Tag Archives: positive

5 Reasons Why You’re Unhappy — and How You Can Start Being Happy Today

So maybe you have the awesome house or apartment, a great relationship, and an amazing job.  But despite the fact that everything in your life looks so great on “paper” or upon someone viewing your Facebook or Instagram accounts, for some reason, somehow your just not happy.

What I’ve come to realize that while our societal views on what constitutes a happy and successful person, it’s rare that someone who actually fulfills all of those things are going to be genuinely happy.  Our true happiness is not determined by our external circumstances, but rather our internal focus.

So here are 5 reasons why you may be unhappy — and how you can start being happy today:

#1 – You’re living in the past or future

Out of all the reasons in this list, I think this one is the most impactful of our level of happiness than all of them. 

You’re focused on what you did have in the past or what you could have in the future rather than what you have right now.  Your mind is focused on how things were so great back in “the good ol’ days”.  Or, you’re focused on the idea of how things will be great “someday” in the future.

The reality is that by focusing our attention on the past and the future, all it does is prevent us from really living in and enjoying the present moment, which is the key to really living and being from a place of true joy and happiness.

So when you catch yourself thinking about how things were great in the past or how they could become great in the future, take a deep breath, feel your feet on the floor and look around you.  Notice what you have right now in this moment and how amazing it is to simply be living right here, right now.

#2 – You’re caught up in thoughts of judgement and criticism

Are you caught up in judging yourself about not being “good enough”?  Are you often trying to, somehow, be “perfect”?

Or, on the flip side, do you get up in judging and criticizing other people?  Do you get caught up in criticizing the way a co-worker dresses?  Are you often getting caught up in judging others for their own life choices?

When it comes to judgement and criticism I think it’s important to remember this: When I am judging others, I am judging myself, because we are all intricately connected.

When we are judging and criticizing, its a sign that our ego mind is bringing out our inner critic.  All this does is block us from being able to truly experience love, happiness and joy in the present moment.

JudgingOthersSelf

Click to Tweet: When I am judging others, I am judging myself, because we are all intricately connected. @jenilyn8705

#3 – You’re seeking fulfillment in material things

Do you find yourself thinking things like: When I’m able to get that house then I’ll be happy, when I’m making six figures I’ll be happy, or when I can get that new car I’ll be happy?

One of the biggest fabrications that our ego mind likes to tell us is that being rich, famous and successful we are somehow going to be living the best lives ever.

While getting a new car, house, and make more money may certainly make our lives easier, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we’re going to be happy when we get these things.  True happiness comes through our mindset and how we choose to live and be in the world — not a pair of Manolos and some Gucci.

#4 – You’re focused on what you’re getting rather than what you’re giving

To you tend to get caught up in thinking that if you did X favor for Sally then she better give Y favor for you?  Or, do you tend to get caught up in thinking about how much money you’re getting from your employer rather than how much you’re giving at work?

It’s interesting, but often when we’re focused on a mindset of always thinking about what we’re “getting” then there never seems to be enough — there’s always lack.  However, when we shift our mindset and start to focus more on what we’re giving, then we are able to see what we are actually receiving.  In turn, we can then find ourselves more grateful and content with what it is that we do have right here, right now.

#5 – You’re trying to push your feelings of sadness, worry, and anger away

In the world of self-help and personal growth, there’s a lot of talk out there about a need to be positive so that you can be happy and joyful and live the best life possible.

Well, I’m going to tell you right now: Thinking that we need to be positive all the time is BS. 

Honestly, it’s not even remotely realistic.  We all have our good days and our bad days.  People die.  Pets die.  Relationships end.  Health issues happen.  We lose jobs.  We move.

And as a result, we cry, we scream, and we worry.  Someone does or says something to hurt us and we struggle to forgive.  We have wounds, addictions, and disorders.

And you know what?  It’s all normal and perfectly okay.  In fact, we need it.  Why?  Because we can’t have light without darkness.  We need both to be whole and to feel complete.

We all have wounds because we’ve all been hurt in various ways and those wounds need our love and attention.  We have to give ourselves time to really truly feel and process those emotions.  When we don’t, this is where other problems can emerge, such as an addiction, an eating disorder, or maybe even a case of depression.

So allow yourself to really truly feel — both the good and the bad, because it is all a part of you, and by loving and accepting it, you can start to tap into your own true authentic happiness.

Finding Blessings When Everything Comes Crashing Down

About mid-way through the year last year, I felt like my life was suddenly crashing down.

