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  • Writer's picturePuneet Agrawal

Cultivating Happiness: Core Beliefs & Strategies

So, we are all people; typically fallible, innocently gullible and foolishly hopeful in the pursuit of happiness. We all live to be happy, and seek it like an unrequited love interest, but eventually have a 'grapes are sour' moment and often enough give up completely before slowly falling into despair. Then eventually, we rise again. We realize we didn't know better and begin making efforts to change that. We stop falling into the trap of incessantly chasing something that in actuality is not catchable. We can't chase a breeze, or a sunrise, or our own breath. One is going to come and vanish; and another is going to take its place. We must stand still for a moment and feel that breeze, observe that sunrise, and take that breath.

We must live.


Now, I am going to use a metaphor here. It's not fancy, but I think it is brilliant. But let me know in the comments if you can think of a better one.

THE METAPHOR

In today's world, where we are more aware, more educated and typically care more about the world and about ourselves; most of us have gotten into the habit of carrying our own water bottle wherever we go. Most of us won't have a really fancy bottle, but a pretty decent one. We try our best to make it aesthetically appealing and usefully durable. We make sure it is full in the morning when we leave our house and start our day. We make sure that we refill it every chance we get, from any decent enough source. When it is empty and we need a drink, we are discomforted, but do not fall into despair. We simply, calmly, seek out a source that can either refill our bottle or at least lend theirs for a few gulps. We appreciate others for sharing theirs, and we happily share ours too. AND, whatever we do, we never try to carry more than our bottle can hold; because, one, it can't hold more; two, we know it is enough to sustain us. I can go on, but I think you get the picture.

Now, we do all of this for one very particular reason. We think— no, we know— that it is essential and beneficial for our health and wellbeing. I hypothesize that if we apply the same beliefs, principles and strategies to our happiness as we apply to our faithful water-holding companion, we'd be all set to have a good life.

Alright. This is where I will get fairly technical and a little less metaphorical. But, before I share certain strategies and methods with you, allow me to mention a few core beliefs we must have in order to truly make use of those strategies and— above all— the above exceptionally well-thought-out metaphor.


DISCLAIMER: Some of the ideas presented here have a scientific and statistical basis and some don't. You will find research on most of them if you tried. However, I will refrain from using the words 'Research shows'. That is not my way of doing things. The ideas below (and above) are a product of experience and thought. Of a lot of internalized knowledge bouncing around inside my head. This is where I organize those ideas and try to make some coherent sense out of them. That is my way of doing things.


CORE BELIEFS TO MAINTAIN WHILE CULTIVATING HAPPINESS


1. Happiness is SUBJECTIVE:


This one seems obvious. Yet, not so much. We must understand that all of us have different thoughts throughout the day. Those thoughts shape the perceptions we have of all the things, places and people we experience. And those perceptions determine how we are going to feel. These thoughts and the resulting perceptions defer so much that we cannot experience and feel the same thing in the exact same way. Granted, sometimes there are similarities, but those are arguably rare experiences. You might feel the same way I feel about 9/11 or any other act of terrorism. But would you feel what I feel about the environment? How about the internet? Money? How about a simple glass of iced-tea? I love lemon-mint iced-tea. Even if you like it as much as me, do you like it for the same reason? I bet not. I like it because it reminds me of a very particular time in my life, which had nothing to do with lemons, or ice, or tea.


The point is, we all are different. We all are living different lives. When I consider if I am happy, I might be thinking of A+B+C. But when you think of happiness, you might be thinking of X+Y+Z. There's rarely any comparison. But, we end up comparing our lives to others so much, that we sometimes start doubting our own happiness because someone else isn't happy in the same (perceived) situation. Sometimes we perceive someone to be happy and try to imitate that, thinking we might feel happy as well. And sometimes it might work and make us happy enough, but it's rarely sustainable in the long run. We must not forget to stop, think and determine what is it that makes us happy. Knowing is half the battle.


Applying the Metaphor: We might carry plain water or maybe add an orange slice to it for taste. We might experiment and on some days carry entirely something else, such as lemonade or a smoothie. Some days we might borrow someone else's idea and try it on for size. Whatever we do, eventually we will know what we like and what we don't like and what we like sometimes and what we prefer most of the time. But most days we'll end up carrying plain water. And we will know that that is good enough and does not take anything away from us.

