Aloha Boosters: 10 Positive Habits to Build Happiness
Your daily habits and happiness levels correlate. There’s no getting away from the fact that your behavior affects your wellbeing. While some aspects of life are out of your control, you can push the odds in favor of a happy life by practicing the following habits.
1. Enjoy mindful moments
Mindfulness can make you happy because it connects you with the present moment where most of your concerns don’t exist. Many people ruminate about the past resulting in feelings of depression, while others worry about the future resulting in feelings of anxiety, but their qualms disappear if they focus on and live in the here and now, the present.
Being mindful helps you connect with your body and immediate needs. A great way to do this and feeling instantly better about life is with 4-7-8 breathing. By practicing 4-7-8 breathing for just 60 seconds, awareness improves, you recognize signs of unease before they grow, and you can make yourself feeling immediately better while making better decisions in the thoughts that follow.
Engage with more and more mindful moments to help happiness flow regularly. You can be mindful and use 4-7-8 breathing any time of day, no matter what you do. Try to walk, eat, and carry out chores mindfully, paying attention to your breath and movements. When you loose your sense of “the now”, stop and use this breathing technique. It works like magic and you will feel aloha instantly.
2. Let go of grudges
People sometimes avoid forgiveness when someone hurts them because they imagine it means letting that person off the hook. You can still forgive somebody without condoning their behavior, though.
Forgiveness provides mental freedom and can make you happier. A grudge is a heavy burden, and when you let it go, you feel lighter, and your wellbeing grows. One of my favorite methods to resolve grudges in families is using the Hawaiian technique of Ho’oponopono. While I see very distilled “poetic” methods of this approach on the internet, I have summarized the steps below that detail it out from a very special training I received from practitioners from Molokai on the Big Island many many years ago.
Mahalo to Lisa and my friends at Drug Addiction Services of Hawaii for this experience and my understanding of Lāʻau lapaʻau and for helping me become the healer I am today.
Ho’oponono: A Hawaiian Process Of Family Reconciliation
As interpreted By Glen Carner, LMHC
(highly abridged, note card edition.. for family members. )
STEP 1: PARTICIPATE IN CONNECTIVE BLESSING, RITUAL, OR EXERCISE.
STEP 2 : DEFINE THE PROBLEM. WHAT IS YOUR ROLE IN THE PROBLEM? SPEAK THE WAYS YOU CONTRIBUTED TO THE PROBLEM THAT MADE THE PROBLEM WORSE.
STEP 3: FORGIVENESS. SAY YOU ARE SORRY. ASK TO BE FORGIVEN FOR DOING THE THINGS YOU DID THAT MADE THE PROBLEM WORSE. FORGIVE THE OTHER PERSON FOR THEIR ROLE AND ACTIONS THAT MADE THE PROBLEM WORSE.
STEP 4: GIVE THANKS. EXPRESS SINCERE LOVE, APPRECIATION, AND ALOHA TO THE OTHER PERSON FOR FORGIVING YOU. *INSERT HUGS HERE
STEP 5: FOLLOW UP. ASK IF THERE IS MORE THAT YOU CAN DO TO MAKE THE PROBLEM BETTER. IF THERE ARE MORE PROBLEMS TO ADDRESS, RESCHEDULE.
STEP 6: EAT AND SHARE FOOD
If you working on yourself internally to resolve a grudge, sit somewhere quiet and take deep, calming breaths. As you relax, think about the individual who upsets you and imagine making peace with them. Rewrite the story in your mind that is causing the grudge and create a narrative that gives you peace of mind, resolution, and strength. You can tell them you disagree with their behavior, but break free. Picture yourself cutting a ribbon that joins you both at the ankles, and visualize how easy it is to walk away. Tell yourself the new healthier story and allow it to conflict with the old that hobbles you.
You may choose to keep the individual in your life, or you could make the split literal if your relationship is unhealthy and unserving. Either way, you’ll gain liberty from the burden of unforgiveness. Remember, you are carrying the anger and you are the one suffering. You are not achieving balance or taking revenge on the other person by suffering yourself in pain.
3. Practice self-acceptance
You can’t be happy unless you accept yourself. You might experience joyful moments, but you’ll lack consistent satisfaction. People who don’t think they are good enough strain to be different. The disparity between who they are and the person they think they should be only removes them further of feelings of happiness.
To practice self-acceptance, acknowledge and accept all parts of your persona and body. You are who you are. You might notice your flaws, but rather than reject them, offer yourself compassion. We are all flawed yet we all bring gifts into this world. This is where your own personal story you tell yourself comes into play. Take notice of the messages you tell yourself about You. Know that You have the power to rewrite the story if the message you tell yourself holds you back, hurts you, or does not let you grow or progress in your own life. Make sure your personal story is a story that serves you and builds you rather than harms you or keeps you stuck in the same place. Your best life comes with feelings of improvement.
4. Develop a sense of purpose
Making sure you have a sense of purpose will help to build aloha. With meaning in your life, you have goals, reasons to get up in the morning, and positive outcomes to anticipate.