It started off with being notified that I needed to find a new place to live after I had just moved 3 months prior.  This followed with bad news about a chronic health issue that I had been dealing with.  In addition, when it came around to be “that time of the month” my PMS was at the absolute worst that it had ever been in my entire life.  All I wanted to do was lay around curled up in a ball for an entire week.  This all then concluded with a notice that I had been let go by my part-time job.

Needless to say, I panicked.  I freaked out. I was overwhelmed with anger that all these things had to be happening to me all at once. I had a complete emotional and mental breakdown.

I felt like my body was breaking down.  I felt like my entire being was breaking down.  The only thing I could do — or even have the physical energy to do — was to cry.

… and that’s what I did.  I cried.  I cried a freaking lot.  And I did something else too — I stopped trying.

I stopped looking on craigslist for apartments and jobs.  I stopped debating on what actions to take.  I stopped pushing myself to do all these things in hopes to find a solution to all my problems.

Instead, I just did what I could.  I let go and decided to go with the flow.  I stopped trying and pushing myself and decided to surrender and take care of myself.

StopPushingLetGo

Click to Tweet: When your stressed cause everything is falling apart, stop pushing yourself to “figure it out” and just let go. via @jenilyn8705

It was then that I allowed myself to really relax and enjoy all of the incredible blessings that I had experienced around that same time, such as:

… having an astounding result to a TinyBuddha article of mine that I never would have expected!

… making new friends who are also life coaches or entrepreneurs.

… celebrating my amazing boyfriend’s birthday.

… moving forward in my relationship by both of us exchanging our first “I love yous” 🙂

… finding out that my parents were coming to visit me the next month.

… a childhood friend finally having her baby.

… having the time (and living in an area) where I had the opportunity attend group meetings for extra support.

… and so much more!

Often times when we find ourselves in a period of our lives where everything seems to have been uprooted and we have everything but security, we find ourselves all stressed out and caught up with feelings of anxiety and anger over what happened to us.  We find ourselves so caught up in these emotions that we completely overlook all the wonderful little blessings that are going on around us at the same exact time.  We can find ourselves so incredibly focused on all the “bad” that is happening that we cut ourselves off from seeing the “good”.

So what should we do during these moments of high-stress when it feels like everything in our lives is crashing down?

Breathe.

Often times when we are super stressed out, we completely forget about the most essential thing that keeps us alive and healthy: Breathe.  So stop and take a moment to take some deep breaths.  Take a very deep inhale and allow your exhale to be longer than your inhale.

This technique of breathing where we do a longer exhale than our inhale is a great technique to help calm down the body and help us relax.  I have personally used it on the nights where I’m having trouble sleeping to help me dose off peacefully and it has worked wonders.

Take time for yourself.

When we’re super stressed because all of our plans seem to not be working out, we tend to get so focused on fixing all of our problems and life challenges that we have forgotten the most essential aspect for our growth and progress: Our own personal well-being.

So give yourself a 1 or 2 hour break to simply do “nothing”.  For for a walk.  Take a warm bath.  Read a book simply for the joy of it.  Cry… cry a lot.  Eat and really savor a nutritious meal.  Watch reruns of your favorite TV comedy.  Focus on you and what you truly need for the health and well-being of your own mind, body, and spirit.

Reflect on your blessings.

Moments before you go to bed, get out a journal and make a list of all of the blessings in your life.  Is it a blessing that you have a certain amount of money in your checking account?  Is it a blessing that you have a friend or partner to support you during this difficult time?  Is it a blessing that you have made new friends recently?

Write down a list of all the blessings that come to you.  After you finish writing them down, go through each one and say out loud to yourself, “I am grateful for _______” in order to really acknowledge to yourself and to the universe that you are thankful for all these current blessings in your life.

Take action now!

What are some of the blessings in your life?  Share them in the comments below!

Why We Struggle to Be Happy

I started therapy a little over a month ago.

I started going again for a few reasons:

1.  I was feeling kind of extra stressed over a few aspects in my life and I felt it’d be good to have a “sounding board”

2.  I found myself in a period where I’m wanting to look a little bit deeper at my own stuff.

3.  I’m required to have an X amount of therapy hours for my graduate program — PLUS this therapist that I found happens to be licensed, which means = I can earn hours towards my own MFT licensure.

Up until this past week, most of our sessions had been pretty “introductory” in nature.  You know, the classic story of “this is what my upbringing was like, this is my history, this is where I currently am in my life, etc. etc.” that can feel oh-so too often repeated if you’ve gone to therapy more than once or twice in your life.

