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Taking Steps Towards Happiness

Taking steps in the direction of what ignites our joy, no matter how small, will inevitably get us there so keep walking!

We all experience times of pain and sadness, where things are tough, stress runs high and life feels hard. We can sense the heavy grey cloud above us, and can feel helpless as we spiral downwards - seemingly out of control. We don’t like to feel this way, and we wish things were different so that we would feel good again!


Experiencing the ups and downs of life is as natural as life's other rhythms. While sometimes we can feel stuck in the lows, with awareness and practice we can ride the waves of emotion and learn to shift more comfortably in and out of them.


Happiness is a state of being that exists within us now, it's the essence of our soul so we always have access to it. If we're feeling low, it may take a conscious and repeated effort to return our awareness to the happiness within, but when viewed this way it can never be permanently taken from us by external factors.


To live from a state of happiness we must realise that changing our outer world to THEN feel happy will only ever bring a temporary and conditional moment of happiness. These moments are certainly enjoyable, but we’ll find that we’re forever searching for the next thing that will ‘make’ us happy. It's more effective to remember our inner happiness.


Remembering our inherent state of joy is worth the effort. As we practice embodying a better feeling, we strengthen the neural pathways to happiness making them more dominant and more easily accessible in future. We develop resilience to stress, experience more peace, become more accepting of ourselves and whatever shows up in our life.


Let's look at how to get in touch with our inner essence of happiness.


Taking Steps in the Direction of Happiness

Experiencing happiness more frequently can feel like a far-fetched dream to a lot of people. But the truth is, happiness is within our grasp.


Taking steps in the direction of what ignites our joy, no matter how small, will inevitably get us there so keep walking!

Here are some suggestions:


Get to Know what Happiness is for You

Trauma or ongoing stress can cause us to live from a place of anxiety and overwhelm. These states rewire our brain, become our new normal and we forget what our inner happiness feels like. When this happens we must rewire our brain to strengthen the neural pathways to joy, and this takes repeated practice and effort.


We can begin by recalling times we have felt the most happy and joyful. Play them out in our mind and remember them in as much detail as possible.

  • What are you doing?

  • Who are you with?

  • What does it feel like in your body?

What's amazing is that just imagining these happy memories begins to strengthen the pathways to feeling happy! And now that we have some awareness of what lights us up, we can make a conscious effort to add more of these moments to our life.


Honour your Feelings

All emotions are valid and should be honoured, even the so-called ‘negative’ ones. In fact, judging them as bad just drives them deeper into hiding and they'll find more covert ways of expressing themselves.


Feelings are our guidance system. They let us know when our boundaries have been breached, when we're in possible danger, when we are being true to our values and when we are being authentic.


When uncomfortable feelings arise, take a moment to first acknowledge, then accept them. Locating the feeling in your body, place your hand there and ask this feeling what it's trying to communicate.


You may then communicate it's message in a safe and appropriate way. Rather than exploding with rage it could mean that you simply state "I feel really angry right now." You could talk to a trusted friend or counsellor, find emotional release through tears, creatively express it through art, write about it and explore it in a journal entry etc.


Once our uncomfortable feelings have been acknowledged, heard and safely expressed we often feel much better. We can then cultivate more joyful feelings in our body.


Love and Accept Yourself

Accepting who we are is a huge step towards feeling our inner happiness, but it can be hard if we've struggled to be accepted by our parents or others. It takes practice.


We can start to be more accepting of ourselves by accepting our uncomfortable feelings. As we compassionately accept more of our parts, our inner conflict reduces, our sense of happiness becomes clearer, and we feel a stronger sense of our loving essence.


We can also practice speaking to ourselves in ways we wish others had spoken to us, telling ourselves the words we needed to hear in the past. Bringing compassion to our inner dialogue.


Tell a Different ‘Story’

It's very healing if we can extract meaning from painful experiences, and find the positive ways that it shaped us and our direction in life. While it doesn't change what happened, it can redefine our relationship to the event. It can turn a disempowering event into something empowering, and it can even put us on the path of our life purpose. Remaining open to the possibility that good can come from this can help us access our inner happiness.


Spend Quiet Time with Yourself

Time spent going within - either through meditation or something as simple as a relaxing bath or walk in nature, opens space for epiphanies and self-awareness to appear.


Quiet time alone presents opportunities to practice self acceptance and compassion. We get to know our thoughts, behaviours and patterns better. We learn what's keeping us stuck and we get a feel for where we want to go. We also begin to sense the ‘real’ us, the infinite self that is limitless, and with this comes peace, acceptance and happiness.


With love and gratitude,

Charisse