I recently stumbled across heaven and it’s not where you think it is.
Heaven isn’t a place we reach after death nor is heaven a place we reach here on earth. Simply put, heaven is a happy state of mind. And we’re welcome there each moment of every day. For many of us we think this nirvana is an impossibility, a fairytale place of make believe like never never land or the magical faraway tree, made of childhood myths lulling us to sweet slumber. But once we rub the sleep from our eyes, we start to see that it’s real and it is all around us.
Currently I am the happiest I have ever been in my life. Wow that’s a grand statement but it’s true. I wake up early every morning full of purpose and peace. I teach yoga to the sunrise and the sunset, making a living making people happy. My seaside shala is my office, Ganesha is my boss, and I am blissfully unaware what day of the week it is. I live for fulfillment in my working and my waking hours, not just on the weekend, I surround myself by love and positive people and I live life simply and stress-free.
Here’s my 5 tips to help you be happy every single day.
Wake up peaceful and positive
How we wake up sets the tone for our whole day. Be conscious of your very first thoughts as these set the gear for the daily mind mill. If you let a negative thought take the first spin of the wheel, before you know it, you’ll have a slowly growing slew of negativity being spun off in all directions. These thoughts feed each other, inviting other nastiness to cling on, creating a cumulating cloud of despair. If you wake up feeling angry, anxious or sad, flip this feeling upside down and either see the light in the situation, come up with an action plan, or focus your mind on something happy instead.
Just before you fall asleep at night, fill your mind with positivity and calmness. Switch off your cellphone and switch off the running commentary in your head. This will help you sleep deeper and wake up in a chirpier mood.
In yoga, in order to lift, you first need to ground down into the mat. Just like this, in life, in order to keep our spirits uplifted, we first have to grow our roots deep into the earth. This means having very clear and strong personal values, keeping your own moral compass constantly in check and anchoring yourself to a calm centredness that cannot be altered by the craziness of the world. The method to this magic is yours to choose. Try meditation, yoga, spending ample amounts of time in nature, working up a sweat or writing all your mental ramblings down. Keep your mind clear and allow calmness to settle in.
And always remember that no matter what happens externally, you, and only you, have control over your own internal world.
Release yourself from others
The only time I weathered an emotional wobbly on my now 1 month streak of uninterrupted good vibes, was when I let the judgments of others creep into my centre. The world is an absolutely mad place and we are all completely bonkers. Some of this is good crazy, a lot of it is bad crazy. Don’t let the bad crazy get to you. Some days you’ll have to dance through a storm of sullenness, drama, self-interest and deceit. You’ll duck beneath the narrow-mindedness of some and dive over unreasonable expectations of others.
Not everyone will like the way you dance. Some will want to steal your steps while others will want to knock you off the stage. But keep strong and keep your energy for yourself, don’t give it to others by allowing your mind to focus on their opinions and needs. People will always have their own views and judgements, let them be, what they think of you is none of your business.
Kick off your shoes and jam your own jig. This life is yours, live it how you want to live – happy and free.
Do the things you say you’ll do
Regret and guilt are two of the most unnecessary man-made emotions. Why do we spend so much time beating ourselves up over what we did or didn’t do in the past? Bring your head back to present and use each moment as an opportunity to be who you want to be – right now. All of us have felt the familiar feeling of knowing what we should be doing, but just not being able to get ourselves to do it. We put so much off for a tomorrow that never comes.When we do this, we neither enjoy our free time nor the fruits of our labour, because, well there is no labour.
Don’t do this. Release yourself from your self-created prison of perpetual procrastination. If you get things done right away your mind has no chance to build a mountain out of a molehill and you’ll get a buzz from those productivity endorphins.
If you’ve promised someone or yourself you’ll do something today then just do it, you’ll feel all the more happier for it.
Accept everything exactly as it is
This may seem the toughest tip to practice but it also the most valuable. Even when a situation presents itself as completely covered in kak (that’s South African slang for sh*t), pause and remind yourself that each moment and every happening has a divine purpose. I promise you this. Even the worst of the baddest days, the most soul consuming challenges, turbulent of times or terrible of break ups, all have a reason for happening and all lead on to something beautiful. This beauty may take its time to reveal itself to you but don’t lose hope, it is there. Look for the positive in every situation. Don’t live a life of “what if” but rather of “because of this I have…”
The most spontaneous and spectacular of occurrences come about when we let go of how we think things should be and just accept them exactly as they are.
My final piece of advice is a fast track to happiness:
“If you want to be happy then make others happy.”
Do one thing right now to get the good vibes flowing. Give someone a compliment, send a friend a message or pick a flower for the next person you pass in the street. Whatever your seek in life, if you give it away to others, you invite this energy to flow toward you.
In every moment choose to enter the heaven of happiness.