We all want to be happy, and rich would be quite nice too.
The media pummels us with messages that these are the only goals worth shooting for. The latest “rich and happy” celebrities are paraded in front of us to prove this elusive point.
So we want, hope, yearn and strive for “rich and happy” and wonder why we can’t ever get there. We wallow in “just getting by and unhappy” and never seem to be able to get ahead.
Instead of hoping or putting specific, concrete goals out there for yourself (which you can’t ever seem to attain), maybe there’s another – easier – way.
Perhaps the practice of mindfulness can open your eyes to an achievable rich and happy for you.
What exactly is mindfulness? It’s the practice of slowing down enough to notice all the little things inside and around you without judgment.
How can mindfulness help you to be rich and happy? Slow down and ask yourself these questions:
1. What does “rich and happy” mean for me?
The media shows us that “rich and happy” should mean making millions of dollars a year living a fabulously flamboyant life. Is that what you really want for yourself? Can you see yourself living like this every day?
How rich is rich? Does rich have to mean lots of money? How much is enough? Will you know when you get there?
Can you be rich in other areas of your life? Once you have “enough” money, will you feel rich if you don’t have fulfilling relationships?
One of the biggest life lessons I’ve learned is that nothing outside of me is going to make me happy. Yes, that includes lots of money.
If you think, “I’ll be happy when…” then happiness will elude you the rest of your life. When that “when” happens, you’ll see that it’s not all that it’s cracked up to be and you’ll just change the end of the sentence.
I know miserable millionaires as well as people who live only on Social Security who couldn’t be happier.
Being happy is a decision, regardless of your circumstances. It’s an attitude toward life.
Once you decide to be happy, no matter what, you begin to see the world differently.
Happiness isn’t something you wish for. It’s always there for you.
2. What are my top three values?
What are the three most important things to you, things that define who you are and what you’re about?
If you can’t answer this question, you’re a ship without a sail getting pushed around by the waves and wondering why the latest tips, tricks and trends aren’t making you happy.
You’ve got to get crystal clear about what’s important to you and what’s worth fighting for before you’ll ever feel a sense of satisfaction with life.
Then base all your decisions on your core values. Learn to say no to things that aren’t in alignment with your values, regardless of how others will perceive you.
3. How am I spending my time?
Whether you realize it or not, how you spend your time shows what and who you think is important.
You may think that striving for “rich and happy” is important to you but if you’re hanging out with unsupportive people, droning away at a job you hate and killing time in front of the TV or computer, “rich and happy” are obviously at the bottom of your list.
Do you spend much of your time trying to make other people happy? This can happen at home, at work, with friends, on social media or anywhere you interact with other people.
Do you think that making other people happy will make you happy? Are you basing your own happiness on the actions and reactions of others (which are completely out of your control)? What does this say about your self-esteem and self-confidence?
How much of your time do you spend pursuing your dreams and passions? Are you clear about what those are?
If you’re not spending time on things you say are important with the excuse that you “can’t find the time,” then those things are less important than what you are spending your time on.
It’s impossible to “find” time. Extra time is never lurking just around the corner, waiting for you to magically discover it.
You have to be very intentional about how you spend your time if you want to create a rich and happy life for yourself.
You have to “make” time for what is important to you (you’re actually already doing that every day).
4. What do I think about all day?
Set a timer every hour. When it goes off, simply notice what you’re thinking about. Don’t judge it as good or bad. Simply notice what’s rolling around in your head.
If you’re thinking that you never have enough, then you’ll never have enough, no matter how much you have. What you think is based on your core beliefs.
Again, I know millionaires who never think they have enough and are miserable. They always find someone else they feel they need to impress who has more than they do. They never feel satisfied.
Are you stressed about never getting enough done?
Stress = Fear
If you feel stressed, what are you afraid of?
When I let my monkey mind take over and I get stressed out, with mindfulness I notice that I’m stressed and take a few deep breaths. Then I ask myself what I’m afraid of. It might sound something like this:
What are you afraid of?
If I don’t finish this project on time, my boss will be mad at me.
What happens if your boss gets mad at you?
She’ll think I can’t get the job done and will think I’m not good at my job.
What if she thinks you’re not good at your job?
She could fire me.
How likely is it that she’ll fire you because you missed the deadline on this project and it’s not absolutely perfect?
Stressful disaster averted. Stress level lowered. Door to happiness about what I’m doing opened again.
Creating Rich and Happy for You
These four questions can open your eyes to the riches and happiness that are already a part of your life.
With mindfulness, they can shift your thinking from what you lack to the richness you have.
There’s no end point, no perfection to attain. Asking yourself these questions is a practice, something you do every day.
Some days your monkey mind will get the upper hand and shift your thinking to all that you don’t have and all that you haven’t done. That’s OK. As soon as you notice this, say, “Hey. He’s at it again. Look at him go – so desperate to make me feel bad. But it’s not working. I’m going to be happy right now, regardless of all his screeching.” And smile a big smile because you know who’s really in control.
The rich and happy you.
How will these questions change your thinking? How will those new thoughts spur changes in your day? And your life?
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Learn how I manage three little kids, a husband, job, writing and taking care of myself - all with mindfulness. Check out my latest guest appearance: a podcast interview at Manifested Happiness: How To Be Mindful When You're Too Busy
The Mindful Body program includes many ideas that you can use every day to avoid gaining extra weight while keeping your energy and spirits high. It’s also a great gift to share with the special people in your life.