Being in a state of happiness is an awesome feeling. However, when you get into a cycle where nothing feels like it is going right and negative thoughts are popping up ALL the time, it can feel like happiness is beyond your reach. Even worse, if you have never been in what you would view as a state of happiness then it can feel impossible to even achieve such a place.

I want you to realize you are not alone at all!

Many people grow up without seeing or experiencing happiness firsthand. I was one of those people. When I was younger I literally believed happiness was something that happened to other people, but sadly not me. I thought It was all up to luck and that some people had happy lives while others didn’t. I would see other people I knew having beautiful friendships, romances, great jobs, and wonderful lives while I was on the other side feeling hit by a bus every damn day. I was frequently feeling sad and alone.

I wanted to be happy, but had no idea how to get to that place. You can probably imagine that I was not at all fun to be around and this created more discontent in my life. One day at a very low point, I wandered into the self-help section of Barnes & Noble and my world was forever changed. It has been a journey (or we could stay struggle) since then with many ups and downs, but what I have found through reading many self-help books, my education, and practical experience is that happiness is within our grasp!!

What it takes are some shifts in our personal beliefs combined with actionable steps. Shifting our beliefs and taking action are two things which can drastically change your life for the better.

Below are 4 simple shifts you can make starting now:

1. Realize that happiness isn’t found it is created: I know it may not feel this way, but you have so much more control over your happiness than you think. Happiness is all in your control. In fact, happiness is a state of mind! While you cannot control many things that happen to you, you can control how you feel and react to it.

2. Happiness is a skill you can learn: I swear you can! It is 100% possible. Instead of viewing happiness as something that should just naturally happen in your life, view happiness as a skill that can be developed with active shifts in your thinking. Whenever we start out learning something new there is always a learning curve. Think about when you first started playing a sport, exercising, learning an instrument, etc….you didn’t know how to do it right away and nobody expected you to know right away. There was learning involved! The same thing goes for being happy. You gotta learn what works and practice implementing it.

3. Listen to your intuition: What things are you ignoring? You know what I am talking about. When we ignore something we know we need to deal with that can lead to crazy and negative thoughts going on in your brain. Handle your biz and you will almost instantly feel better. Conversations and situations can be uncomfortable, but once it is out then you will feel so much lighter. When you put something off the negativity and stress will continue to grow.

4. Forgive and Let Go: People will hurt you. You will hurt people. Forgive. Forgive. Forgive. While your first instinct will probably be that there is no way you can forgive_________________(fill in the blank), because they deeply hurt you. What you must know about forgiveness is that it is NEVER about letting that person off the hook. Forgiveness is all about letting go of what happened so that you can heal, find peace, and be happy. Don’t go through life dragging your baggage around with you. It doesn’t feel good. Practice forgiving everyone that has hurt you or let you down starting now. This includes you. How many times have you felt guilt or beat yourself up over a situation? If you don’t want to repeat a specific situation or scenario again then you have to also include yourself in the forgiveness process too.

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