At some point during a personal coaching session I will ask all my clients ‘What is it you want from your coaching?’ Often the reply is ‘I don’t know that’s why I’m here’ or, their answer is directed at solving a current issue or drama going on in their lives. But, after some gentle probing their original answer usually changes to a simple statement ‘I just want to be happy’ or maybe they’ll use the word contented, fulfilled, or at peace.
So what is happiness? Sit back and ask yourself the last time you felt truly happy, contented, fulfilled or at peace with yourself?
As I write this I’m sat on a balcony overlooking the sea, it’s 7am and the world is peaceful… and so am I. I can hear the sea lapping on the shore and the sound of an unfamiliar bird song rings sweetly in my ears. I’m aware of my breath rising and filling my belly, moving gently up towards my chest and then gracefully exiting my body. As I become aware of this beautiful sensation I notice the gentle smile on my lips and am overwhelmed with gratitude to be experiencing it in the moment.
Whist I want to share this with each and everyone of you I know that me writing about it will not be enough to impart this gift to you. It’s a bit of a cliche but, all of this is actually within me (and you) and has very little to do with the surroundings I described above. After all, if it was dependant on the surroundings I’d need to recreate it to have any chance of ever experiencing it again. The truth is I can access, or be aware of this state of mind at any time which means exactly that…it’s a state of mind. The great news is you control your mind, the challenge is it will take some discipline and a few minutes of practice every day.
I think the best time to start is when you first wake up in the morning. Resist the urge to junp out of bed and get on with your day (which is how I used to start every day). Take a few moments and observe your breath, which will connect your mind to your body. Breathe slow and deep into your belly feeling it rise. Allow your breath to move up into your diaphragm and then in to your chest and throat. As you exhale let go of any tension in your body and repeat six to eight more times.
As you breathe think about something you’re grateful for, no matter what you’re going through there is always something you can be grateful for. Perhaps you have the fortune of good health. (A great blessing in a world filled with disease and poverty). Perhaps you are lucky enough to be in a committed, loving relationship and can be grateful to have that persons love and support. Perhaps you love your work and can be thankful to have a job you enjoy. Maybe you have a beautiful home, children, friends or other family that love and appreciate you. I know if you want to, you can find something and once you find one thing you can find another and then another.
As you allow yourself to feel gratitude in this way for life, you will feel the peace beginning to wash over you. Enjoy it and be prepared to let it grow. Like anything you need to nurture the habit to help it grow, especially when you’re faced with some of life’s inevitable challenges.
I wish I could jump out of your screen and let you experience the way I feel. I know if I we able to do that you’d take the few mintues everyday to develop the ‘happy state’ game and put a smile on your own face.