Tag Archives: change thinking

The Power of Choice to Boost Happiness

Happiness in Rain

Do you feel like your happiness depends on others actions? Or you can’t be happy unless the situation changes.

We are all more dependent on our environment and relationships than we want to be. So how do we really choose happiness when we are surrounded by many reasons to be unhappy?

You find the power in your ability to choose how and what you think about. To find a way to not let irritation make you miserable. In doing so, you decide your happiness doesn’t have to be so dependent on changing others. When you find this ability inside yourself, it is empowering.

Find Your Happiness Switch

I know many of your are thinking that you can’t possibly just choose to be happy. You can – you just have to find your happiness switch.

Identify what makes you go negative. And what makes you see the positives too. Most importantly identify what helps you switch from blame to taking responsibility for your happiness.

We all have emotional and thinking parts of our brain. The emotional side is often louder than the thinking side. Your emotions show up first to the scene and try to direct you through their megaphone approach.

When you get your thinking brain to show up on the scene as well, you get to decide who you want to be in charge. This choice is not a debate where you try to persuade the emotions to quiet down. The power is in the choice to feel or act different even when your emotions are loud. The first time you flip your happiness switch you will know exactly what I am talking about.

The most common things we blame  our unhappiness on is a misbehaving child or an unloving spouse. In these situations, your emotions tell you that you can’t possibly be happy unless your child or spouse changes. But how powerful it is when you find the switch that tells you that you can be happy, even when your spouse isn’t being affectionate or your child isn’t being compliant.

Let Go of Need to Blame

If we are honest with ourselves, it is the blame that keeps us from feeling more happiness. We must be ready to let go of blame, and put our thoughts in charge of our emotions.

Another classic frustration example is choosing to be happy even if driving in traffic. I can focus on how much I have to do, and how much time I am wasting sitting in traffic. And I will get more and more tense and frustrated.

But when I realize I have a choice, I can find my switch. How do I, in that moment, not let the traffic dictate my happiness?

For me, it helps to focus on what I have instead of what I don’t have. So I begin to settle into listening to good music more than grumbling about the traffic. And before I know it, I am enjoying the extra time and arrive at my destination less tense.

5 Steps to Choosing Happiness

To find your happiness switch, follow these 5 steps to choose happiness too:

1. Recognize your miserable feelings. (The easiest step to do!)

2. Identify what you are feeling dependent on. (“I can’t feel happy unless…”)

3. Decide you want to be less dependent on environment/others to make you happy.

4. Find and focus on what makes you happy in that moment (instead of dwelling on what you can’t change).

5. Reap the benefits of flipping your happiness switch on.

One of the hardest times is when a person feels helpless to change. When you feel like your happiness is dependent on others, you will feel trapped and helpless. So how do you take your happiness back?

Others can stay the same if they want, but you are going to think differently. And focus on the power of what you choose to think about.

Please share your success and struggles with using your thoughts to boost your happiness. We can learn from each other.

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Photo Credit: “Happiness” by Ira Gelb

Uncover the Confidence Opportunity in Hard Times

Confidence is gritty because a person has been sandpapered by life! You need to rub against life, be knocked down, and get up again. If you avoid challenges because you think you can’t handle them, you will reinforce those feelings of insecurity.

You can’t just read about confidence and become confident. Lean into life’s challenges and decide to do something different. Turn a new way of thinking into a new way of being.

In hard times and difficult situations, there is a confidence opportunity waiting to be uncovered. You find the opportunity when you begin to shift from feeling helpless to finding a way to challenge yourself. When you realize you can handle hard stuff, it changes how you think about yourself. If you can do it once, you can do something else hard too.

Uncovering A Confidence Opportunity:

I have many stories I could share with you about how people can do hard things even with doubt and fear. Listen to how this man found a growth opportunity a midst a hard time.