2. Happiness is INTERNAL:


Though, this one is similar to the above point, I feel it deserves its own core belief. We often think that acquiring certain items or successes will make us happy. It doesn't necessarily have to be something materialistic. I will deliberately refrain from giving examples here, and let you think of your own. But, when we constantly focus on our outward; when we constantly attempt to chase a perceived idea of happiness; we only succeed for a short while, if at all. We must draw our attention inward. To take it step by step (or drop by drop). We must learn to be content to 'be' and not constantly seek contentment outside. We must ask 'Why, doing something will make us happy?' and not 'What will make us happy?' We must not concretely define our perceived happiness. We must leave room for abstraction and personal touch. Have you ever had two vastly similar experiences, but you remember one much more fondly than the other? Why is that? Think about it. This will eventually make sense to you.


Secondly, when we define our happiness by the external things we do, its foundation tends to be shaky and passing at best. It would come crashing down should those external factors change. But when we define our happiness by the internal things we think and feel, that foundation is much stronger and much stable. Mere externalities cannot contend with it.

Applying the Metaphor: We only notice that we need a refill when we are running low. And the fewer the sips we have left, the more we make it a point to enjoy them. Because we know we will eventually find a refill. We do not fret too much. We do not obsessively seek to replenish our water after every sip. And we certainly never hoard it. That wouldn't be helpful, would it? What would happen if we did that? Can you even imagine?


3. Happiness is ADDITIVE: (and a RESOURCE)


Have you ever heard the saying, 'Drop by drop the ocean is made'? Well, I can't promise you that your happiness will be as vast as the ocean, but I assure you it is made up of little frangaments. If we think of every moment and every second of our life to be capable of producing happiness in us, we would have that much more opportunity to be happy. Instead of chasing one large transient moment to unrealistically sustain us for a long time, we can just live on several small transient moments. This doesn't mean that the big moments aren't important and nothing to aim for. This just means that small moments are equally important, if not more.

Secondly, happiness is something that needs to be used. It is not hoardable, and tends to go stale when such an attempt is made. We need to consume it frequently. And for that reason, generate it equally frequently.

Applying the Metaphor: This one's quite obvious. We fill our bottles drop by drop and carry only a certain amount. We consume it throughout the day and don't worry about where our next batch is going to come from. We don't get desperate. We know it will come somehow. We certainly don't hoard our water in a tank. We won't be able to carry a tank anyway. Little is what serves us better. And steady consumption is what sustains us longer.


4. Happiness is DELIBERATE: (and EARNED)

This one's important; but somehow fourth in my mind. If we have understood and fully absorbed the above core beliefs, this would become apparent. We can't really expect to sit around hoping for something to happen or someone to come along to make us happy. Even if it happens, how long would it last? We might not possess full control over the things that happen to us, but we possess enough. All we must do, then, is use it. We must deliberately decide to be happy. We must deliberately seek out that inner place of fertile soil where our happiness can grow. We must actively work hard towards growing it. Remember, none of us are entitled to anything. And what we get for free doesn't truly sustain us. We need to earn what we get. We must earn it by creating it ourselves. Knowing is half the battle. 'Doing' is the rest.

Applying the Metaphor: Sometimes people might offer us their water unprompted, but no one is going to fill our bottle for us. And we wouldn't blame them. We are capable of filling our own water. We would rarely need help with that. And even when we do, we would be more grateful for the help rather than think that we were entitled to it. How many times would we want to receive it from others anyway? Eventually we would go fill it ourselves, by ourselves.

5. Happiness is OVERRATED:


This one might seem counter-intuitive, but bear with me. We have already established that what we are looking for is crucially subjective. A+B+C does not equal X+Y+Z. What we are seeking is a perception that has entered our minds after going through several other perceptive filters. We mean different things by the term 'happy'. We feel differently when we feel 'happy'. Often, we fail to realize that we are not seeking happiness at all. We don't even want happiness. What we actually want is peace. Peace, whether by definition or intuition, can't exist outside of us. It will always exist within.


Imagine asking someone 'Sir, are you happy?' How sure can you be that their meaning of 'happy' is the same as yours?


Now, imagine asking them 'Sir, are you at peace?' How sure are you that their 'peace' is the same as yours?


Applying the Metaphor: Our water is not different from others'. Meaning, our water is as good as anyone else's. Unless it is contaminated, all water does the exact same thing. And there is a lot of contamination out there. Then, couldn't we be happy with our own portion? Because it is ours? Does it matter if we don't have more at a given moment? Does it matter that we don't have what or how much others (perceivingly) have? They too are capable of carrying only so much. They too are capable of consuming only so much. And what happens when we forget to carry our bottle one day? Nothing. We get on with our day. Because there would be another. We don't need our bottle all the time.


