Written By Carina, Grow Group Member

Why choose to be happy and content? Do you want joy, peace, satisfaction, fulfilment, enrichment, living with a smile that reaches your eyes and so much joy in your heart that it overflows and has a positive effect on those around you?

When we struggle with our mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health it seems that happiness and contentment are a far and distant land that we hope to reach someday, catching fleeting glimpses of it but never really holding on to it for very long and certainly not for as long as we would like. I believe that each and every one of us has the capacity to be happy and content no matter who we are or where we are in life. To be happy and content takes willingness, discipline, openness, and commitment and the reward is a beautiful renewed inner life of your choosing.

Here are the 4 A’s that can help you understand some key steps on your journey and grow to be a happier, stable, and enriched you.

One of the greatest gifts we have as humans is our consciousness. To be aware of ourselves and the world around us. Sometimes it is difficult to pinpoint exactly what is troubling us. By sharing with your Grow group over time it becomes easier for you and your group to identify and understand those areas in our lives that we allow to steal our joy. Honesty is critical to the process, to be true to ourselves and acknowledge where we are at.

You are responsible for your own happiness. This statement may be challenging to accept. We tend to make excuses and try to hold other people or other factors responsible. Don’t give away your power to be happy and content to other people or things. The truth is that happiness and contentment grow from within you. When we stop looking to our external resources, relationships, and our circumstances we are free to cultivate the inner peace and the joy we seek.

Love. Most of us live with a harsh inner critic. Choose to love yourself and accept yourself exactly where you are now. You can’t give away what you do not have. By loving yourself you will increase your love for others too.

Live with an attitude of gratitude. Being grateful and enjoying what is in your life currently can have a very positive impact on your life. Our change in perspective on lack or loss can change how we feel regarding any circumstance. For example, something as simple as grumbling and complaining that the water coming out of your tap is not hot enough – change this way of thinking to be grateful that you have a tap with water coming out of it.

Be difficult to offend. We live in a world of difficult people who can inflict unnecessary hurt on others, either accidentally or sadly deliberately. Decide in advance how to stand and react positively to negative instances. Seeing the funny side when things go wrong can have a massive impact on your day. Forgiveness is powerful and will help you to resume quickly after a setback.

Expect good things to happen. Our thoughts are powerful. Actively observe your thoughts. When you have thoughts of criticism, judgment, resentment, jealousy, or other negative thoughts, see them for what they are, mere thoughts. You do not have to agree with everything that falls into your head. Dismiss negative thoughts quickly and replace them with positive, healthy alternatives.

Practice patience. When out for a meal it’s always the person who grumbles and complains that everything is taking so long that can ruin the evening! Test yourself to be gracious and practice patience and have an extra helping of patience spare for those who have not developed theirs.

Give. Think of how you can increase someone else’s joy. By getting your mind off yourself and onto how you can improve someone else’s day. It can be especially fun to see someone else’s face light up by your positive actions. Remember to be generous with your smiles, compliments, time, etc. It doesn’t have to cost the earth.

. To have fun and play even as an adult can bring so much joy into your life. Look back over your life and recall those moments when you had the most fun and enjoyment. When invited to take part in any activity, consider it but try not to dismiss it out of hand. Try something new, gently breach the boundaries of your comfort zone.

Set Goals. Set short-term, achievable goals in your physical exercise, hobbies, travel, education, or other areas of your life that bring joy to you and help increase your self-esteem. You can take a Grow weekly task that can help towards setting goals. When achieved this can bring satisfaction and thus enrich your life.

We all live with a shadow in our life. After all, we live on Earth not in heaven. By choosing to live on the sunny side of life our shadow will be cast behind us as we walk forward rather than blocking out the sunlight.
Happiness and contentment can bring very positives change to your life and health. You can decide daily to choose an ordinary and simple path towards being a better version of you. Building and growing an inner world that will ripple out positively to all those around you.

The only way is up to the dizzy heights of happiness and contentment.

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