we improve our circumstances – more money, better grades, new spouse or relationship, different house, etc. we will automatically be happier. Totally not how it works!
Our circumstances only account for about 10% of our happiness and
90% of our happiness is based on our starting point
(where you are right now) and
what actions we are willing to take to become happy.
Some of those actions revolve around the idea of affirmations and the science of neuroplasticity, which is the mechanism that your brain uses to rewire itself and form new neural connections.
Neuroplasticity gives us control over our reality by giving us control over how we shape our brain.
Here’s how it works: Each time you repeat a thought or action, neuroplasticity helps strengthens the neural pathways in your brain responsible for those thoughts and actions.
You become skillful at whatever you repeatedly think, feel, and do.
So if you constantly look at yourself in the mirror and criticize the way you look, then you’re wiring your brain to become very good at generating self-criticism.
That’s why it’s so important for you to pay attention to what you repeatedly think, feel and do – because it will become your brain.
HOW AFFIRMATIONS WORK
Each time you repeat an affirmation, you are reinforcing those pathways into your brain. In the beginning, your affirmations take conscious effort as your brain begins to form those connections. It may feel weird in the beginning but keep it up and it will begin to feel like a natural part of your day, and life. You will start to feel like your affirmation is a part of yourself, ingrained in your behavior.
Here’s a great affirmation you can post on your mirror to start your day off with happiness as a goal:
Here are five more intentional actions that will also have a positive effect on your happiness:
- Physical Exercise – physical exercise is one of the most under rated mental well being tools. When we exercise, the brain releases your feel-good hormones, endorphins. But the brain also releases something called brain derived neurotropic factor (BDNF) which is your mental reset button. This is where the stress relief and metal high come from after a workout.
- Meditation – Meditation has been called the wonder drug for our minds and there is science to back up that claim now. Meditation has been proven by research to improve our overall level of both mental and physical well-being. It can help manage anxiety, defeat depression and increase our level of happiness. Even 5 minutes of meditation daily can give you a huge boost in your overall sense of happiness. Meditation can be as simple as clearing your mind and relaxing your muscles one by one. Or it can be silent prayer. You can even add in relaxing music to calm your mind and focus on a word or idea that is particularly important to you, such as the word FOCUS or PATIENCE.
- Gratitude – practicing gratitude can have a huge impact on your happiness. It helps shift your focus from a self-centered ‘me’ thought pattern, to an outward ‘others’ thought pattern. A great way to practice gratitude daily is to write down what you are grateful for and why you are grateful for it. The act of writing it down creates a connection in your mind that what you’ve written is important and it links it to your emotions as well creating a positive feeling. Another simple way to practice gratitude is to tell someone else you are grateful for them!
- Social Connections – Happiness can be spread through solid human connections. Feeling connected to those around us makes us kinder and more giving. Which in turn adds to our own personal happiness. Even if you’re introverted or anti-social, don’t skip this – you’llbe happier when you spend time with others, too. So keep up on those meetups with friends, take the time even if you feel too busy!
- Having a Purpose and Goals – Purpose and goals give you something to work towards, something that will perhaps stretch your current abilities. They can be motivating and exciting. This is key to all kinds of personal growth. Not having goals or desires can be very bad for our health, leading to feelings of isolation and depression. Having a purpose gets you out of bed in the morning. It gives you direction in your day. Looking to your future and planning or working towards something in the future will ultimately lead to a higher level of happiness and satisfaction.
Start today and be on your way to finding great happiness!