Recipe for Happiness

1 Quart of Healthy Choices
2 Cups of Helping Others
1 Cup of Community
½ Cup of Passions
3 Tablespoons of Contemplative Space
2 teaspoons of Learning<
1 pinch of Creativity

I just returned from the Telluride Mountain Film Festival which is the most inspiring and thought provoking weekend of my year. One of my favorite films was called Happy– it reinforced some of my core values as a person and a Life Coach. As a Coach, I help people to really “Shine”, be the best they can be, get unstuck, take a closer look at who they are and mix things up in order to ultimately be happy.

Presently, I am challenged by my recent shoulder surgery and slow recovery.  It has prompted me to look at what makes me happy in the face of not being able to participate in activities I am use to. Do I take being happy for granted? Am I happy now? What are the ingredients to living a happy life?

There are many recipes to happiness – this is the one I want to mix up this week:

1) Healthy Choices we are what we eat (and think)!  It matters what we put in our bodies…fruit, vegetables, protein ….good fats, organic, non-processed food.  Fueled by good choices our bodies function well and feel better. In concert with good eating habits is daily exercise – it tones our bodies and brings more oxygen to the brain. When we feel “good in our skin”, we sleep better and yes, we ARE happier. Another way we feed our body is with thoughts – make sure you feed yourself positive words, they will directly affect the outcome of your actions.

Tip: start with making good choices at the store. Read a book on healthy eating, don’t starve yourself, eat well-balanced yummy meals. Do exercise which is fun, get a friend to join you for a walk or a bike ride. Make a climbing date. Make the time to exercise outside! Catch the negative thoughts and replace them with positive, more powerful, life affirming words.

2) Helping Others – the best way to get out of your head or engage in self-doubt is to give back and serve others. It is the most fulfilling, satisfying activity you will ever take part in. Years ago, I co-founded a non-profit organization called The dZi Foundation helping the people I fell in love with in the Himalayas. This looks pretty good on paper, but I soon realized that helping people is small ways, everyday, is just as…if not more…important. I have often posed this question: What if everyone on earth woke up and asked “how can I help someone today?” I truly think the world would be a different place. These small acts of kindness have a ripple effect that will ultimately create profound change on a large scale. Try it and see what happens!

Tip: find a way to help someone each and every day. Perform random acts of kindness that are entirely anonymous. Donate to your favorite organization. Write a letter about an issue that moves you. Point out peoples gifts & talents to them.

3) Community – family, friends, special interest groups, church etc. We are not meant to be alone, we are social beings who feel a deep desire to belong, share ideas and values with like-minded people.  We want to belong and feel validated for our values and beliefs.

Tip: call your family members once a week, let your friends know you love them, have a pot luck, join a book group, find a place you can have the conversations that matter most to youWe have a need to be seen and heard by others…give this freely and it will be given to you!

4) Passions – What blows your skirt up? You may have heard the phrase “follow your bliss”. What are the things that excite you and make you feel most alive? This is very different for each of us. Allow your passions to change and evolve over time as you change. Remember…your passions are ‘not who you are’ – they come from a more authentic you…not your ego.  When you are passionate; you are vibrant, enthusiastic and very happy.

Tip: mix it up and try new things!  Be adventurous. Make sure you do the things you love each and every day. Notice how easy it is to put these things off for the “to do” list. Go dancing, draw a picture, write a song, sing Karaoke or climb a mountain.  See the world through the eyes of a child.

5) Contemplative Space – It is important to put aside time to tap into your spiritual, sacred and divine nature. This will be an activity that gives you the space to go inside yourself, be fully present in the moment and give you the sense of something bigger than yourself. Nature is a place where I easily feel awe and wonder for this amazing life. It is harder to take life for granted when you feel this deeper connection.

Tip: meditation, yoga, walking in nature, church, spiritual group, prayer or setting daily intentions. Practice paying attention to gratitude, abundance and appreciation. Get up a half hour early to be still.

6) Learning – keep the brain firing. Studies show it staves off disease and increases happiness. It will inspire you to remain conscious and aware of the wonders of the world. Challenge yourself to be a life long learner…never be complacent as the wonders of this world are endless.

Tip: take a class, learn a language, take music lessons, find a dance partner, join a book club, read about topics you know nothing about. Take interest in current events, make a difference on this planet, take an on line class, travel.

7) Creativity – is something that is “inspired”, it comes from the Supreme force and divine nature of the planet and of ourselves. It is present in our hearts, not our heads. You can not think it up, it will come to you when you allow yourself the space to be open.  Don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself and have fun in the process.

Tip: whether you believe it or not, everyone is creative. Try things that are not familiar to you such as writing, drawing, painting, sculpting, gardening, decorating, cooking, poetry or dancing. The possibilities are endless.

Feel free to mix the ingredients and add new flavors as you go. If you find the combination that is right for you….you WILL be fulfilled and happy. If this seems challenging, I’d love to point you in the right direction!

For a free Life Coaching sample session, please give me a call! 970-623-2442. Get in on our three-month summer special. Call to inquire.

Kim Reynolds
Certified Coactive Coach