Guest Blog: Happiness is a choice I make
I learn something every single time I step onto my yoga mat. Sometimes it’s an incredible new lesson. Sometimes it’s simply a gentle reminder. But it never fails and I always step off the mat more inspired and connected than when I started.
Lessons from the mat: Happiness is a choice I make
As we prepare to enter the final days of 2015, I wanted to share the most important lesson that I’ve learned through my yoga practice.
Three years ago this month, during one sleepless night (of many), I found myself scrolling through blog posts under the covers so I wouldn’t wake up my boyfriend. I was paralyzed by fear and the need to be perfect. I felt sick all of the time. I spent almost every night curled up in a ball on the couch, exhausted, and in so much pain. And I truly believed that this was going to be my forever reality. I ended up on the Kristin’s blog and she mentioned a new book that she was reading, May Cause Miracles, by life coach and inspirational speaker Gabrielle Bernstein. I had never read a self-help book, had no idea who Gabby was, and certainly didn’t believe in miracles but…there was something about the book. Gabby was on the cover and she looked so happy. She looked how I longed to look. So, thanks to Amazon 1-click ordering, I ordered the book before my mind could talk me out of it.
Everything started to change the moment I placed that order. I had found something – I had found hope. I allowed myself to believe that there could be another way – a better way. I was sick and tired and being sick and tired. I had no clue how to find health or happiness (and didn’t even fully believe that it was possible) but I had a glimmer of hope. And that’s all it took. That slight willingness and surrender opened the door to a life I never even imagined possible.
I learned the most important lesson of my life on the pages of that book: happiness is a choice. Fear is a choice. Love is a choice. I had always believed that some people were happy people and some people were not. And I was definitely in the not category. It was hard coded in our DNA and fight as you might, it couldn’t be changed. So why even try?
I learned that happiness isn’t something that happens to us. It’s not a predetermined trait. It is our birthright and so much easier than we make it out to be. And we can access it in each and every moment simply by choosing it. Here are 3 tools from May Cause Miracles to radically increase your happiness:
Be the Witness
This is the first step and is crucial! You need to be the non-judgmental witness of your life. A neutral observer. This step is all about looking your fears in the face. It’s about observing your thoughts, actions, beliefs, and patterns. You can use the affirmation from A Course in Miracles:
I am responsible for what I see.
In order to choose happiness, you have to accept that fear is also a choice. Being the non-judgmental witness will help you identify your triggers and the road you take to fear. Witnessing helps you identify what it looks and feels like when you are detouring into fear, stress, chaos, and worry so that you can begin to reroute yourself.
Spend a few minutes each night reflecting on the day and identifying the times when you were dwelling in fear or stress. What did it feel like? What was happening around you? What were you thinking? You don’t need to think about how to change it and you definitely don’t want to judge it. You’re simply witnessing it like it’s a movie that you’re watching.
Once you’ve started to identify your fearful thought-patterns, it’s time to start doing something about them! Now is the time to become willing to change. And the best part about willingness is that you don’t have to even really believe it. When I opened May Cause Miracles I remember thinking that I didn’t even really believe that the book would help but I was willing to give it a chance. Willingness is a form of surrender. It’s a declaration that you are open to change. And it’s all it takes to open the door to deeper sense of happiness and more calm.
When you witness yourself defaulting to your fearful attack thoughts use this affirmation:
I am willing to see this differently.
Fighting with your partner? I am willing to see this differently.
Standing in the mirror hating your body? I am willing to see this differently.
Judging someone else? I am willing to see this differently.
Comparing yourself? I am willing to see this differently.
Let “I am willing” become your mantra. Even if you follow it up with “But I don’t know if it’s even possible.” You don’t need to know how, why, or even if. You just need to invite in a loving perspective through the slightest willingness.
True happiness is found in the moment to moment ability to choose it. It not stuck in the past or already determined for the future. It is here and now. This moment. You have the ability to choose a different path each and every moment. And it doesn’t matter how far you detoured away from a loving perception because you can choose again and in an instant realign yourself with love, peace, and happiness.
I choose peace instead of this.
This is my go-to affirmation for flooding the present moment with peace. It instantly snaps me out of it and grounds me. It stops the bus to crazytown in its tracks. It is empowering to know that I can control how I experience my life. While I can’t control what’s happening around me, I get to decide how I’m going to react to it. And each experience, each day, each moment gives me the opportunity of a fresh start and the ability to choose differently.
Sometimes I still choose the chaos, the attack, the judgement, and the fear. But instead of letting it spiral, I simply witness it without judgement and acknowledge that I am willing to choose differently next time. And move on.
I truly hope these simple shifts serve you and open you up to a deeper sense of happiness! I believe in the May Cause Miracles experience so much that I have been trained and certified by Gabrielle Bernstein to offer MCM coaching. If you are ready to bust through your blocks, choose love over fear, find a deeper sense of inner peace and happiness, and have a miraculous 2016, I’d love to offer members of Kristin’s community $150 off my 6-week coaching package. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and mention the code ‘Kristin’ for more information.
Stephanie is a holistic health coach at Spirited Well-being. She merges spiritual principles with practical wellness strategies to empower women to lose emotional weight and gain healthy habits. Stephanie has completed the Spirit Junkie Master Class Level One and Two training with Gabrielle Bernstein and graduated from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.