APPROACHES TO ADOPT WHILE CULTIVATING HAPPINESS


There are two main approaches for cultivating happiness. Neither is essentially better than the other. What works, works.


1. Pleasure Approach:


This is where we create our happiness through pleasure. More specifically, through deliberately seeking pleasure and more deliberately avoiding pain. Now, any number of things can give us pleasure. Some of those things can be innately unhealthy for us, and some can be innately healthy. None would be healthy in over-indulgence, and most would be healthy in moderation. Contrasting examples may include— video games - reading books, working - resting, junk food - salads, etc. No one can decide for us what is pleasurable and what is not. No one can decide for us what is self-indulgence and what is self-care. It is subjective, remember? And, no one can decide for us that seeking pleasure is bad. After all, what would be the point of life if there is no (personal) pleasure?


2. Meaning Approach:


This is where we create our happiness through meaning and purpose. More specifically, deliberately seeking some meaning and/or purpose behind the things we do, rather than doing them mindlessly. As was for pleasure, some of those meanings can be innately unhealthy for us, and some can be innately healthy. Contrasting examples may include— fighting for equality - world domination, taking care of others - taking care of self, spreading awareness about mental health - ranting about underworked ideas on blogs, etc. Meaning, as for pleasure, is relative. No one can decide for us what is more meaningful and what is less. No one can decide for us what meaning we should pursue. No one can decide for us whether we should pursue meaning at all. As for pleasure, what would be the point of life if there is no (personal) meaning?


Now, these two approaches can co-exist. They aren't mutually exclusive. But the best things are made in combination. So why not combine the two. Why not create our happiness in ways that give us meaningful pleasure? Or ways that give us pleasurable meaning? I will give no examples here. As we discussed before, no one can decide for us what pleasure and/or meaning we choose. It just needs to be meaningful to us. It just needs to be pleasurable to us. In whatever combination.



There is a third approach, the nihilistic approach; which stipulates that everything is meaningless and there is no pleasure and there is no point in anything. So, we shouldn't worry about anything and live however we want to be. It is a very interesting concept. But, we aren't going to talk about it here.


STRATEGIES TO EMPLOY WHILE CULTIVATING HAPPINESS

Many of the following strategies would work for you while others won't. Some would get you out of your head while others will make you more mindful. Some will make you more social while others will make you appreciate your solitude. Some would make you more engaging while others will make you more noticeable. Some would help you appreciate yourself everyday while others will help you appreciate others. Some would make immediate sense while others would contradict each other. But, no matter what they do, start applying to your life the ones you most like. Each one of them is capable of adding a little bit towards your mental peace. I promise you that if you utilize and make a habit out of enough of them, you will see a very noticeable change in your thoughts and mood. Not only you, but others will notice it too. They will even make it a point to tell you.

NOTE: The following list of strategies is by no means exhaustive. There are hundreds of more ways and variations. Let me know in the comments about some of the strategies you have used to cultivate your own inner peace and happiness. Another thing to keep in mind while applying many of these strategies is that moderation is key. I shall leave an asterisk (*) wherever I feel there is such a caveat.

Let's begin.

A. Prioritize Yourself

When we are running low on self-importance and self-empowerment, we tend to forget ourselves and try to please others, hoping that they will please us in return. But we must eventually realize that our needs and wishes are important. They might be different, but they are not less than anybody else's. We might feel guilty. We might think we are being selfish— either because someone said so or because we have imagined it. But, at the end of the day, we are just as human as anybody else, and we are just as important. Maybe not to them, but at least to ourselves. Moreover, when we begin to prioritize ourselves and start taking care of our own needs first, we tend to grow more generous towards others. We start being more considerate and understanding of others. Not because we want to please them, but because it pleases us.

