Hopefully you’ve been having a week full of love and joy! There has been so much laughter and heart-opening in my life lately that I don’t even know what to do with myself. I’m so grateful for great times with great friends featuring great music in my great town. Life is good.
Anyway, with all the joy I’m experiencing right now (and hopefully always!), I would love to share some of my best practices (let’s call them “secrets”) for attracting the greatest amount of happiness into life. These are things that have always brought me back to my baseline of “joyful” during difficult and depressing times, and I think they’re pretty dang important practices for living a life of bliss and success. There is pretty much no possible way that you can do these things and NOT be happy. They simply leave you no other choice! However, remember that these practices must be done with sincerity and a heart that is willing to open. At the end of the day, our happiness comes from within.
If you’re wondering what you can do to attract more joy and abundance into your life, look no further than this list:
1. Trust your intuition
Listening to your intuition—that gut feeling you get that something is either right or wrong—is crucial to living your best life. If you’re anything like me, when you get “a feeling” that you should or shouldn’t be in a certain situation, that “feeling” is right about 99 percent of the time. I’ve always been told that women are especially intuitive, but that doesn’t mean that men can’t also be. It is a gift that each of us is blessed with on some level. Make sure you listen to your intuition—whatever it might be saying. Your body and your soul know things that your mind may not be able to perceive, so when you listen to that gut feeling, you really are putting yourself on the path that will be best for you overall. I’d like to note that I make almost all of my decisions by listening to my intuition… maybe this is why it’s so easy for me to make HUGE life decisions in the blink of an eye. What can I say? When you know, you know.
2. Surround yourself with positive people
My mom used to tell me that if I wanted to see my future, I should take a look at my friends. What she meant by that is that we tend to adopt attitudes, habits, mannerisms, and ideas from the people we spend lots of time with (that makes sense, right?). So if we spend lots of time with people who have a generally negative outlook or who tend to be rude to others, there is a pretty good chance that we will start to pick up those outlooks and behaviors, too. On the other hand, if we spend our time with people who are kind, generous, grateful, and hard-working, we can look forward to starting to practice those traits, as well. I try my very best to surround myself with positive people, simply because it feels good! It feels good to laugh, to be kind, and to have an optimistic outlook. And when I’m feeling low, putting myself in the presence of positive people always makes me feel better. So find people who make you feel great, and be friends with them! Surround yourself with the type of people you would like to be.
3. Laugh often
Laughing is SO important! It is one of the best ways to open your heart and soul and experience more joy in your life. It feels wonderful to laugh with a group of great friends. However, you don’t have to be around people to laugh your heart out. When I’m alone, I LOVE to watch stand-up comedy. Aziz Ansari, Gabriel Iglesias, and Louis C.K. are some of my favorites, and quite a few of their shows are on Netflix. On top of laughing often, make sure you live with a light heart. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Don’t take the words of others personally. Don’t worry so much about what others think of you. When you are light-hearted and you can laugh things off, you show that you are in complete control of how you feel, and you show that you are choosing to feel good and joyful.
This goes along with being light-hearted. There’s quote by Dolly Parton that I love: “Don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.” I try to live by this quote… because honestly, there are so many aspects of life. Work is just one of them. And yes, it’s ideal to make enough money to be able to support yourself or your family, but it’s also important to live from a place of ABUNDANCE and not a place of LACK. An example of abundant thinking is, “I work hard, and I have everything I need. I am blessed.” An example of thinking from a place of lack is, “I’ll never have enough. I always have to work. I can’t afford anything” (even if you DO actually have enough to pay your bills, live, etc.). ANYWAY. My point is, don’t let your entire life be work. People need to have fun; we need to play. So do what makes your spirit soar and brings a smile to your face! Play outside, go fishing, play a board game, build a model car, play with your dog. You have to make sure that you make an actual enjoyable life for yourself. If you don’t, what’s the point of making money at work, anyway?
5. Be willing to make mistakes
Nobody is perfect, and it’s not often that we can do something correctly or flawlessly the very first (or sometimes even second, third, etc.) time. That’s okay. We tend to be our harshest critics, which I know from my experience of being a perfectionist. But we have to be kind to ourselves, and we have to be willing to make mistakes. That’s how we learn! Think of Thomas Edison: He invented the light bulb. Do you think he got it on the first try? NO! He literally made 1,000 “failed” attempts at the light bulb before it finally worked. But those attempts were not failures, because each attempt taught him a lesson that would eventually help him make a bulb that would light up. Be kind to yourself. Be willing to make mistakes. Think of it as an opportunity to learn, and know that each mistake is preparing you to be able to deal with a future challenge.
6. Find a hobby you love
A great way to invite more play time into your life is to find a hobby you enjoy. Hobbies give us the opportunity to work on things we’re passionate about (or at least really enjoy), and they help us get into a certain “flow.” Ask yourself: If I had all the free time I could possibly ask for, what would I do? What do I like to do? Some of my favorite hobbies are taking care of my plants, reading, cooking, and writing. When I go to water one of my plants or sit down to write a blog post, it makes me feel focused, relaxed, and quite content. It’s just a lot of fun! So think about the things you like to do, and then do them. Who knows? Maybe your playtime hobby could even turn into something bigger for you.
7. Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness is a great tool for attracting joy and abundance. If you’re unfamiliar with what mindfulness is, you can read about the basics in my blog post, Mindfulness 101. You can also read about my favorite mindful morning routine here. Anyway, make sure you take time in your everyday life to be still, to notice the gifts within each moment, and to be truly present! There is a great deal of joy that comes from simply being grateful for each individual moment…which brings me to my next point.
8. Practice gratitude
If the majority of your thoughts or words are complaints, there’s a pretty good chance you won’t attract good things into your life. When you only notice what’s negative, more negativity begins to flow to you. On the other hand, when you notice what is positive in your life and express gratitude for it, an ABUNDANCE of positivity will continue to flow into your life, giving you even more to be thankful for. In order to mindfully practice gratitude in my everyday life, I have started keeping a gratitude journal, which you can read about here. I highly recommend that you start keeping a gratitude journal! It will change your whole outlook on life, and you will be amazed at how much more positivity comes to you.
9. Listen to good music
Music just has a way of opening your heart. Not only is it fun to listen to, but it is scientifically proven to be able to make you happier and ease the symptoms of anxiety and depression. You can read about some of the benefits of listening to music here. I’ve been listening to a lot of live music lately, which is great, but even putting in your headphones and listening to your favorite songs can be healing, joy-inducing, and heart-opening. So crank up the tunes!
This one is so important. It can be tempting to spend A LOT of time on our phones, tablets, TVs, etc., especially when we are alone. However, spending so much time with technology can prevent us from going inward, listening to our intuition, and being comfortable with silence. In a way, it numbs us. I highly suggest that you take some time every so often to unplug from technology. Put down your phone, be with the people around you (or be with yourself), notice the gifts within each moment, and feel the beautiful blessings that come with living real life! Two years ago, I had the opportunity to go to India for three weeks. I didn’t touch my phone the entire time—not even to take pictures (to be fair, my mom was with me, and she took lots of pictures). But it felt SO GOOD to unplug for those three weeks, and I loved being able to experience the trip of a lifetime without the noisy distraction of my phone. Everybody should unplug at some point.
11. Take care of your body
Donuts and Doritos make me feel as satisfied as anyone else, but the sugars and chemicals in them are not good for our bodies, minds, or spirits. Many times, they can affect our ability to hear our intuition, and they can severely lower our energy levels. For optimal levels of happiness, it’s important to eat a diet of fresh, whole foods, and get some exercise. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy treats or lazy days in moderation—it just means that they should be the exception rather than the rule. Healthy foods and physical activity provide us with the nutrients and energies we need for optimal brain and body function, which really can boost our happiness levels.
12. Practice self-love
Many of us have heard the saying, “you have to love yourself before you can love anyone else.” I would also like to say that you have to love yourself before you can even love life! I struggled with body image issues for the first 18 years of my life, as many men and women do. I know it’s not fun, and that many joyful moments can be ruined by self-consciousness. I’ve also struggled in the past (and sometimes present) with being too hard on myself and expecting perfection where perfection is unrealistic. It’s not always easy to accept who we are in every given moment, but it IS always worth it. We must love ourselves unconditionally before we can expect to attract an abundance of joy into our lives. Self-care and self-love are very important to me, so I try to find ways every day to express that to myself. Some of my favorite self-care practices are taking a bubble bath, snuggling up with a good book, going shopping alone, cooking and eating a healthy meal, and journaling. The key to finding a good self-love practice is doing something that makes you feel comfortable, expressive, and loved by yourself.
13. Nurture something
This is something I’ve been doing A LOT of this year. Back in March, I went to the hardware store and bought two plants, just to prove to myself I could keep them alive. Now, I have about 30 plants (yes, I am a crazy plant lady), and they are THRIVING. To me, it feels so good to be able to nurture something and keep it alive. It gives me a sense of purpose, because if I stop taking care of my beloved plants, they will literally die. Their lives are in my hands, and I nurture those lives with love. Since I’m so plant-crazy, I want everyone to love houseplants as much as I do. However, I know they’re not for everybody. If you have a pet, you probably understand how wonderful it feels to be able to nurture another living thing. If you have a baby, you probably also know (and on a way deeper level than me with my plants!). Anyway, go out and buy a plant or a pet. Nurture something, and feel the sense of purpose it leaves you with.
So this blog post ended up being way longer than I thought it would, but that’s okay. These are my “secrets” to happiness. Hopefully they’ll help you attract the joy and love you’re looking for. But remember: You can read all the tips in the world, but when it comes down to it, only YOU have the power to choose to attract happiness into your life. It comes from within!
What are your “secrets” to happiness? Tell me about it in the comments!