10.08.2016 Yoga

Five Habits of Happiness

Jen Kaz shares inspirational tips to help you embrace life again

We’ve all got that friend who always seems genuinely happy. You know, that person who when life challenges them remains positive knowing ‘something good will come of this’. I used to think it was just luck that some people have good things happen to them all the time. That was until I discovered the five habits of happiness.

Happiness is our birthright, but sometimes we forget this.

To help you get back to a state of joy here are five habits you can easily integrate.

  • Daily meditation – Meditation increases our tolerance to stress; it makes us less reactive to situations. When we meditate we can calm the body, quieten the mind and this enables us to make realistic, logical and unemotional decisions.

Stress and anxiety often lead to insomnia, headaches, depression and unexplained body pain, as well as altering our immune function.

However, with regular meditation we slow our thought processes and can become mindful and aware of our everyday actions and reactions.

  • Daily visualisation – This keeps us focused on our goals. When we imagine something for ourselves that is different to our reality our brain works to find whatever is needed to bridge that gap. Creative Visualisation can help you gain clarity on whatever you would like be or do. Maybe an improvement in your health, or alter your financial or work situation, develop your self image or improve your decision making. It is most optimal to practise creative visualisation as soon as you finish your meditation. When you are in that lovely, soft and relaxed feeling, visualise what it is you truly desire.
  • Daily exercise – This releases endorphins to help relieve pain and induce feelings of pleasure or euphoria. Exercising daily lowers the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke and lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Exercise not only keeps illness away but boosts your mood, improves your sex life, tones your body and improves memory. And, best of all, it releases dopamine, that “feel good” hormone. Exercising first thing in the day gets the blood circulating clearing away toxins and leaving us feeling energised, fresh and bright for the new day.

  • Breath – Become aware of your breath! The next time you feel angry, stressed or anxious, take note of your breathing. Slow deep breaths can drastically improve your health.

I believe deep breathing is fundamental to managing life’s stresses. Whether you experience stress, negative emotions or physical pain, long slow breathing calms our body. Our body’s natural reaction to stressful situations is to start pumping adrenaline and cortisol, which ages the body and causes belly fat.

When you take long, deep and slow breaths

  • your body reacts positively
  • muscles relax releasing tightness
  • fresh oxygen pours into every cell in your body
  • your blood pressure lowers
  • endorphins are released
  • detoxification improves

If you can’t find the time to sit quietly for 10 minutes and breathe mindfully at least make an effort to breathe during the day. When you first wake and get out of bed take a couple of deep breaths, preferably in front of an open window, and stretch your arms out to the side and then reach up to the ceiling as you breathe in. Slowly lower arms as you breathe out.

  • Consistency – The key to making any positive lasting change is consistency. There are greater benefits in meditating for five minutes every day than one hour weekly. The biggest difference between people who succeed and those who fail is that people who are successful consistently show up - even when things are tough or they really don’t feel like it.

The people most successful in the world aren’t necessarily the smartest or most talented. They are successful because they are consistent.

As Marie Forleo says: “Success doesn’t come from what you do occasionally, it comes from what you do consistently.”

Be realistic. Make an action plan in specific areas of your life that you feel require more consistency. Is it exercise? Maybe your boundaries? Food intake?

Being consistent means you say what you mean and don’t do or say something else. Follow through with promises and if you don’t understand something, ask for an explanation.

You need willpower to follow through with consistency. You’ve made a commitment to exercise and attend the gym. Ensure you get up in time, or remember to take your gym clothes to work to change into. Disregard the cold weather and still go to your yoga class! Your body will thank you too!

Each time that little voice says, “I can’t do this” or “I can’t be bothered”, be mindful and turn the little voice off with, ‘Yes I can, and yes I will!’

“Don’t prioritise your schedule, schedule your priorities”– Steven Covey

Jen Kaz

Jen Kaz trained and taught yoga in London in 2008. In early 2010 she returned to Perth and began teaching QiYoga. www.qiyoga.org