Here are some of the ways you can begin to prioritize yourself:

#1 Value Your Time

#2 Have Clear Long-term Goals

#3 Have Achievable Short-term Goals

#4 Have Clear Boundaries

#5 Buy Yourself Some Time

#6 Minimize Tangents In order to prioritize ourselves, it is essential to think of our time as valuable and something that is not to be wasted. It is ours to be enjoyed however we want. It is ours to be used on whatever goals we choose. It is ours to be spent on whoever we want. It is not something to be given freely. We can decide to be generous with it if we so choose or we can decide to not be. It helps to have clear long-term goals; a clear enough idea of how we want our life to be. But long-term goals can be overwhelming to think about. So, it further helps to divide those goals into short-term goals that we know we can achieve without being overwhelmed. Having clear boundaries is also important. It determines how much we are willing to let others interfere with our life, goals and aspirations. Moreover, we must minimize the tangents in our life which tend to waste our time and push us away from our goals. It's not just others who can waste our time. Most of the time we, ourselves, waste a lot of it on tangents that do not matter. For example, I do not need to clean my house myself or fix my printer myself if I can afford to hire someone else to do it. It will save me a lot of time and energy, which then, I can refocus on my goals and needs. We might have to reduce the time we spend doing things we like doing (video games, movies, reading, friends, etc.) but which do not get us closer to our goals. Remember, pleasure is important. Pleasure is what helps us enjoy the arduous journey that is life. But it is not important enough to have dominance over us. The more tangents we eliminate, the more difficult it would become. But we must reach that point of saturation where these tangents give us enough sustaining pleasure without getting in the way of our chosen purpose and goals. B. Watch Your Health & Sleep Our mind and body are invariably connected. They have a symbiotic relationship and feed of each other. When we neglect our body, it affects our mind. When we neglect our mind, it affects our body. They are cogs of our life and must function smoothly in order for us to have a happy life. Here are some of the ways you can begin to take care of your Health & Sleep: #7 *Exercise #8 Try Yoga or any Other Alternative #9 Meditate #10 Eat Healthy #11 Hydrate Regularly #12 Slow Down Often #13 Don’t Work Too Much

#14 Stretch Muscles Regularly

#15 *Get Enough Sleep #16 *Take a Nap Just exercising 7 minutes a day can do wonders for us. It can burn away cortisol and stress with it. It can produce endorphins, serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine which all work in conjunction to make us feel healthy pleasure. Other alternatives and meditation do a similar thing by grounding us in the moment and pull us away from past disappointment and future worries. Eating foods that are organically high in fibre, protein and good fats can boost both our physical and mental health. Minimizing processed foods, sugar and carbohydrates, and maximizing Vegetables, Fruits, and Nuts (containing Omega-3 fatty acids) is a good rule of thumb. It is also important to drink enough water to remain hydrated. Water is extremely important for both our physical and mental health. Why do you think I chose that particular metaphor? It is also important to slow down, every day if possible, and relax. Working too much and failing to relax regularly results in high levels of cortisol (responsible for stress) and low levels of serotonin and dopamine (responsible for mood). They further affect our sleep, which is a natural inbuilt mechanism of relaxation in our body. For a quick-small destress and pick-me-up we must stretch our muscles frequently, especially after waking up. We must make an effort to observe good sleep hygiene and get enough sleep; something we tend to neglect nowadays. If we are unable to get enough restful sleep, a quick-short nap during the day can give us an energy boost, reduce our stress, and mitigate some of the effects of sleep deprivation. If needed, quick-short naps are nothing to be wary of. Long naps, however, can have the opposite effect, and must be avoided at all cost. C. Watch Your Mood & Feelings Our mood and feelings have an effect on what we do. Conversely, too, things we do have an effect on our mood and feelings. Which makes them kinda trickable. Here are some of the ways you can make yourself feel better: #17 Smile & Laugh Often ~ reason or no reason #18 Dance with Yourself ~ with or without music #19 Plan a Trip ~ give ourselves something to look forward to #20 *Write Down Your Feelings ~ caveat being that sometimes feelings need to be ignored, we decide #21 Build Something ~ gives us a sense of accomplishment #22 Read a New Book ~ takes us out of our head, gives us a sense of adventure and accomplishment #23 Try Something New ~ novel source of pleasure #24 *Watch Feel Good Movies ~ makes us feel good #25 *Watch Sad Movies ~ gives us a sense of grounding #26 *Take a Sick Day ~ just because; especially if feeling that we need a break #27 *Treat Yourself ~ whatever we know we already like; food or activity #28 Take Yourself Out on a Date ~ why not? we deserve to be pampered #29 Walk Taller ~ take more space; sit broader, walk with shoulders wide and head high #30 Wake up Early ~ start our day early; better for mood #31 *Have a Hot Beverage ~ it's like a hug #32 *Have a Cold Beverage ~ makes us feel good #33 *Complain & Express Negative Feelings ~ helps us move on; helps us appreciate good things more; remember the caveat #34 Hold on to & Express Positive Thoughts ~ helps us feel better about ourselves; gives others a chance to feel better with us #35 Take a Hot Shower ~ relaxes our muscles; good for our mood; and it's like a hug #36 *Listen to Music you Love ~ just make sure we aren't using it to drown out our thoughts and feelings #37 Cook Something ~ gives us a sense of accomplishment #38 Get a Massage ~ very relaxing #39 Cuddle with your Significant Other or a Pillow ~ makes us feel better #40 Do the Things You do when You’re Happy even when you’re Not ~ VERY IMPORTANT #41 Sing a Song at the Top of Your Lungs ~ works even better with a bad voice #42 Hold Hands ~ it's like a tiny cuddle #43 Do Something Different for Date Night ~ breaks monotony #44 Do Something Different for Friends Night ~ breaks monotony #45 Have a Friends Night ~ that's what friends are for #46 *Take a Selfie ~ makes us feel better about ourselves; remember the caveat #47 Get Your Hands Dirty ~ in soil, or paint, or clay, or oil; there are a lot of options #48 *Listen to Sad Songs ~ similar to sad movies; remember the caveat #49 *Make Yourself Feel Sad & Lonely ~ good practice for when we will feel it again; makes us appreciate the good moments more D. Watch Your Thoughts & Imagination #50 Throw Unhappy Thoughts Away ~ literally, write them on paper and throw them away; or burn them #51 Declutter (Cognitive) ~ we can choose what thought we pay attention to; takes practice, but very useful #52 Work on Your Spirituality ~ whether we are religious or not #53 Have Deeper Conversations ~ helps us get closer to other, and to ourselves #54 Say Less, Listen More ~ similar to above #55 *Time Travel ~ reminisce about the joyful past and dream about the future; just don't do it too much E. Alter Your Surroundings As was for our mind and body, our inner world and outer world care connected. They feed off each other. There is a lot we cannot control in the outside world, but we can definitely control our immediate surroundings. Here are some of the ways we can do that: #56 Get Enough Sunlight & Fresh Air ~ helps us wake up fully; open all the curtains and windows in the morning #57 Get Enough Outdoors & Nature ~ gets us out of our usual setting; has a calming effect on our mind

