We aren’t the only country in pursuit of happiness. The kingdom of Bhutan has recently been hailed as a role model for legislating that happiness had to be considered when making policies. Politicians are being encouraged to consider Gross National Happiness (GNH) as well as Gross Domestic Product – (GDP). President Sarkozy of France praised this view and commissioned a report to examine how France measures indicators such as health family and leisure time. Lisa Grainger in The Times newspaper said - ‘Starting to rationalise our world in terms of smiles not pounds seem well overdue’. I agree wholeheartedly, happiness, laughter and wellbeing are indeed more important than pounds and dollars.
Without doubt I want be happy - deliriously so, but it’s the definition of happiness thats all important.
Telling ourselves determinedly that we’re going to ‘change our ways’ or do something differently can only work if our subconscious minds (our inner self) also believes it.
I’m reminded of a wonderful yoga teacher who reminds himself to smile a lot in order to ‘practice contentment,’
But aside from forcing a Cheshire cat grin onto my rather harassed face what can I do? Well I kicked off the new year with a Nia class – Nia is a dynamic mix of yoga, martial arts, and different styles of dance. You work barefoot to music and work at your own level of intensity. It’s exhilarating and fun! After our warm-up our inspirational teacher suggested we step sideways and leave behind all that we want to let go of from the last year and at the end of the class we step forward into whatever we want to embrace for the new year ahead.
I had so many hopes and goals and wishes that I wanted to try and simplify the long list of resolutions that I usually create, I've been reading the excellent book by Derek Mills (a fellow Hay House author I met when I was invited to speak at the 'I can do it' conference and as his book suggests I highly recommend setting standards for yourself rather than setting a whole bunch of goals that are unrealistic, most of us simply set ourselves up to fail. Finally I decided to focus on releasing stress – I had far too much last year and didn't schedule enough 'me time' so allowed it to affect my health and wellbeing but in the process of devising my holistic business success coaching and masterclass courses and interviewing all manner of experts on conscious living, I’ve come to realise that we aren’t born with stress, its a learned concept and as such it can be ‘unlearned’. So I stepped sideways and let go of last years debilitating stress.
I wondered what I could choose to embrace for the coming year and again my list went on for ever, I decided simply to step forward into Joy – I figure if I focus on joy everything else will fall into place.
It should be a good plan, I'll try to be the one grinning wildly even in the face of adversity – smiling uses a different set of muscles and increases happy hormones, talking of using my muscles I intend to dig out the rebounder from under the pile of kids toys, I’ve been telling everyone about the benefits of rebounding but forgotten to practice myself ! I do remember however, that its the best full body workout aside from swimming and best of all its fun, its impossible not to smile while you’re bouncing – just ask Tigger from Winnie the Pooh !
Gratitude is pretty important too, I now count my blessings and remember how lucky I am. I‘ve read the books that suggest I keep a ‘gratitude journal’ well basically any old notebook, but its important to keep it by your bedside and before you go to sleep jot down at least three things that you’re thankful for, its a lovely exercise for children too. I’ve also set up a Vision Board, - it can be a noticeboard or even a piece of card with ideas, pics, and photos stuck to it, I’ve found images that represent what I want and manifest them ! Sticking up a pic of raw choccy truffles worked like a dream !
Studies show that true happiness comes from giving rather than taking. As Wayne Dyer says in The Power of Intention ‘Purpose is not about vocation – its about service’. Giving to others, whether it be a random act of kindness to a stranger, a smile, a gift, or time spent with a lonely relative, helping or giving to others is said to increase feelings of happiness and wellbeing quicker than any materialistic retail therapy might. For most of us even if we gave away ten per cent of our wealth we’d still be amongst the richest 5 per cent of the world.
So that’s sorted then, if you should come across me frowning and bemoaning my lot, I hereby give you full permission to reprimand me and remind me of my intent.
Hopefully (albeit imperfectly) I might succeed in my pursuit of happiness (shame the government didn’t ask me and my lovely imperfectly natural community, they could’ve had this info for free !).