Fortunately, this week happened to be the first session where some real therapy could actually start taking place.  And I was excited cause, frankly, I had felt like it was talking way too long to really get things going.

There was one problem though… I had nothing to talk about!  In the previous weeks I always came in stressed about something — something with work, something with school, something with roommates, something about my health, something about my relationship, and so on.  But this week everything was perfectly fine.  It was as if all problems either melted away or, there were problems, but I was generally apathetic or emotionally unaffected by it.

So what did I talk about?  Well, I did what do best at in therapy — I ramble.  I began talking about any random thing that had been going through in the past week.

As I rambled about whatever, my therapist would interject occasionally with a comment like, “So it looks like everything is going really great right now!” that was then followed up with comments like “That is so exciting!” and “That’s wonderful!”

You would think that with the way I was talking about everything I was excited, satisfied, and, well… happy.  But I wasn’t and, instead, whenever she made a comment like that I typically responded with something like, “Well yeah… except for this cough that I have.”

When the session was over and I was driving home I thought to myself, “Isn’t that funny?  She’s telling me how everything I’m saying looks wonderful and great and here I am trying to find things to be stressed about.”  It was something that I was completely unaware of!

And you know what?  We all do this!  Whenever life is actually “going right” we can find ourselves caught up in still trying to find and focus on the things that are “wrong”.

The reasons for this I see as kind of two-fold.

In one way, the reason that we find ourselves focusing on all the things that are “wrong” is because we are stuck in our habit of focusing on what is wrong.  If we are constantly focused on what isn’t good and what needs to change, then we train our brains to focus on the bad rather than to notice and enjoy what is good.

In another regard, we can also be struggling to truly accept what is good.  Our ego has us so caught-up in all of the problems and struggles that life presents to us that it is hard for us to truly see and enjoy the good.  It’s hard for us to really be positive because it’s almost like our ego has us “addicted” to the negative.

Regardless of the exact reasoning, it’s possible to get ourselves out of this focus on the negative and to really start being positive with just some conscious effort.  Here are some tips:

#1 Reflect every day by asking yourself the questions of…

How is everything in my life right now?  What is good?  What is “not-so-great”?  Am I really enjoying and being happy for the things that are good?

#2 Strive to find the good even in the “bad”.

Are you frustrated about your finances cause you’re barely making ends meet?  Then rather than get even more frustrated when a bill comes in, be joyful for it!  Are you frustrated that it’s snowing heavily outside so it takes even longer to drive home?  Be happy that you are in a place that has all 4 seasons!

#3 Be more positive!

Give the lady with a cute necklace standing in line behind you a compliment.  Smile at the people at the Post Office and ask them how there day is (despite the line being a bit too long).  Take the time to look at the sunrise or sunset and find the beauty in it.  Find the joy in the little things — and allow your inner joy to shine.

InnerJoy

Click to Tweet: Find the joy in the little things — and allow your inner joy to shine! via @jenilyn8705

Take action now!

In the comments below, list at least 3 positive things that are happening in your life right now!

How to Be Happy When Other People are Draining You

I’ve always been a pretty sensitive person.

I’m one of those people where if someone I’m living with comes home upset or stressed I’ll know it the second they walk in the door — even if I never even saw them.  If the people I’m coming to visit are upset or depressed, I will know the second I walk in the door.  If someone around me expressing their stress verbally (even if it’s not at all directed at me), my body feels all shaken and it’s very challenging for me to focus on any task.

To top that off, with some people I can find myself so incredibly in-touch with their being, that I’ve found myself describing and explaining their emotions and experience as if it is my own.  As a result, I’ve really puzzled some friends through the years doing this cause they just couldn’t understand how on earth I could know so much about this other person’s experience without the person even openly sharing it with me.

Needless to say, being so sensitive isn’t a very easy thing to deal with.  In order to cope, it’s been a process of really learning how to set boundaries and put forth the effort to really focus on my own thoughts, feelings, and overall experience.

That was the ultimate problem after all — I was so in touch with other people’s stuff that I had absolutely no idea what my stuff was.  I was constantly blending in and getting really in-tune with others in order to best accommodate and make things better for them.

In that regard, it really is both a blessing and a curse.  It’s a blessing to know what people need in order to help support them and grow.  However, it’s a curse in that, in doing so, it’s a challenge to ever really know what one needs and truly take care of yourself.

