Being happy takes guts. But sometimes, your ideas on what happiness should be, get in the way of happiness. Deep inner contentment comes from the inside, and in order to feel it, you have to allow yourself to open your heart and soul.
But how to do that? Coach, yoga teacher and writer Rosalinda Weel put together three inspiring exercises.
1. Time your joy
Inner happiness comes from experiencing joy in your heart. This is something different from being cheerful. Once you experience inner happiness, you’ll find there’s a special connection from your heart with the here and now. You can choose to be silent at any time of the day, and wonder what gives you joy. It is often in the simple things: the sun shining, breakfast, meditating, someone smiling at you or a butterfly passing by.
To experience these things mindfully, you can set a timer named ‘joy’ in your phone. Every time it buzzes and you read the word ‘joy’, you’ll be in the moment – realizing what can spark joy right here and now. You can write it down or take a picture of it. Set your timer at the same time each day, for a week, and set it at another time the next week. You can also write the joyful moments down on notes and keep them in a special Happy Jar. Keep doing this for a year and then open the lid – you’ll be surprised of the amount of happy moments.
2. Light in the darkness
The ideas you have on happiness might actually make you feel less happy. Once we realize life can never be perfect –because, just like during a day, there is light and darkness – we can accept the less joyful parts of life as well. Accepting doesn’t mean you don’t want to be happy anymore, it means embracing life the way it is, trusting it will be lighter. Grab a pen and paper, and write down the things that feel heavy in your life. Then ask yourself: can I change it?
a. If the answer to this question is ‘no’, then ask yourself if you can accept it. Acceptation always takes the weight off things. It means you’re at peace, and you’re focusing on the light things in your life. You can’t change night time into day, but you can change your own attitude. Think of it as switching on a little lamp in the dark.
b. Is ‘yes’ the answer? Then explore what you can do to change the situation. Value every step in this direction, even if it’s a baby step. Which choices can you make from your heart, to make your life lighter? Write down these steps.
3. Meditation with a smile
Sit down peacefully, and make sure no one will disturb you. Close your eyes, make sure you’re comfortable. Focus on your breath. Are you breathing up high, in your chest, or deeper, in your stomach? Just feel it. Then breathe in deeply three times – breathe in through your nose, breathe out through your mouth. Then, breathe in deeply, focusing on your belly, as if you are blowing up a balloon. While breathing in, you blow up the balloon in your abdomen, breathing out, you let go of the balloon. Then you allow your breath to go on naturally, and visualize a big smile on your belly. Let it grow with each breath, until it feels as if your whole body is smiling and you’re smiling too – while meditating.
Text: Rosalinda Weel