3 Simple Habits to a Happier You

We all want a happy life.

Happiness brings with it better health, more satisfying relationships, it makes us more creative, and attracts happy people into our lives. But being happy can be a challenge. It’s easy to set our focus on the bad things in life while ignoring the good.

Here three proven habits to help shift the spotlight back onto the good things and create more happiness in your life:

woman-731887_640.jpg
  1. Practice gratitude. People who express gratitude on a consistent basis are more optimistic, less materialistic, and more forgiving. Here’s one method of harnessing the positive power of gratitude:

  • On a piece of paper rank your happiness on a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being ‘never’ and 10 being ‘all the time’. Seal your answer in an envelope and set it aside. At the end of each day, write down 3 things you’re grateful for. It can be ordinary (clean running water) or uplifting (watching your child graduate). After two weeks, rank your happiness again and compare it with your original score. Chances are you’re significantly happier.

  1. Perform acts of kindness. Giving not only benefits the receiver, it contributes to the givers’ health, happiness, and sense of social connection. Try this simple exercise to get started:

  • Chose one day this week and perform 5 acts of kindness. They can be big or small, random or planned, for a stranger or someone you know. Dropping a quarter in a stranger’s parking meter, donating blood, or, at work try cleaning the communal kitchen area, or pitching in on a colleague’s project. At the end of the day write down what you did, how the person responded, and notice the difference you feel.

  1. Offer forgiveness. Keeping grudges means holding onto anger, resentment, and hurt. Practicing forgiveness releases the pain and allows us to move on.

  • Think of a grudge you’re holding. Acknowledge your feelings, thoughts, and sensations around the experience then ask yourself, what areas in my life is this grudge negatively affecting? How is it impacting those around me? What positive change would occur if I let it go and moved on? Forgiveness isn’t about minimizing feelings or condoning transgressions. It’s about letting go and setting yourself free.

We all experience life’s ups and downs. But with intentional practice we develop new habits. And, by implementing these habits into your daily life you’ll be better equipped to handle whatever challenge life throws at you and experience more happiness.

You deserve a happy life!

If you’ve tried exercises in the past such as the above and still aren’t experiencing the happiness and fulfillment you would like in life, then reach out to me right away. Allowing yourself to be supported just might be the most important action step you take.
Karen@KarenPerry.me or 336-817-9400.

Blessings and abound in grace,

Karen

Want More Happiness in Your Life?

Manufacture Your Own

005b1fd2-d502-4e22-8d43-797e732ebd4d.jpeg


In 1958 Moreese Bickham was sentenced to death after being falsely convicted of murder. For 14 years and seven stays of execution he lived on death row, in solitary confinement, for 23 hours a day. In total, he was incarcerated for over 37 years before being exonerated and walking away a free man in 1996. Upon his release he was quoted as saying: “I don’t have one minute’s regret. It was a glorious experience.”

Have you ever met someone who experienced a terrible event or a discouraging setback and, instead of complaining about it, they concluded they’re better off in the end? Whether it’s a toxic relationship, a life-threatening illness or, in the case of Mr. Bickham, being wrongly convicted of a crime, certain people somehow manage to experience happiness and gratitude when they don’t get what they want in life. Are they delusional? Are they in denial? Are they living a Pollyanna existence or perhaps merely crazy?

According to Harvard University social psychologist Dan Gilbert, people who are able to frame a terrible experience in a positive light are far from crazy. They’re simply in touch with their capacity to synthesize their own happiness.

Synthesized happiness is the capacity within the human brain to feel happy about an unexpected or unwanted outcome. It’s happiness we ‘manufacture’ when we don’t get what we want. The Bickhams of the world aren’t crazy, in denial, or rationalizing their experiences – they’re merely displaying the ability to manufacture their own happiness.

It’s easy to feel happy when we get what we’re after in life: the dream vacation, a bigger salary, earning a degree, becoming physically fit. But what happens when life hands us a situation that’s less than ideal?

While we can’t always get what we want, it’s possible to learn how to like what we get. During his incarceration, bitterness and anger could have consumed Moreese Bickham. Instead, he seized the experience as an opportunity and learned leather making, worked in the visitor’s center, maintained a garden, and became an ordained minister. His happiness was determined by his behavior, how he perceived his relationships, experiences, and circumstances.

Creating your own happiness isn’t about fooling yourself, settling, rationalizing, or living in denial. It’s about finding what to like about a particular situation and realizing that even the worst circumstances bring with it something to be positive about.

Most of us will never experience the kind of injustice Mr. Bickham did, but the world is full of uncertaintyEven under normal circumstances its human nature to overestimate our desired outcomes and, by extension, overestimate the happiness we expect to experience in any given situation. That can lead to a lot of disappointment. Synthesizing happiness allows us to accept the uncertainly and disappointment by manifesting positive thoughts when things go wrong. When we’re better able to accept uncertainty and setbacks, or even welcome them, happiness can flourish.

People who are able to find hope in hopeless situations tend to be healthier, have more positive relationships, and live longer. These people aren’t faking it - they genuinely believe things worked out for the better.

No situation is all good or all bad. The key to synthesizing your own happiness is to look for the good in every event and circumstance. Practicing synthesized happiness lets us see a less than ideal situation in a new, positive light. Moreese Bickham’s experience is proof that happiness is achievable under any conditions. He manufactured his own happiness by making the best of his circumstances and you can too.

