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Three Steps to Happiness

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Happiness is our natural state of being. It is who we are. Happiness is obvious in little childre.

Happiness is our natural state of being. It is who we are. Happiness is obvious in little children. Their natural state is to feel all their feelings without resistance, leaving children free to spend most of their time being happy and playful.

It is not necessary to be happy all of the time. Sometimes it feels good to wallow in feelings of self-pity, revel in self-righteous anger, and generally have a good time with feelings that are supposed to feel bad. That's okay. But we can also develop the ability to be happy whenever we choose.

Many of us, if not most, are caught up in old habits and ways of thinking that sap our happiness and keep us stuck in places that feel bad. My experience in treating thousands of desperately ill patients over 25 years shows that health follows naturally from feeling happy and following your bliss.

Health often returns naturally from doing the techniques outlined in my book, Three Steps to Happiness. These techniques can teach you how to stay happy in any situation and show you how to create a life you love. The book will also teach you how to feel all your feelings and then how to let them go. You will learn how to enjoy the life you have, and perhaps more importantly, also provide powerful tools for creating the life you choose.

Some of you do not need the book. Simply make a habit of doing the three steps below until they become natural to you. Others may find it helpful (and enjoyable) to learn the techniques in the book to help you with the process.

The Three Steps:

1. Be authentic with your feelings.

Many people try to avoid feeling bad by denying their feelings and burying them. All this does is leave you stuck in those feelings. You'll do much better to simply feel whatever you're feeling without any resistance and without the need to understand it. All you need to do is let the emotion wash over you and then let go of it when it no longer feels good. You'll be amazed how good it can feel (for a while) to grieve or have a self-righteous fit of anger. After awhile, however, these feelings no longer feel good. That is the time to let go of them. Remember, though, nobody else is responsible for what you're feeling and you're not responsible for anybody else's feelings.

2. Let go of blame and fault.

We live in a society where it seems that the main way to get special privileges is to claim victimization. Playing victim, however, is expensive because you're giving somebody else control over your ability to be happy. Although it is an old habit, spend the next couple of weeks letting go of any blame, fault, or guilt that you're feeling (towards yourself or others) as soon as you notice it. Don't fight the blame. Simply shift your attention to something else that feels good. This doesn't mean you can't be angry at somebody else. Simply remember that they're not responsible for your anger. Remember to fix the problem and not to blame. This simple change can transform your whole life.

3. Keep your attention on what feels good.

Life circumstances are a menu from which we can choose. We go into the restaurant of life and choose the menu items we prefer and ignore those we don't.

The same applies to watching the news. News that makes us feel bad is not necessarily more real and important than news that makes us feel good. As long as it feels good, watch the news. When it no longer feels good, change the channel or turn it off. What is showing on your TV screen, and what is going on in a place that makes up less than one percent of the planet, is not more real or important than what is going on in your life or even outside your window. You get to decide what to pay attention to. I recommend that you choose to keep your attention on what feels good to you. This is often simply a matter of maintaining balance and perspective.

You'll find that what you believe and what you keep your attention on is what you'll tend to draw into your life. Things feel good because they satisfy our deep psyche and provide what our spirit wants and needs. If I'm wrong about this, then you'll have spent your life feeling good. I can live with that.

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Matthew Kadey, MSc, RDMatthew Kadey, MSc, RD