Are you happy?

Polar bear painting 20x20cm

Are you happy?

On my podcast this week I share the tips that I have and some words about my own journey (and struggle) to/ with happiness. An ongoing journey where I have to stop, re evaluate and reset every once in a while.

The one thing I hope that comes across in the words that I share, the paintings I make and the people stories who I interview on my podcast ( that you can find here) , is that happiness is key. We have one life, let’s set up a good routine and breathe in the good stuff, be present and we can thrive.

Three things you can do today to shift your happiness. Admittedly, I learned one of these during my time at counselling. It was after my second boy was born I was clearly under some postnatal depression stress and the grief from losing my dad when i was 9  was heightened. It was after a friend of ours visited on a Sunday. He was going through separation in his marriage and when he visited our house we all had great wholesome and emotional conversations around life and hardships.

It was Ryan who asked me if I had considered counselling and I said I had not. After this my husband and i talk ed and once i made the first phone call to Reggie who became my counsellor for six weeks I felt I had handed ver half of the anxiety to be honest. Nonetheless, this post is not about you needing counselling but it is about using tools to help your emotional behaviour on a daily basis.

No matter how rich you are or how many kids, houses or friends you have- you still need to work on your inner emotions. This is one life and we can start today to live in the present, to see the good and to learn gratitude.

Tip 1

Set up a routine. This does not have to be religious time bound activities but it does have to feature in your day and in your week. Meditation, exercise, prayer, coffee outside no matter the weather.  For me it is exercise- running, walking my dog before the kids waken, strength training. My friend Adele is dipping in the sea everyday in April She is part of a bigger mission to raise fund for Cancer focus NI. (Side note- I have joined the crew for a few swims and felt so inspired that I have an open water print which featured above. 20% of each sale will go to raise further funds for Cancer focus NI. Having watched my cousin Avril suffer at the hands of breast cancer, I know the support that this charity gives to families and patients. Find the print here on my website.)

We have spoken about the purpose and structure this gives here and her family each day as they know they will be in the sea at some stage. An act as simple as sea dipping in her day adds strength and feeds happiness once the task is done and the body has engaged inwardly (the more soulful activities such as reading or prayer) or outwardly (physical activity) with an action.

Tip 2

I learned this from Reggie, or at least this is my  take on his version of it. Figure out who your inner circle are. Imagine this like a dartboard. The very inside , the first circle, is you and your faith or your family in the household. Around that is partners, other family relatives. As the circle begin to ripple out, each one will ave someone- a far off relative you touch base with once a year. Or a person you feel motivated by at the gym when you chat to them. Sometimes those people will move into your inner circles and other times they will go out. The circles are fluid and changes are ok. This is great way to centre ourselves and to see the core people around who feed our happiness. It has another effect and that is to remind you to not feel you have to please all of the people all of the time. Self acceptance and is something i am so passionate about that i made a bundle of exercises, recipes and audio which you can buy here. But ONE thing about finding self acceptance is that we learn how to be our true selves knowing that life is ot about tearing ourselves or others down. Get into the way of knowing YOU and your friends and family well

Tip 3

I took a break in my Monday meeting via zoom with my PA Sharon after  i recorded the podcast. Once you read this, set the phone down or close the laptop and give it a go. Here is how you become more present. A bit like my continuous circles round and round that I do at the start of every workshop with students ( you can find the video to this on my youtube and you can use it with your team in work or your family members) , the following short activity is a way to disengage the brain from overthinking and worrying about comparison.

Take both hands and tap the fingers of each hand together. Just your finger tips over and over again. Be intentional and listen to the noise they make with the repetitive tip tapping. Close your eyes after 10 seconds and do this for a further ten seconds. Then open your eyes and stop the tapping. Feel the mini vibrations as they ring down your arms to your elbows. You’re alive! This draws you back to the present to the felling of being alive and being one with your body and mind. They are connected and you can do this. Find happiness in the moments of feeling alive. You have here and now. The future we do not know, the past we cannot change. Seek happiness and enjoy it all!

*I appreciate that you may be going through some big changes, covid induced problems or been a grieving process or breakup. This blogpost is not taking away fo the hurt and pain you are feeling all over as you drag yourself to make a cup of tes in the morning.  i am merely pointing out that happiness can be found in the simplest of tings during the most mundane of days. It is within and you are doing great.*

 

Aly