#58 Declutter (Physical & Interpersonal) ~ interpersonal life can be decluttered as much as physical life

#59 Get a Pet ~ gives us something to care for and love

#60 Get a Plant ~ gives us something to care for and love

#61 Surround Yourself with Positive People ~ positive people, nicer people, wiser people; bookclubs, or any other such semi-social gatherings are helpful

#62 Move Closer to Work ~ commute less, save time to better things

#63 *Spend Time with Friends ~ especially friends who are conducive for our growth

#64 *Spend Some Time Alone ~ helps us get a better understanding of ourselves

#65 Burn a Vanilla / Lavender Candle ~ good smells have a giant effect on our mood; helps us relax F. Alter Your Appearance Our appearance certainly impacts how others feel about us. But, it impacts how we feel about ourselves even more. Altering our appearance in small ways can give us a confidence boost and make us more noticeable and more pleasant to be around. #66 Wear Bright Colors ~ especially yellow and orange #67 Wear Something that makes You Feel Confident ~ fashionable or sharp, or even funky; clothes or accessories #68 Wear Something Comfortable ~ puts us at ease #69 Get a Haircut ~ a makeover #70 Get a Shave / Grow a Beard ~ for change #71 Shower Daily ~ makes us feel better; boosts our mood #72 Regularly Observe Personal Hygiene & Grooming ~ makes us feel better; boosts our mood G. Miscellanea These are some strategies that I either couldn't categorize into anything or felt that there was an interplay of multiple ones: #73 Ditch a Bad habit ~ making room for good and helpful ones #74 Pick a Good Habit ~ that helps us, directly or indirectly, in achieving our goals #75 Take a Break from Technology & Internet ~ and watch our stress melt away #76 Keep Smartphones out of the Bed / Bedroom ~ give our sleep the attention it deserves #77 Make an Effort to Meet New People ~ gives us a novel chance to show off our refined self and to get to know a new person #78 Talk to Your Family ~ accepting family for who they are or are not can free us from our past and self-destructive patterns #79 Declutter (Habits) ~ let's be nitpicky about keeping only helpful habits H. Alter Your Mindset #80 Decide to be Happy #81 Get Comfortable With Change ~ change is going to happen, whether we like it or not

#82 Understand that Change is Uncomfortable ~ our brain is designed to resist change, but we know better than our brain

