How Can I Be Happy When No One Else Is?
I am often asked the question: “How can I be happy when everyone else is not?”
Good question! As humans, we have a tendency to mimic our environments. If we work or live with grumpy people who never seem happy, we might tend to feel irritable. If we work or live with energetic, smiley people, we probably smile and laugh often. But we can convert our energy currency and learn to feel good even when those around us do not.
We can grow happiness by cultivating contentment
Cultivating contentment is like growing a garden. It takes mindful work. How many beautiful gardens have you seen that are neglected? I’m guessing not many. A garden has a gardener who pays careful attention to the needs of each plant. A gardener loves every stage of their garden, from tilling and sowing seeds to pruning and harvesting.
Being content begins with the gardener: you!
If we want to experience happiness, we must accept the seasons of emotionality just as a gardener accepts the seasons of his or her garden. We must understand that happiness is the fragrant lavender of our emotionality garden: sometimes it is in bloom and sometimes it is not. But if we provide fertilizer and cultivate our lives properly, happiness will remain alive and well inside of us at all times, just as the lavender remains alive during frosty winters.
Keeping your contentment garden fertile
Mindfulness is the fertilizer for contentment. And it’s easy to practice. Simply put, mindfulness is the state of being aware or conscious. We can apply it to literally every part of our lives.
Here are a couple of mindfulness practices that I practice daily. I’m confident that with repetition your contentment garden will grow. You might even notice a few more lavender plants popping up along the way.
Daily gratitude practice
What’s the point of a gratitude practice? It refocuses our attention from what we don’t have to what we do have. Gratitude practices encourage us to become aware of how our lives are shaped and to acknowledge what we love.
First Thing in the Morning
- Lay quietly and close your eyes.
- Observe the moment: where you are, whether you are alone or not.
- Say, “Thank you for this moment.”
Grow Your Gratitude Practice
- While laying in bed, think about people or experiences that make you smile.
- Make a mental list of 5 to 10 things/people you love.
- Say, “Thank you for these [people, etc.].”
- Sink into the warm feeling.
- Stay with it for a couple of minutes before starting your day
- Repeat at bedtime.
What is the point of a smiling practice? Other than strengthening your immune system and releasing endorphins? Well, a smile goes a long way. Both with others and with ourselves. Smiling in the face of frowns can turn some of them upside down. A smiling practice also makes us aware of our effect on others.
- First thing in the morning, while laying in bed. Smile! (You can do this during your gratitude practice for a super boost).
- Look in the mirror when getting ready. Make eye contact. Smile!
- Smile at strangers and throughout the day.
Try this 7-minute Healing With Love Meditation for a boost of positivity to keep your practice and heart warm.
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