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A, B, C’s

of happiness

By Liza Bertini

After a particularly

challenging year of feeling consistently overwhelmed as a new single mother of twins, rebuilding two Devotion Yoga studios after flooding by Superstorm Sandy, and losing my father to lung cancer, I became passionate about learning how I could remain “happy” during such trying times. It is everyone’s ultimate goal - when you consider the reasons for our every desire, the answer remains that we all just want to be happy. The science of happiness is called positive psychology. Defined as “the scientific study of optimal human functioning”, it provides practical tools for better living. The endless research on happiness draws unsurprising conclusions; for example, lasting happiness is said not to come from possessing material things, but from pursuing positive experiences. We derive greater long-term happiness from acquiring experiences rather than goods! So, go on that vacation instead of buying that new couch! In Sonja Lyubomirsky’s The How of Happiness, she concludes that fifty percent of a human being’s happiness level is genetically determined, ten percent is affected by life circumstances and situation, and the remaining forty percent of happiness is subject to self-control and attitude. While some of us may focus on changing our circumstances, successfully doing so would only increase or decrease our true level of happiness by ten percent. What we should focus on is the forty percent of happiness that is under our control! By combining teachings from yoga philosophy and information I gathered from researching positive psychology, I put together a “happiness formula”. I wanted to lift myself out of my rut and take an active role in getting happy! Let’s call it the ABC’s of Happiness. I believe that if you incorporate the following into your life as best you can on a daily basis,

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you will simply be happier! Give it a try - you have nothing to lose!

The A’s of Happiness Authenticity. It is said that living authentically is when what you think, feel, say, and do are all in alignment. Though it is a hard task, the more we practice living authentically, the more whole and fulfilled we will feel. Being authentic is a product of uncovering the true Self, knowing what you want, living your dharma (your soul’s purpose), speaking your truth, and living with integrity. Yoga facilitates being in touch with one’s inner wisdom so that authenticity may blossom. Take time each day to be quiet and watch your breath, thoughts, and emotions with non-judgmental awareness. In this quiet, let your inner wisdom be revealed. Attitude. If 40% of our happiness is a result of our attitude, then by God… work on this one! Change your perspective of or reaction to your circumstances by finding the lesson and seeing the good within each situation. Tal Ben-Shahar, PhD and expert in positive psychology, says “things do not necessarily happen for the best, but I can choose to make the best of things that happen”. When we are faced with hardship, we have a choice. We can treat it as a purely negative experience or we can actively seek to identify and understand the lesson within it. We don’t have to be happy about every situation, but when a challenging one presents itself, we can use it as an opportunity for growth and development. To help turn things around, make a habit of finding something positive in every situation. Acceptance. Start loving and caring for yourself. Stop judging and putting yourself down. Notice how you speak to yourself. The more we can ac-

Devotion Yoga's URBAN SANCTUARY Magazine  

Our inaugural URBAN SANCTUARY magazine that offers something for everyone! Within these pages you will find a directory of workshops for bot...