Building a Highway to Happiness

I wanted to check my ex’s Instagram again. It doesn’t matter which ex. All of them at one time or another. Ugh, what a terrible feeling!

What a terrible thing to do to myself. Why was I doing this to myself?

Because I was sad. There’s nothing wrong with sad, but I recognized that by consistently connecting with that sadness, I was building a highway to hell for myself instead of happiness. There are dozens of other things to connect with. But what else could I connect with? I felt awful! Have you ever been in that state?

This post is about learning how to connect to something that’s going to make a highway to happiness.

This post (and the video too) is about how to change that state of being.

Here were three important pre-requisites I had to understand.

1. First step for me was to decide who I wanted to be, and why.

Once I got clear on that “being,” becoming anything else was more painful. I couldn’t go back to being how I used to be. I couldn’t just get into another relationship. I had to change. This gave me something to work toward. It didn’t matter to me if I was happy or not. What mattered to me was that I had a purpose. I had clarity. I have faith it will lead to a happy place.

2. Second step for me was to reach out to wise people.

I started meeting people for coffees, walks and email exchanges. I asked questions. They were kind enough to let me explore into their experience. I used their wisdom to help me navigate my way. Thank you Jeff, Jay, Virginia, Kim, Megan, Karina, Bill, Marin, James, Tony, David, Beth … (there’s definitely more people I could list).

3. Third step for me was to resolve inner conflicts.

At least understand them. I started getting to the bottom of inner conflicts by peeling back the layers, peeling back some more, peeling back more. I found a couple very good friends to help me unpack it all.

Here are 15 other things I do to either change my state, redirect my focus or proactively guide my state of being

1. Decide!  I decided to shift the focus. Every time I wanted to look at her Instagram, I picked up my phone and instead of looking at her profile, I looked at a memo I made for myself of the 11 characteristics my next partner will have. I did this so many times that I realized a more empowering meaning for the loss of that relationship.

Here’s that list, btw:

I will also offer these characteristics too. So I could just as easily say, I will be …

2. Start the day with the right intention. Give myself the first 10 minutes of my day.  Reality check. If you don’t have 10 minutes a day just for you, you don’t have a life. I call it priming the pumps and it’s the foundation of my day every day.

3. Exercise every day. Try this week’s morning move.

4. Jump rope. I crank Eminem and say my Ground of Being statement as loud as I can

5. Yoga. I stretch, breathe, lengthen and search for the “just right” placement for when I can rest in the pose. That “rest” is a letting go place.

6. Breathing. I breathe into my heart. I breathe into my stomach. I breathe into my back. I imagine my breath is traveling up and down my spine like an oscillating fan. I breathe in 4 and out 8. I observe my breath and ask why

7. Playing with and loving on my kids. I get so small. I get tiny. I let the world stop and I fill myself into their world with the presence of a giant.

8. Journal. I journal almost every morning. I jot down whatever comes to mind.

9. Meditation. It took me forever to “get” meditation, but now that I do get it, I enjoy watching my thoughts – like clouds – pass on by me. It’s a practice of not dwelling on anything.

10. Reading. This is how I find mentors. The best mentors are authors. Like from Steve Martin’s book Born Standing Up, I learned all the ways it’s far more important to gain insight than settle the score.

11. Hard gratitudes. This is great for us folks who can’t stop the monkey mind chatter because it requires us to solve a problem with a gratitude. The idea being that inside every difficult problem, there are tiny seeds of gratitude that can blossom into happiness in your life.

12. Cold temperature plunges. I dive into a cold shower. I step outside with bare feet in the cold snow. I learned this from another mentor, Tony Robbins. Here’s an article that explains the power of cold water.

13. Romantic movies. On Sundays, I watch love story movies. Maybe it’s just the time of life right now but it always brings happy tears to my eyes. Here’s a good romantic movie I recommend called The Age of Adeline 

14. Connect to something bigger than yourself. On alternating Sundays, I travel around Michigan to different churches.

15. Being creative at this blog and posting about healthy living.

All of these things, and probably more that I haven’t mentioned, are ways I change my state, redirect my focus and proactively guide my state of being to that highway toward happiness.

I want to be the strongest version of myself so I have a checklist every day that includes physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. More about that here

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