I was really surprised to know that according to the Happy planet index, Costa Rica is the happiest country in the world followed by Vietnam, Columbia and Belize. I was like…what? Aren’t those countries suffering from poverty and low quality of life? Mexico and India also made it to the top ten. What’s more surprising is that apparently Canada and the US are some of the unhappiest countries.

However, if you look at other reports from different sources, you will find that Norway, Finland and Sweden are some of the best countries to live. Again, that really surprised me since I know how harsh winter can be in those regions, specially since they only get 4 hours of sunlight in winter! I don’t know if somehow they confused access to good public services and a comfortable life with happiness but they are clearly not the same thing. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying I believe these countries are unhappy but I know from my own experience the effects of a long winter and lack of sunshine.

Which leads me to question: What is happiness? According to wikipedia Happiness can be defined as: a mental or emotional state of well-being characterized by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. I wonder if maybe warm weather, sunshine and spicy foods have something to do with an increase in positive emotions.

I feel blessed to live in a country like Canada but at the same time I realize we’ve got it all wrong and we have to figure it out a way to increase positive emotions and be “happier” as a country. For those of you not intending to move to Costa Rica any time soon, here are some ways to increase positive emotions:

1.- Practice Gratitude: This is something I suggest to most of my clients. There’s always something to be grateful for. Even the simplest things in life, like having running water, electricity,a place to sleep, eyes to see, family, friends, etc.

2.- Increase positive self- talk: We tend to be too hard on ourselves. Learn to stop the negative inner chatter that causes stress and negative emotions. if it happens too often, try some hypnosis to find out if there is an underlying issue or maybe something unresolved that keeps you stuck in the negativity.

3.- Forgiveness: This is a big one. And it means forgiving others and yourself too for what happened in the past. Try Hypnosis or get professional help if necessary, but don’t let it prevent you from being happy.

4.- Mindfulness: Learn to live in the present. Enjoy the moment more often. Practice deep breathing whenever you catch yourself obsessing or worrying about something.

5.- Exercise: This is as important as eating healthy and sleeping well since it helps relieve stress and release endourphines that increase physical and mental well-being

6.- Spend time in nature: Enjoy being outdoors more often. Go to a park, a forest, watch the blue sky, the stars,etc. If it’s too cold outside, try at least listening to sounds of nature or look at beautiful scenery in your computer screen.

7.- Healthy relationships: Please get out of abusive or toxic relationships. Develop good self-esteem and believe that you are worthy of happiness so you can attract good quality people who can inspire you and help you grow stronger and more confident. Hypnotherapy can help you do this if you are having trouble.

8.- Believe in a higher power: You don’t have to be religious to believe in a higher power. Just learn to trust the universe to help you when things get tough, trust your intuition and your gut feeling, develop a stronger connection with the energy that connects you to everything in the universe.

9.- Nothing lasts forever: Whatever might be going on in your life, it will pass. Remind yourself that we are just passing by and one day we will all be gone.

May this year be filled with good health, love, blessings and “happiness”.

My best wishes to all of you!

Fabiola Miguel
Certified Hypnotist, Life Coach and NLP practitioner
www.newlifehypnotherapy.com
905-277-1113On youtube: www.youtube.com/bilingualhypnotist
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Blog: www.newlifehypnotherapy.com/blog

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