Many people search for that elusive feeling of being happy.
In the last four years I have done a huge amount of personal development work on myself and to better understand this thing called “life” and us human beings living together on this planet earth.
Until my late 40s I was constantly looking for “happiness”. I remember being fourteen years old and I could not wait to be twenty-one, carefree and free of any control. A grown up, in my mind, and therefore I would be happy. But when I hit that age I realised that it was just another age and it was not the magic formula of ‘happiness’ that I was looking for. Every career move brought more stress, it never made me happy. Why was happiness eluding me? Were we not meant to be happy?
Oh, I know, the magic formula, better still, Mr Perfect Knight in shining armour will come along and rescue me and all will be well. We will have children, dogs and a beautiful home and that will make me happy.
But what if none of these things would be happening, and even if they did, they wouldn’t make me happy?
In 2015 I went to see Derren Brown, having just moved from London to Dorset, I was quite low at that time as I had left my friends and life in London. I needed some enlightening and prior to seeing Derren I read the book “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne (so I was already on the journey to “why am I not happy?”), which talks about being rich but not in the sense of having money. And suddenly, at his show, something started to resonate with me. How about if happiness started within you? It doesn’t come with the college degree, career, people you know, children you have, partner you marry (who can complete you?), the holidays that drive you forward year on year, or the car that you aspire to drive. How about if happiness was in the palm of your hand and you never knew it did?
Derren featured a large ticking clock, the clock that promised “Happiness”, but which suddenly stopped once you realised that you had “retired”, but even that did not make you happy; the realisation that you had set it as #destinationhappy when in fact it was already accessible if only you knew.
So how can you be happy? Is there a magic formula? Well, yes, there is, but maybe not in the way you previously thought which might bring you this heady state into your life?
Having spent over four years on my own personal discovery, I realise that each and every one of us is happy in our own way, if only we knew it. What we forget to do is to live in the moment, embrace every day like a new day and appreciate everything that is in our life every day. Even if your life seems less than perfect, I challenge you to find something to be grateful for. Trust me, there is something to be grateful for every day. We are blessed to live in the most beautiful spot in England, so be grateful for that, we have a beautiful beach, wildlife, a positive energy, and, if you look around you, there is always someone to offer you a smile.
So here are my top tips on how to be truly happy. Some of these are taken from @lifehack and some are my own take on advice from great mentors across the world.
- LOVE YOURSELF – How many times have you heard “if you don’t love yourself, how do you expect others to love you?” Boy, this is an empowering question! We have up to 60,000 thoughts every day – make them good ones – good ones about yourself and others. Once you love yourself you start to see the world and others in a different way. Once you change the way you see others you will no longer feel that sense of angst when you battle against those who will not and cannot change.
- GRATITUDE – It is a word bandied around a lot, but I challenge you to write down twenty things that you are grateful for before bed and another ten in the morning. It could be as simple as ‘You love the fact your bed is cosy and warm, and you have a great book to read’ to when you wake up in the morning ‘it is another day on planet earth and how lucky you are’. Say thank you for everything that you are happy to have in your life. You will then create more happiness. Living in the moment and seeing what is around you and the beauty that surrounds us fills you with the most unbelievable elixir for life.
- ACCEPT YOURSELF AND EVERYTHING AROUND YOU – You do not need to fix or criticise anything – once you accept what is you will feel much happier.
- DO NOT LIVE IN THE PAST – Live in the now and make every second count.
- VOLUNTEER YOUR TIME – Why not volunteer your spare time for a charity or fundraising event to help others. Once you see the lives of others you will know how blessed you are.
- SET GOALS – Never just “let it lie”. We are here to learn and grow so setting goals and challenges is what we are here for and the way we keep LIVING. LIVING is about LIVING. So if you always wanted to hike to Machu Picchu, then set it as your goal. I know women in their 80s who are still travelling around the world. Do not let age set you back. We need goals to keep us moving forward. It could be from the smallest goal to the biggest adventure of your life. Nothing is wrong – nothing is too small or too large.
- LOOK AFTER YOURSELF – That does not mean running a 5k every week. It is more than that. I am a personal believer in always being the best version of you, i.e. getting up, getting dressed, doing your hair, your make-up, looking and feeling amazing – whatever your age. You are never too old to embrace the essence of who you were and who you still are. Eat well, sleep well, keep moving, keep your brain active – my formula? Hang out with young people. It will keep you active and your mind young.
- MAKE EVERY SECOND COUNT – Live in the now. Not the past, not the future. Every second count. From the minute you get up, treat the day like it is the best day of your life. Your best hair day, your best food day, your best attitude day, your best achievement day.
But most of all, my lightbulb moment was from someone who is one of the most lauded spiritual mentors in the world. His words really resonate with me. “Once you accept that life is not meant to be happy” you will then ‘let go’ and simply be happy. You will accept what is, the good stuff, the bad stuff, the indifferent stuff. Once you know that your life is YOUR life, then all you need to do is accept it and make the best version of your life that you can. My favourite mentor, who is humorous, intelligent and inspirational is @EckhartTolle – if you need that “oh, okay, I get it moment” – he is the one to follow!
I am only glad, that at the age of 50, having spent so many years trying to figure out what will make me happy, I have finally found the magic formula. Do not fight what is, just accept it. If you do not like it, then change it. If you accept “it is what it is”, then try to make it the best you can. Once you change your attitude then you will find that so many things will start to fall into place, and situations which you found onerous will turn into “gold”.
#destinationhappy is a great place to aim for but the secret to happiness lies within you.
With my love and positive wishes.
Tracey B x