And so, in the last few years my primary focus has been to focus on establishing boundaries in relationships and focusing primarily on my own experience.

This has worked fairly well, but the problem has been that I have still found myself overwhelmed and uber sensitive.  In fact, in some ways, probably even more sensitive than before.  It was then that I realized:

We can’t find inner peace and be in-tune with ourselves when we are pushing ourselves to ignore everybody else’s energies.

We have to remember to acknowledge and recognize what we have picked up, then take action to help ourselves.

Whether we realize it or not, we are always being affected by the energies of those around us.  You know that cranky customer you dealt with at work the other day?  His crankiness affected you.  You know that lady who started arguing with you in the comments section on an article on the Huffington Post?  She affected your energy.  You know that family member that “dumped” all their problems on you the other day?  They affected your energy.

All of these energies I mentioned above are lower-level energies.  When we allow ourselves to really become attached to that lower-level energy, it can really drag us down.  It can make us stressed, grumpy, cranky and a little less pleasant when you’re standing in line at Starbucks.

On the flip side, there are higher-level energies as well.  Like that customer who gave you an extra big tip or that person on the street who gave you a big smile and genuinely said “I have a great day”.  If we let these energies in, it can lift us up and really brighten our day.  It can make us less stressed, irritated, and worried.

It’s important to check in with yourself every day in every moment and interaction in order to notice if the energy is lifting you up or dragging you down.  If it’s lifting you up, then fan-freaking-tastic!  However, if you notice that it’s dragging you down then it’s time to take some action to protect yourself.

The following are a few things that you can do to help protect yourself from other people’s low-energies:

Make the effort to be around more positive people.

Are you constantly around people that complain about life all the time?  Are you constantly around people who are aggravated, worried, or stressed out about something?  If so, then you may want to create a little bit of distance in order to take care of yourself and give yourself some time to replenish yourself with higher energy.  You may also want to reach out to new people or groups that are generally more uplifting and inspirational.  People that energize you and bring fun and joy into your life.

That being said, another thing to consider is the TV, movies, and music that you are watching.  Does anything that you watch or listen to feel a bit harsh?  Does it feel like it drains you rather than energizes you?  If it does, then you may want to stop watching to these shows or listening to that music.  I know for me, certain hip-hop and rap is definitely on my big “no-no” list, along with horror films (at this point) and even a number of action films.

Also ask yourself how online or smartphone games or activities affect you.  Personally, I even find myself being drained when playing games on my phone at times.  I definitely can’t do any Candy Crush or Words with Friends for any long period of time without it draining me.

Take time every day to connect to your inner power.

A wonderful meditation that you can do is to breath while visualizing white light coming down through the top of your head with each inhale and then exhaling out through your heart.  As you breath, the white light begins to create a bubble of protection around you that expands more and more.

Doing a meditation like this can help us get re-centered and heighten our own energy.  If you feel like you need to really protect yourself from other people’s “stuff”, then you may also want to visualize mirrors being added to the bubble around you.  This way, anything that someone expresses to you get shined right back at them.

Make the conscious effort to focus on the positive.

You can do this through positive affirmations (like saying statements like “I am powerful”, “I have all that I need with me right now” or “I am love”) or by simply just focusing on creating positive thoughts throughout our day.  So whenever a thought of “I don’t have enough money” comes up, exchange it with a thought of gratitude like “I have enough money to have a water supply, clothes and food”.  Looking for all the positive things and focusing on that can help raise our energy so then we are less affected by other people’s lower-energy “stuff”.

Express positivity!

This may be a bit challenging to do at first if you’re stressed out or down in the dumps, but simply just go about your day with the intention to make everyone’s day a bit brighter.  Compliment that lady with the neat necklace at the grocery store.  Smile brightly at the store clerk, ask them how they are doing, and wish them a pleasant day.  Be open to chatting with people in the elevator.  Find and be open to ways to help make everyone else’s day a bit brighter.  It’s really just the little things, but the more you do it, the more you raise your own energy as well as those you cross paths with.

These are just a few tips right now, but the list can just go on and on.  Ultimately remember this: The power of your experience lies with you.  The more you focus on raising your own energy, then the better it will be.  The less you will be affected by other people’s “not so great” stuff and the more you will create and attract more positive things into your life.

PowerOfExperience

Take action to raise your energy right now!

List, at the very least, 10 things that you are grateful for in your life right now.  Truthfully, we should all be able to list thousands but I’ll make it a bit easy for you today. 😉