As we continue this new chapter in our lives, redefining who we want to be after 50, I often hear a common question.
“How can I be happy?”
This million-dollar question seems to be on everybody’s minds.
We often wonder if there’s some magic potion we can drink to get there. Or some secret code we can crack that will then enlighten us on how to attain happiness.
But I think it’s a lot easier than taking some round-the-world journey. Or selling all your worldly goods and living the rest of your life as a guru in the mountains.
The Secret to Finding Happiness After 60
The secret to happiness lies in living and loving the present.
It’s really that easy.
You may be doubtful and reply, “What if I am currently over 50 and feel like nothing is going my way? I still feel hurt and betrayed over the divorce! I’m stressed out about not finding a job or never being able to retire!”
I get it. Because I’ve been there, too. Regardless if you are newly single after decades of marriage, or stressing about retirement, there is one thing you must know.
Love Where You Are
Being happy comes from loving where you are – now.
It doesn’t matter if you feel like your life is a mess. It doesn’t matter if currently, your life is a lot different than what you thought it would be ten years ago, five years ago, even a year ago.
What matters is your ability to see the good in whatever your current circumstances are, and to be grateful for what you have in this life, versus what you do not.
And it’s not just me who thinks this. A recent TED talk goes in-depth to find the traits of the happiest people around the world. And the common thread among all of them wasn’t their income, or their material possessions, or their relationship status.
What linked them together was the fact that they could enjoy and thrive in the present moment, regardless of what circumstances surround them. They were happy because they were grateful. Not grateful because they were happy.
So, how can you love your current situation?
Learning how to be happy with wherever you are right now can feel foreign, mainly because most of us live in a culture or were raised to not think in this manner. But I promise it’s a lot easier than you may think!
Let’s start with this simple exercise. In the next few weeks, we will dig deeper on how we can get rid our own self-doubt and really become empowered. But for now, let’s build an awesome foundation.
List obstacles you think are keeping you from being happy. Need some help? Look at the examples below.
My retirement took a hit from the divorce and now I’ll never retire.
How can I be happy when I am in a job that I absolutely hate?
My ex left me heart-broken and angry. It’s hard to be happy with these feelings.
Flip the Script
Next, for each of those obstacles, flip the script! List three good things about them.
Retirement: At least I am no longer in an unhealthy and unhappy marriage. Although I must continue to work, I now have an opportunity to focus on doing something that I love, or can now explore something new. If I want to retire, maybe this gives me the opportunity to think about non-traditional retirement and relocate to someplace with lower costs of living and good weather, like Costa Rica or Thailand!
Awful Job: This job is giving me an income so that I can have a bed to sleep in, food to eat and opportunities to do things outside of work that I love. If the work is bad, it now serves as motivation to find something better and inspires me to find another line of work that I am more compatible with. I am now learning more about myself with this job – the things I can tolerate, the things I won’t stand for – things I previously did not notice.
Do you see the pattern here? Now, you try it!
Repeat when you feel stressed, overwhelmed, resentful, or sad.
Do this exercise every day. The smallest habit can change how you view the world.
What you find is some calming internal switch that turns out when you list the things that you can be happy about. And after you list those things, it makes listing the good things about our perceived obstacles so much easier.
When we begin to have the mind frame of finding the good, being grateful for what we have and seeing each day not as another crazy roller-coaster of divorce that we once did, then little by little we understand the beauty and promise we all have – right here, right now.
And what can be happier than that?
What certain things do you think are keeping you from being happy? What will you do today to perceive them in a positive light? How do you flip the script? Please share in the comments.