But wait, there’s more!
Following on from my earlier article about putting your mind in service to your happiness, here are three more tips to help you cultivate a mindset that supports a positive mood and a great life.
Focus the mind on what you want
Even with all the experience and skills and tools I have as a coach and as someone constantly growing themselves, even I can get caught up in the complaints or frustrations of a problem I’m facing or situation I want to change. We’re human, it’s okay to have a rant, feel frustrated or confused and get it out of the system, but then it’s time to turn our attention to what we actually want to have happen. Otherwise, we’re only thinking about what we don’t want and what we want to move away from. That doesn’t give our brain or consciousness any information about what we DO want to have happen. There’s no forward movement. There’s no new manifestation.
So, with this in mind, using the mind to define what we want to move towards, what we’d ideally like to have happen becomes very powerful.
This involves asking yourself, if I don’t want that, what do I want? What would I love to have happen instead? What would be my ideal scenario?
If I’m stuck in complaint mode then I usually write down what I want instead as it helps me get out of focusing on what’s bugging me or feeling ‘off’ and to formulate an alternative. Seeing it on paper in front of you creates a lot of clarity.
My clients use this ‘intention’ thinking for big stuff like a new job or house or relationship, as well as day to day experiences like how they’d like a board meeting or client presentation to go. They set intentions for how they’d like family time to be in the evenings, or a first date, or the wedding speech they need to give on the weekend.
When we do this, we’re activating the RAS (Reticular Activating System) in the brain that sorts all the information coming in through your senses for what’s important, so you’re literally giving your brain directions to follow. It also allows you to consciously state what you want to your unconscious mind and higher self so they can be in service to you powerfully.
It’s like bringing the big guns in every time you set an intention. Large or small.
Intentions literally shape our experience and our life.
So, the next time you’d like your mind to be in service to your happiness, focus on what you want rather than what you don’t want and see what unfolds!
Stop the excuses
Whether we like it or not (and this can honestly make me cringe when I have to face it myself) we make excuses for stuff all the time that are really just, well, excuses. They might sound very justifiable, very logical and very understandable but there’s a good chance they’re still excuses.
How can you get your mind in service to you on this front?
Run your excuses through your internal bullshit detector.
The most concrete way to do this is to write each excuse down that you heard yourself rattling off to your spouse last night, and then ask for each one, is it true? Is it for real?
And if it’s not really true, what is?
Ask your mind to reality-check the situation.
Is it that you keep saying you don’t have time to go for a walk or run in the mornings; it’s too cold, too dark, too hot, too whatever. Or is it that you actually much prefer exercising at the other end of the day? Or is that you are getting shin splints because of old shoes and don’t feel you can spend the money on new ones?
Do you have a raft of excuses for having a drink every night after work at the moment (a challenge for many people right now)? Have you taken the plunge yet to run your bullshit detector through them? Compassionately? There will be some gold in there that will help you grow.
It’s amazing what we find out about ourselves when we can compassionately and curiously understand what’s really going on under the hood.
This tip is inspired by the now-famous blog by Luminita Saviuc ‘15 Things You Should Give Up To Be Happy’ which was turned into a book. Check it out for more inspiration on happiness.
Train the mind into daily appreciation
We’ve all heard about practicing gratitude, but it doesn’t hurt to remind ourselves about it, and to check if we are actually DOING IT!
It’s great for your sense of emotional wellbeing, as well as overall health. I always like to start with the simplest things, like the delicious breakfast I had this morning or the fact that I have clean drinking water available to me all day long. You might think of the person who let you into the line of traffic this morning or the new coffee machine at work. There are often many small things that make our day a little better that we might neglect to soak up and enjoy. Of course, there are those things to appreciate that have more meaning such as the loved ones around us, a safe and comfortable home, and so on.
A particularly nice practice here is to ask yourself what you appreciate and are grateful for about your family, friend and work relationships and connections?
Taking time to actively appreciate fills our tank and helps our mind to get better at paying attention to these things so that we feel the joys of our life more fully.
My favourite way to do gratitude at the moment is, instead of rattling through a list of everything I’m grateful for, I totally dine out for a few moments on JUST ONE THING.
Instead of rattling off a list of all of the things that you’re grateful for, which is a perfectly good thing to do but can end up a little hollow, choose ONE thing to shower your gratitude on. It could just be the hot shower you just had, the meal you’ve just eaten, a loved one, or your memory of a sunset. It can be anything.
I love blissing out on gratitude for the native bush near my house and let me show you how I do it over on the blog where I talk about how to really get the juice out of gratitude.
To your happiness,