According to the Dalai Lama: The purpose of our lives is to be happy. Everyone wants to be happier and experience less stress and suffering. Despite this fact, it’s interesting that many (if not most) of us don’t pursue happiness. We spend more time doing things that make us grumpy and sad and less time doing things that we’re passionate about that make us happy.
What you pay attention to grows and expands. So if you want to be happier instead of fixating on complaints, goals and getting ahead, focus on passion and pleasure. Do more of what you love and less of what you don’t like doing. You’ll work more consistently and passionately, feel less stressed and will achieve more.
Don’t know what you’re passionate about? No worries. Many or us aren’t sure what our passions are because we’re so busy trying to get ahead and please others that we don’t take the time to please ourselves by exploring what we love.
Think back to when you were a kid. You just did things —played games, colored, explored nature, danced, read… without judging and analyzing everything. Eventually you discovered what you enjoyed doing and you kept doing it.
You can get back to that place of self-discovery and find your passion.
Here’s an easy journaling exercise to get you started.
- Take out a piece of paper or open a fresh computer document. Make two columns. Label the first one “Things I enjoy doing.” Label the other “Things I dislike doing.”
- Start filling in the columns. Think about what energizes you and what drains you. Keep the list going throughout the week until you have at least 10 items in each column.
- Spend more time doing things that energize you and make you happy. Make doing what you love a priority, not an after thought.
- Do less of what drains you. If you have a task on your “Don’t like” list that you must do pair it with something on your “Do like” list as an incentive to complete it. Take a good look at your “Dislike” list and cross off anything that really doesn’t have to be done. Ask yourself: What can I release, cancel or let someone else handle? Just say no. (Saying no is a way to say YES to yourself.) You’ll eliminate a dose of overwhelm and take some of the pressure off yourself.
Set an intention this week to spend more time doing what makes you happy and less time doing what drains you. You already enjoy many things. Don’t ignore them. Do more of them. You’ll increase your energy, elevate your mood and feel more hopeful, enthusiastic and positive. Happiness is a now thing! Don’t wait until later to be happy.
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