#83 Don’t be too Choosy ~ let's not seek the moments we think we'll enjoy, let's enjoy the moments that we get

#84 Don’t be too Stingy ~ let's enjoy a moment as much as we can, let's not decide to enjoy less because we are prejudiced

#85 Don’t Obsess ~ moments will come and go, let's not obsess over what is gone and what is going to come

#86 Trust Your Style ~ we all must be happy in our own ways, in our own style; a comparison is unnecessary

#87 Practice Good Habits Daily

#88 Practice Gratitude ~ let's learn to say thank you, even for the smallest of things; and remember to accept someone's thanks too

#89 Freely Own Mistakes, but Apologize Less ~ we must own our mistakes to learn from them, however, we do not need to be defined by them

#90 Be Patient ~ happiness grows as we get older, as we become wiser, as we become more resilient

#91 Buy Experiences, Not Things

#92 Become Mindful

#93 Call More, Text Less ~ a call can add a much needed human element to the conversation

#94 Revel in Misery & Sadness ~ letting ourselves feel negative emotions help us overcome them better and quicker

#95 Watch Your Wounds Heal ~ literally, watch a cut or a burn, as it heals day by day; do the same with hurt feelings

#96 Understand that Bad days can be a Good Thing ~ Good things do not exist in isolation; we can perceive good because we can perceive bad

#97 Keep Challenging Yourself ~ new challenges keep us on our toes and more engaged with ourselves and the world

#98 Try New Things

#99 Shake Things up

#100 Practice Self-Acceptance

#101 Have a Lot to Do ~ it's better to have things to do and not do them, than not having enough to do

#102 *Become an Optimist ~ one thing our goals require is hope, and hope requires optimism; remember

#103 *Become a Realist ~ hope is all good and well; but it works best with a mixture of reality and pragmatics

#104 Loosen up & Don’t Try too Hard ~ let's not take life & ourselves too seriously; let's not try to be happy too hard

#105 Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

#106 Don’t Hold a Grudge ~ holding grudges limits our perspective, limits our heart, and poisons our mind

#107 Forgive Quickly ~ we are all human, fallible & ignorant; let's accept that and forgive others quickly, and ourselves

#108 Don’t Worry about Being Happy ~ happy moments will arrive when they shall

#109 Balance Your Life ~ happiness is a result of a balanced life; of both positive and negative; of different areas

#110 Proudly Accept Compliments ~ people say things either because they mean it or they care; questioning those compliments is often unhelpful

#111 Proudly Accept Affection ~ people show affection either because they are nice or they care; questioning it is often unhelpful

#112 Question People’s Intentions less

#113 Give Compliments Freely #114 Declutter (Beliefs) ~ keep those that are helpful, discard those that are not #115 Understand the Difference between ‘Being’ and ‘Feeling’ #116 Understand that Your Thoughts are not Your Feelings Sometimes we go around our lives always trying to 'feel better' or 'feel good'. When our goal is to feel better, our happiness and mental peace become narrow, unstable, and short-lived. What we must do instead is aim to be better. And we'll notice, then, that our wellbeing becomes wider, more stable, and long-lasting. This is a difficult thing to understand in theory, but easier through application. We must consistently stop and ask, 'Is this going to make me just feel better for a few moments, or is it going to make me become better in the long-run?' Another thing we must know, is that our feelings are not independent of our thoughts. We cannot directly control our feelings. But our feelings are a product of our thoughts. Our thoughts are what gives rise to our feelings. Therefore, if we control our thoughts (which we can), we can control our feelings. We cannot choose how we feel, but we can choose what we think and believe, which ultimately determines how we feel. #117 Move away from Absolute & Permanent Thinking One of the worst habits we sometimes develop is to think in permanent and absolute terms. That things are either this or that. That things are either black or white. That things are either good or bad. And that those things will continue to be the same. They will continue to be good or bad. That is rarely the case. When we think in this fashion, we prevent ourselves from learning and becoming better. We become ignorant and remain ignorant. Everything, whether circumstances or people, have a way of evolving. Everything has a tendency and capacity to change. Everything in this world is impermanent. At least our knowledge and perception of everything is impermanent and is constantly evolving.


Thank you and congratulations for reading all the way through. We are proud of you. Remember, this was a lot of information. Don't try to apply so much at once. Start with one thing at a time. Whatever makes most sense to you. Whatever sounds more fun. And take it slow. With change, especially the positive one, what is important is not the size or the quantity, but consistency. And it's easier to be consistent with small efforts.

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