The next time you find yourself feeling like you’re in a terrible situation ask yourself, what’s one positive thing I can take away from this situation? Once you come up with one good thing ask yourself, what’s another good thing about this situation? This triggers the mind to create alternative perspectives and focus on the positive.

It’s no secret that life is full of challenges, disappointments, and heartbreak. Having the ability to interpret less-than-ideal outcomes in a positive light – to manufacture your happiness no matter how dire the situation you face - makes it easier to focus on the bright side of life and experience more joy.

The next time you find yourself missing out on the happiness you want, take charge and manufacture it yourself – it will be a glorious experience!

Blessings and abound in grace,

Karen

Just Change One Thing

Sometimes it seems like nothing works the way it “should.” If you’re human, at one time in your life you have probably hit that point where work was no fun, a relationship was a struggle, or you didn’t even feel comfortable in your body.

At times like these, changing your life can seem overwhelming if not impossible. There’s so much to do…where do you even start?

2ad7ffd2-6baf-4dc3-8fc4-2c1ac33b554b.png

It’s quite simple, really…just change ONE thing.

Before we talk more about changing just ONE thing, let’s enjoy A Powerful Pause relating to “should.” Life is so profound and brilliantly designed, by you and for you, for your highest good and for the highest good of all. Anytime you “should” on yourself is a perfect time for realizing that you most likely are in resistance to what is and leaking energy…no wonder things seems so hard. Simply, take a breath, observe what you think “should” be; look at what is, still as the observer – don’t make it personal – then ask if there is anything for you do now?

Wait. If the answer is no, then move on. Let go of your resistance and accept what is. If you receive helpful action steps that you can do, then take action. This is how you move through life with ease and grace. Fun – right!

Now, back to…just change ONE thing.

  • Eliminate one unhealthy food from your diet.

  • Do an unselfish act of kindness for a loved one with no expectation of anything in return.

  • Find three things about your job you can be grateful for.

  • Find three things about your relationship you can be grateful for.

  • Take a different route to work.

Any simple change has the potential to drastically change your perspective and transform your life.

It’s like a ship at sea…if it changes course even one degree, 100 miles later it’s in completely new waters.

Too many people leak so much energy trying to control and manipulate things, other people and circumstances on the outside only to end up frustrated and exhausted.

Of course, the most profound shifts are the ones you make on the inside. Annoyance can easily be turned into fascination. Frustration can be flipped to become gratitude. Even anger can be transformed if you simply turn it into a song.

You don’t have to tackle the whole kit and caboodle, just make one simple shift.

And the best part is…its all experimentation. Live your life in a playful state of being and experiencing all that life has to offer. If you don’t like your new perspective, you can always go back to your old one or even create a different, new one.

What “one-degree” shift can YOU make TODAY?

Blessings and abound in grace,

Karen

Have a Cloud Hanging Over Your Head...Good or Bad?

cloud.jpg

Isn’t it interesting how the exact same saying can carry such polar opposite meanings? One being something uplifting and positive while another down-trodden and negative.

I was in the direct sun and it was h-o-t. When all of a sudden everything cooled, and I felt immediate relief – a welcome occurrence. And then I looked up…and took the photo to the left.

Have a cloud hanging over your head?

sad.jpg

I had always thought of a cloud overhead as inferring negatively and as something more associated with the image to the right…that is until today.

This is a wonderful example of how our perspective shapes our perception, which really does help create our reality.

Many reading this in February 2019 may be thinking what the heck is she talking about, its winter, and cold, and there’s snow on the ground. But, alas, not in Costa Rica and warmer parts of our beautiful world.

Now that I’ve clarified and given you a better point of reference, let’s get back to how much more true control you actually have in creating your own life.

This is good news! You see, you, and only you, get to choose in what way you view any situation, circumstance, conversation, etc.

Like the cloud hanging over my head, I could have been upset that the sun was shaded if I wanted a sun tan just as easy as I was relieved for the momentary coolness (well, cooler anyway.) I chose to find the good. And that in turn made me feel good. I even smiled and became really present, which is why I grabbed my phone and took a photo, because I was so grateful.

Here’s the Facebook post and caption I made today (Feb. 21, 2019) - I just had to share the overwhelming gratitude: “When God provides a cloud just for you as momentary relief from direct sun...Thank you. What reasons can you discover today to smile?

There’s another saying that made me laugh myself silly when I was able to turn it around to the positive: wallowing around like a pig in mud.

I vividly recall the day the shift happened. I was standing in my kitchen, talking with my coach, and realized that I had worked through an old pattern and released a whole lot of stuck energy. That’s when I exclaimed, “I feel like a pig wallowing around in mud. I’m so happy!”

Whereas, just the week or so before I felt like a pig wallowing around in mud and meant that I was wallowing around in self-pity and agony.

Making such dramatic and yet profound shifts is not always immediate. Sometimes we resist and hold on to our crappy feelings. Why? Well, probably because they are familiar.

Changes, even changes for the good, are as easy as we let them be. I’m not denying that life is sometimes challenging and dare I say hard.

Yet, the truth is so simple.

You, me, and each and every one of us, creates our own life. Let’s do it consciously and let’s choose a good life.

One choice, one person at a time, and we change our world so that we look for, expect, and find good. This is the world in which I live. Please come and play with me here.

Should you be in need of a perspective shift, it would be a privilege to support you. You do not have to walk through life with a dark cloud of misery hanging over your head.  Email Karen@KarenPerry.me.

Abound in grace,

Karen