A man runs out of the prescription medication he has been over-using to check out when life gets hard. He begins to panic and feel more anxious than the situation warrants. He realizes that he has become more dependent on the medication than he wants to be. It is telling him what he needs instead of him directing his medication use.

He knows if he shares this with the doctor, he may be given more medication. He decides to lean into the panic and see how long he can function without the medication he is dependent on.

His family gets anxious and wants to send him to the emergency room for more medication, but he stays focused on his daily goals. He ends up going a week without the medication he had been overusing.

What started out as a man who wants to numb himself becomes a man who realizes he can manage himself in hard times.  Again and again, people can fall to the depths of despair only to tackle the challenges they face. 

4 Steps to Growing Confidence:

Using this example, what can you do to start shifting your own fears and insecurity?

Step 1 = Boost Awareness The first step is always becoming more aware of where you want to grow your confidence. Identify what blocks you from becoming more confident. For instance, if you rely heavily on what others think you can do, it may block your own discovery and growth.

Step 2 = Shift Your Thinking Once you identify your roadblocks to becoming more confident, how do you start to shift your thinking from helpless to grittiness? Look for evidence that you have done hard stuff before. Entice yourself to rise to the challenge again.

Step 3 = Thinking into Action: It’s not enough to think you can do it, you need to take the next step and test yourself. Imagine running yourself through an experiment and look for ways to act as if you can do hard stuff. Even though it’s uncomfortable, can you do it anyway?

Step 4 = Repeat Confidence Steps The more you repeat leaning into hard stuff, the more you will find you can handle more than you originally thought. But if you avoid the challenge that life brings, you will reinforce your fears. And who wants more fears?!

Life may be like sandpaper, but we can be just as gritty. Surprise yourself by grabbing the opportunity to grow in life’s challenges.

Please share in the comments how your confidence grew when you made it through a hard time.

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Find More Enjoyment in Your To Do List

happy-cleaning

Do you have a task you do weekly but dread it? For me, it’s grocery shopping. I would rather do anything other than go grocery shopping, even scrub toilets! On my grocery shopping day, I procrastinate getting this item done on my to do list.

I don’t want to dread this task anymore. I am choosing to find a new way to think about even the most mundane tasks.  If we change our thinking, we can find more enjoyment in our everyday to do lists.

6 Ways to Find Enjoyment in Mundane Tasks

Want to join me in this liberating exercise? First, identify a necessary task you want to enjoy more. Here are my ideas on liberating daily dread:

1. Make a list of likes/dislikes - Life is a mixed bag of positives and negatives, so work on seeing both sides even in mundane tasks. Uncover choices in how you think about your to do list by understanding why you do the task as well as why it bugs you.

2. Get real with yourself – The biggest thing I don’t like about my dreaded weekly chore is the time it takes. But when I am real with myself, I realize grocery shopping on a budget and making healthy food takes some planning. And planning means I invest time in the task.

3. Remember your values - Knowing the why behind why I dedicate the time to do the mundane chore helps me get aligned with my values. So gather positive energy for task completion by identifying what you value in your task.

4. Reward yourself – Children aren’t the only ones that like rewards. Give yourself something to look forward to. What could you give yourself after you get your to do list done?

5. Mix mundane with new - Try to do your dreaded task in a new way. Or add something new while doing the task. For instance, learn something new, listen to new music, or travel a new way.

6. Rethink mundane - Be grateful for routines so we don’t have to rethink how to accomplish the necessary tasks each week.

I know our to do lists aren’t the highlight of our week, but I think choosing how we think about even the mundane can have an impact on our overall outlook. It can also impact how available and open we are to our loved ones. And if we are happier, we are more fun to be around.

I would love to hear from my readers. What do you not like to do? Get it out and gripe about it. Then share how you do it even though you don’t want to. Or how you make your dreaded to do list more enjoyable.

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Interested in working with Marci? You can now hire Marci as your life and/or relationship coach from the comfort of your own home. Click here for coaching details.

Photo Credit: “Cleaning” by S.P. Case