Circumstances may not always give you a reason to be happy, but happiness is still within your grasp. One way to get happy is to connect with your qi, or life force energy. Here are some easy ways to generate your own happiness, whatever your current mood.
Smile From Within
Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh said, “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”
“Smiling from the heart” is a technique that qigong and tai chi teacher Anthony Korahais advocates to increase happiness in any situation He encourages students to “stop intellectualizing,” and just do it.
The technique focuses energy on the heart, which, according to Korahais, helps the body and mind by boosting oxytocin (the feel-good chemical), decreasing stress, generating inspiration, and creating focus. It also renders other practices, like yoga and tai chi, more effective.
If you're not smiling yet, bring your attention into your body. Keep your attention there as you breathe. Imagine a peaceful or joyful moment such as a beautiful sunrise or a smiling baby. Feel the sensation in your body and let it build. Focus your attention on your heart center and visualize the smile coming from there.
Now you are smiling from the heart.
Let it Flow
Robert Peng explains that qigong taps into “a wellspring of inner joy that fills your body with radiant vitality and puts a perpetual smile on your face.”
Similar to yoga, qigong combines movement, breath, and intention to harmonize the body’s systems.
“When Qi energy flows smoothly through the body our internal organs absorb this radiant force and they feel nourished and satisfied," Peng writes. "When our internal organs are happy, we feel great.”
Even if you're stuck at a desk all day, you can try this easy qi breathing technique:
- Sit with your back straight and place the tip of your tongue against your gum line, behind your top teeth.
- Close your eyes.
- Exhale slowly and completely, and focus on releasing tension in the shoulders.
- Inhale slowly through your nostrils. Imagine the air filling your belly.
- Repeat this slow breath 8 to 10 times and you'll feel refreshed within minutes.
Declutter Your Desk
Much like organizing qi within the body, feng shui (the Chinese system of design) helps organize qi in the outside world.
The Institute of Feng Shui and Geopathology explains that by organizing and decluttering space, feng shui can be used to influence everything from health to love to wealth. One of the main principles of Feng Shui is to clear clutter, especially anything on your desk, as clutter can stagnate qi and block the flow of energy.
Feng shui consultant Tisha Morris advises keeping at least 50 percent of your desk clutter-free for a happier work space.
In lives that are faster, busier, and loaded with more information than ever before, it is easy to be anywhere but present. Ken Cohen, a renowned expert of qigong and tai chi, thinks the practice of making tea can help.
“Tea is the antidote,” Cohen said. “By slowing down, we become aware of beauty and capable of creating beauty around us... Tea is ultimately an exercise in awareness."
Try a mixture of Pu-erh tea and dried Chinese chrysanthemum flowers. This combo was a favorite of Cohen’s teacher, Abbot Huang Gengshi. In Chinese medicine, chrysanthemum is known to move qi throughout the body. It also adds a lovely floral note to the complexity of the Pu-erh. While these ingredients may sound exotic, you can find them at a local tea shop, in an Asian food market, or look online with Numi Tea or Mountain Rose Herbs.
"In addition to the well-researched (health) benefits, tea encourages an attitude of relaxation, leisure, and grace,” Cohen writes.
That's enough to make anyone happy.
© 2015 Omega Institute for Holistic Studies