Adopted from How we Choose to be Happy
by Rick Foster and Greg Hicks
We can choose to be happy. It’s an inside job so to speak. Here are nine tips for living a life of happiness.
Intention: The active desire and commitment to be happy, and the decision to consciously choose attitudes and behaviors that lead to happiness over unhappiness. Regardless of what happens or the circumstances present, we make a conscious choice to be happy or unhappy.
Accountability involves making the choice to create the life you want to live, to assume responsibility for your actions, thoughts and feelings, and the emphatic refusal to blame others or view yourself as a victim. It is okay to grieve but being a victim give the power to others. Learning to let go moves us towards happiness.
Identification is the ongoing process of looking deeply within yourself to assess what makes you uniquely happy, apart from what you are told by others should make you happy.
Centrality is the non-negotiable insistence on making central to your life that which brings you happiness. There will always be pressure to meet someone else’s expectations. This is about finding balance to care for those we love and take care of ourselves.
Recasting/Reframing involves the two steps that transform stressful problems and trauma into something meaningful, important and a source of emotional energy. We need to dive into our emotions and search for a way to melt the “emotional pot” and recast it into something that can help us move forward in a positive manner.
Options say we look at life as adventure, full of possibilities. This allows us to create multiple scenarios, opening for new possibilities and adapt a flexible approach to life’s journey.
Appreciation in the moment is about making the choice to appreciate deeply your life and the people in it. This requires us to stay in the present moment and deliberating choosing to turn each experience into something precious. This involves gratitude for the things that we have without focusing our attention on the things we don’t have.
Giving and expecting nothing in return. We make the choice to share with friends, family, our community, and the world at large without any expectation of a return. This habit allows us to let go of the “what’s in it for me” mindset and just giving to be generous.
Truthfulness involves honesty and integrity. It means that what we say and do match. We do not allow people, society, or circumstances to dictate how we respond. It means that we have clarity around our internal standards and values and we live in a manner that is congruent with them and do not allow societal, workplace, or family demands to violate our internal contracts..
Anger is often defined as an overt expression or behavior; manifested through road rage, yelling or physical violence. We understand these behaviors and often refer to them as “aggressive” behaviors, making them easy to define and name.
What about the less obvious forms of anger? For instance, procrastination is often a form of passive aggressive anger. You know the scenario:
Your teenager, spouse, friend or co-worker agrees to do something and then says they forgot. It’s one thing if this behavior is the exception to the rule. When it’s frequent or chronic, you are probably the recipient of passive aggressive anger. The person may not even realize they are doing it and their underlying anger may not be directed at you.
Now ask yourself, when was the last time this scenario could have been you?
We are not immune to experiencing and expressing anger. Some of us, however, are more attune to our feelings and emotions and are better equipped to regulate our inward and outward expression in our daily life.
Learning to understand what causes us to feel and act the way we do is the first step towards taking positive action. Understanding the source of our anger will help us understand the root cause. Once we have greater self-awareness we are able to grow and respond in new and productive ways.
Janie Selby is a certified professional coach, trainer and workshop facilitator. She helps you achieve great results through solutions-focused growth and development.
Welcome to our new blog. If you found yourself here it’s likely you are looking for some help managing your stress and anger.
We offer courses that will help you move forward in a new and positive direction. Check out our courses by going to www.angermanagementportland.com.
Stress today comes from every direction. Some people tend to deal with stress more effectively than others. Have you ever considered why two people experiencing the same situation can have completely different responses and reactions? As we observe ourselves and those around us, we might notice that what might stress one person is nothing more than a minor inconvenience for another.In the 1970s a young graduate student named Suzanne Kobasa, Ph.D. discovered that some people tend to have an inner hardiness when it comes to dealing with stress. She took a stress quiz and as she added up her score she realized the results indicated that she scored in the “danger zone” and was at risk of developing a serious illness. However, Kobasa felt fine. She considered the factors and concluded that different people must have certain protective factors for getting through difficult events and adversity. She follow-up her assumptions by putting them to the test and studied why some people seemed to be more resilient even under extreme periods of adversity.Kobasa found that individuals who were more effective at dealing with stress and adversity shared some common characteristics. She called them the three C’s, commitment, control, and challenge.
Commitment– those experiencing stress in their lives were actively and fully engaged in the world around them. Rather than withdrawing and checking out, these individuals maintained deep and abiding commitments with family and friends. Remaining closely connected to key support systems is critical especially when you need to tap into strength and resources as you move through adversity.
Control – hardy individuals believe they can figure out a solution to their circumstances and are willing to act on their beliefs rather than take a “victim” approach. These folks are confident that they can influence their circumstances and stay emotionally and mentally connected looking for options and solutions. They also realize when no amount of thinking, feeling, or doing will change the outcome or improve their circumstances. These individuals understand that triumph is not always measured by conquering the circumstances of the outside world but by embracing the changes within.
Challenge – problems are challenges and opportunities for growth rather than hassles. These individuals look for ways to assign meaning, see the change as an opportunity for personal growth and remain closely connected to those around them.
If some of us are more naturally hardy in this area, how can the rest of us gain these skills?
The first step is to begin to view life from the perspective of commitment, control, and challenge. By reflecting on these elements and changing our view, we can begin to use commitment, control and challenge as guides to form new views in our own life. We can move from viewing life events as hassles to seeing them as challenges.
Remain committed even in the face of distraction and look to find real meaning in what is going on around you.
Learn to recognize what is really within your control and exert the appropriate control when you can. Gracefully relinquish it and go with the flow when you can’t change the circumstances or outcome.
Consider these questions.
Commitment – Are you actively engaged in your work, with family, friends and community or do you withdraw?
Control – Do you feel as if you have the power to influence events around you or do you see yourself as powerless?
Challenge – Do you view change as a challenge to be met with expected success or do see it as something that sends you into turmoil and panic?
If you chose the latter to any of the questions you may not be realizing the benefits of being stress hardy. The good news is that you are exploring new ways of facing the changes in your life. It’s hard to feel disengaged or powerless when you are asking yourself these questions. The very fact that you are considering new options for dealing with what life throws your way indicates positive change.
Try this! Consider a situation that you are experiencing right now. Sit for a few minutes in a quiet space and consider the challenge from this perspective:
What one opportunity for growth and development can I gain from my current situation?
What is my next best action?
Do you notice any change or shift in perspective? What’s the energy level like? What is your body telling you? Change won’t happen overnight and we often slip into our old habits so don’t get discouraged. Take the step today to change your view of one life circumstance.
Remember, our mind and habits will either create bridges or barriers to living.