Do you ever think "I'll be happy when..."?
By Juliana Kassianos, Transformational Fertility Coach, Yoga Teacher and Founder of The School of Fertility
If you’re struggling to conceive, you may start thinking to yourself: “I’ll be happy when I get pregnant”. Underlying your ability to be happy lies the condition that you have to become pregnant. There’s a transactional element involved, as you tell yourself that you won’t be happy with life, unless life gives you a positive pregnancy result. This is something that is out of your control though, so it means you’re leaving your happiness in the hands of Mother Nature. You’re relying on external circumstances to make you happy.
Say you get a positive pregnancy result, you’re beaming with happiness, then what? Once again, you’re likely to make an unspoken contract with yourself by saying: “I’ll be happy when I have a healthy 12-week scan”. Your happiness is short-lived and again becomes dependent on future circumstances that are out of your control. You have the scan and you see a healthy baby developing. Now what? You say to yourself: “I’ll be happy when the baby arrives”.
We forever shift the goal post, looking for external circumstances, materialistic things or people to make us happy. Playing this never-ending game with ourselves does not give us everlasting happiness and peace of mind. Instead, it means we’re in a constant state of flux where we never feel truly happy and content with our lives. Why?
Because happiness is a state of mind and so the source of our happiness cannot be found externally in our circumstances, materialistic things or people. It has to be found internally, from within us. It is the state of our mind that determines whether we’re happy or not. It is something we can consciously choose to be. So, how do we cultivate a happy state of mind? We have to work on ourselves internally. Here are just seven simple practices that can help you create a lifelong happy state of mind.
1. FIND YOUR IKIGAI
Ikigai is a Japanese word for the reason you get out of bed each morning. It’s been found to be a crucial ingredient for living a long, happy and meaningful life. If you’ve been trying for a baby for a while now, you might start to feel like your life is on hold. With your mind-set fixated on getting pregnant, it can bring you to question the purpose of your life, especially if you think there’s even the smallest chance a baby may not be part of it. This is why it can be helpful to know what your Ikigai is, so that even if you’re in a dark place, you can still see the light. According to Hector Garcia, the co-author of ‘Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life’, “Your Ikigai is at the intersection of what you are good at and what you love doing.” To help you find yours, ask yourself the following questions and write your answers down in a journal.
What are you good at?
What do you love doing?
Why do you do the things you do?
What’s important to you?
What are your goals?
What is your mission?
What are you passionate about?
What is your profession?
What are your hobbies?
Why do you enjoy them?
What excites you?
Who inspires you and why?
What do you feel the world needs?
What do you feel you can be paid to do?
If you could do anything what would you do?
What tasks do you do, where you lose all sense of time?
You may not know what your Ikigai is yet, just be patient in your search and keep in mind that it will shift as you grow in life. Once you have yours firmly in your mind, type it as the title of your alarm on your phone in the morning, as this will help to keep you connected to it and give you a reason for jumping out of bed in the morning.
2. HAVE AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE
Gratitude is an appreciation of what is valuable and meaningful to you. Research supports an association between feelings of gratitude and our overall sense of wellbeing. It can also help you regain a sense of perspective, especially when all your focus is on what you want and don’t currently have. There are many ways to cultivate gratitude, but how about starting by counting your blessings by writing down or thinking about at least one thing you’re grateful for every evening before bed.
3. CULTIVATE A POSITIVE MINDSET
Our thoughts have a direct connection to our wellbeing. Research has shown the act of repeating affirmations silently or out loud, can change our brain on a cellular level. Over time, you’ll start to build the belief in your mind and with consistency, you’ll start to create the change you desire from within. Affirmations are simple statements that define you as you want to be, such as “I am fertile and happy”. They are made personal by using the word “I”, said in the present tense by using the word “am”, include a positive description and are precise.
4. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
It’s said in Buddhism that you should treat your body as if you’ve borrowed it from someone. Self-care is about nurturing the relationship you have with yourself, making sure that you actively take care of yourself and give yourself permission to do so. Love yourself enough to do the things that make you feel good. Make a list of the things you love doing and incorporate them as part of your daily routine. Do things that truly express your authentic self. Become mindfully aware of how you talk to yourself. Are the words you use kind and loving, as if you were talking to someone you care deeply for? If they’re not, then make a conscious effort to change your internal dialogue.
5. PRACTICE MINDFULNESS
By practicing mindfulness through formal practice (meditation) and informal practice (mindful awareness), we bring our attention to the present moment, so we can experience it to the fullest, rather than worrying about the past or fearing the future. With practice we become aware of our thoughts, we don’t judge them, criticise them, get caught up in them or let them define us. Instead we accept them for what they are and let them pass. We understand that we are not our thoughts. By becoming more aware, we realise we can change our mind, change our speech, change our body language, change our facial expressions, and ultimately change our life.
6. SHOW KINDNESS TO OTHERS
Every day practice random acts of kindness towards strangers, friends and family. Notice how good it makes you feel to give a thoughtful gift to someone close to you, to pay a compliment to a friend, to leave a note to your partner thanking him for his love and support. Small actions that don’t cost a thing but make a huge difference to how you see yourself and how you feel about yourself.
7. NEVER LOSE HOPE
Have a strong, clear and positive vision for what you want firmly pictured in your mind. With every challenge you experience along the way, embrace it and see it as an opportunity to grow. Stay anchored to hope, as this will give you the energy and willpower you need to keep on working towards achieving your dreams.
Happiness isn’t about getting to the peak of the mountain; it’s about the climb towards it. Therefore, don’t wait until something happens in your life to find it, take control and find happiness inside yourself now. You have everything you need already within you. As William Arthur Ward said: “Happiness is an inside job”.