Consider what provides meaning for you and pursue it. Your actions will ramp up long-term joy whether you help re-home dogs from an animal shelter, paint portraits, or start a business. One of the greatest things you can do to feel better and fulfillment along with a sense of purpose, is to do things for others in need. That’s why activities like volunteering feel so good. Don’t take, give to others when feeling empty. It’s a great way to feel a sense of purpose and belonging with the world around you.
5. Engage in a gratitude practice
Gratitude is a terrific route to improved levels of happiness. You can’t help but enjoy a sense of wellbeing when you recognize aspects of your life that bring ease and joy. Even if you face difficulties, gratitude can raise your spirits.
Keep a gratitude journal and log your blessings daily, or acknowledge them before sleeping at night. Your appreciation for life and happiness will increase. Giving thanks and recognizing the gifts one receives each day build a feeling of aloha within.
6. Do what you love
Everyone has favorite hobbies, but they might not do them much. Perhaps circumstances stop you from painting masterpieces, growing roses, writing songs, or doing whatever it is that gives you happiness.
If the scenario rings true, identify what holds you back from engaging with what you love to do. Dilemmas could be a lack of time, energy, or resources. But often, a negative mindset or habits prevents people from using their talents and indulging in much-loved interests.
If you haven’t picked up a paintbrush, music sheet, or surfboard in a while, you might only need motivation to begin again. Carve out a niche in your schedule, gather any equipment you need, and reignite your passion. Doing it the first time is always the hardest time. Every time after that is easier. Learning about the stages of change can help one take the first step.
7. Adopt positive self-talk
Your inner critic has plenty to say. Your internal voice need not dampen your happiness, though. You can use it to boost positivity. It’s almost impossible to silence critical self-talk via willpower, so don’t try. Instead, replace negative self-talk with your internal life coach. There are many different voices in your head providing messages to you. Identify and choose to listen to the ones that help you, and recognize the ones that hurt and hold you back. The wise voices will offer encouragement and quash critical thoughts if you tune into it with intention. Be gentle to all the voices and messengers. Recognize where they come from and who gave you those belief systems. Some may be parents, old friends, voices you heard that you admired, While others may be people who insulted and injured you, who told you you were never good enough. Many people in your life projected their own feelings of themselves on to you when you were just a child. Adopt a mature growth mindset and watch how you turn obstacles into challenges, and deficits into strength. Watch how you are able to choose the voices you listen to by identifying where they come from and which ones are there to serve you. One of my favorite voices tells me there is opportunity in every crisis I face, and every crisis I face brings learning and growth. Now every challenge or problem is a mountain to be climbed, rather than an obstacle that “I deserve” or prevents me from achieving my goals.
8. Focus on solutions
Concentrating on problems is depressing. It reduces happiness because it puts you in a negative frame of mind. Looking for solutions, though, is an instant mood-lifter. Problems aren’t problems they are opportunities for growth and learning.
The moment problems arise, brainstorm ideas about what to do. Record them, however outlandish they seem at first, and come back to them later. The second time you scrutinize them, you’ll know whether they could help. Solutions are just around the corner if you work the problem.
Building a solution-based attitude, otherwise known as a growth mindset, will stop your mood from plummeting when you face challenges and help you stay upbeat. It can also lead to problem-solving, of course. This will make you stronger and stronger and better and better at taking on and mastering life. The more you practice this mindset the more of a habit it will become and the more your problems well become smaller as well as they welcomed part of life. Growth happens in the difficult times not the comfortable ones generally. Except that this part of life while difficult makes pleasure all that more rewarding.
9. Enrich your life
Most people thrive when a sense of positive momentum is in place. Knowing they are improving their lives gives them direction and purpose, and it offers plenty of reward-boosting moments as they tick items off their to-do lists.
Enrich your life, and your happiness will grow. For example, you could study subjects to increase your skills or develop physical prowess. You might redesign your home interior or landscape your garden. Learning and growing is critical to our happiness. Don’t ever stop. Life will always be feeding you different tasting foods to try. Whether they are repulsive or whether they are delicious, they are all part of the flavors of your world. Sample different experiences for maximum fulfillment. Become a master of those you enjoy the most. It takes years. Keep practicing.
10. Be authentic
Authenticity involves integrating your values and beliefs with your everyday actions and conversations. People lack authenticity when they think and behave one way, yet do another.
For instance, if you want to help the ecosystem but don’t recycle your rubbish, inner conflict might reduce your peace of mind. Ensure your beliefs match what you do. Avoid going against your better judgment and stick to your values to increase inner harmony. Only you live in your own skin and in your own head. Don’t give away your power by letting others dictate how you should best run your life. Ultimately, you will live and die by your own consequences and your own decisions. As much as others think they may know best, I find that it’s our own internal guidance that can be our best compass. Even if that compass is off, know thyself and know when and which others have a proven track record of helping.
One technique I use is to ask as many of the people I trust about a situation, and then compile my decision after getting their honest feedback no matter how painful. If these are people that are successful in their own lives and their own decisions, I can trust their feedback and then use that to make my best choice for myself.
Your behaviors play a part in how happy you are, and luckily you can control them, change them, and make modifications where needed. Build happiness by adopting joy-boosting habits and fill your life with aloha. Each small step practiced will bring you closer to living the life you want to live.