I was doing some reading this morning and after I stopped, I was struggling to figure out which point I wanted to share with all of you. And then I did something bold- I decided to boil them down and make a title that seems way too simplistic and audacious. How could I possibly know THE KEYS FOR A HAPPY LIFE? It might seem way too overconfident, but I’m going to proceed anyway. These are the points that stood out to me in the reading, and even though I don’t always practice them I do believe they lead to more fulfillment, more peace, and more connection. That, my friends, is what we are here for.
So please, forgive my boldness as we journey through some keys for a happy, fulfilled life:
1) You are all you need
“WHAT?! You are all you need?” Is that what you’re asking? Yes, I’m a marriage and family therapist saying you are all you need. Why might I be saying this? It’s because it’s a lesson I have seen show up in myself and in the people I work with. We can’t look to outside things to bring us happiness. Check out this quote:
Developing heart intelligence allows us to build a deep sense of inner security. People spend their lives looking for security outside themselves- in jobs, marriages, religions, and beliefs…As we develop a solid state of security in our hearts, we’re able to do our jobs, enhance our marriages, and live our core values with more integrity. (The Heartmath Solution)
Let’s pump the brakes. While I fully believe we are all we need, let me tell you that a lot of my past research has also been on the healing power of community. We are hurt in community so we can heal in community. But why I bring this point up is that we often look outside of ourselves for things we can offer ourselves. We look for acceptance from others, but do we accept ourselves? Do we love ourselves? Do we see ourselves as valuable? We need to see if we are on our own team before we start looking for all outside sources to provide those things. Be kind to yourself. Listen to your emotions. When you start practicing those things and offering it to yourself you will naturally attract new ways of being in relationship to others.
2) Generate a way to focus on the good
In my reading (“The Heartmath Solution”) they actually said “stress is the enemy.” I think it’s somewhat comical how serious that sounds, but it’s true! Stress gets our body out of alignment. When cortisol levels are higher we cannot make sound decisions. When stress is up we see the world through emotions such as anger, fear, judgement- not a good place to be making the best decisions.
So, why are gratitude journals and appreciation notes so pushed in the field of mental health? Because when we focus on feelings from the heart, such as love, appreciation, care, gratitude... it puts our body in a place of congruence. When we look for the good, we get more good.
3) Live from an integrated viewpoint: use head and heart
I just mentioned the word congruence above. It’s so HUGE. Often times we approach things from a dichotomized place. We categorize people as right or left brained. Politics are extremely polarized. Let’s just stop with politics, I don’t even want to go there! To make my point, we see things in opposites. Yet, when we go about seeing things from a “heady” place or “emotional” place we are missing a WHOLE view. When we take time to center to our core place, a sound place, we incorporate emotions and logic. It even goes beyond emotions to be more of a "gut" knowing when something is right or wrong for us. We don’t just do all decisions analytically, because we know much of the world is not just x’s and o’s. In relationships and gut business decisions, sometimes there is not a linear, logical answer. So, in comes the heart. When we allow ourselves to focus on the good, we are in alignment and can bring all of our being to work on our behalf.
So there you have it. There's a list of three things that lead to a happier, fulfilled life. I'm right alongside you practicing these very things! As we learn to trust ourselves and our own judgement, we can make decisions based on our core values. The more we do that, the more our life will start looking like something we can smile about! Happy rooting, everyone!