Emotional well-being is not so mysterious when you can break it down to smaller steps. You can adopt a few new habits and questions some of your old ones to find all the answers you need for more balance and joy. Here are a few pointers, and you can find the first five in Part 1.

Essential Key #6 Be grateful.

Nothing has the power of gratitude to make us feel better, see the world as a happier place and make us more pleasant human beings. This is true in any situation.

We can always find something to be grateful for, if we choose appreciation as a lifestyle. It is easy to pick up a habit of gratitude. Remember how good it feels to feel appreciated? Give that gift to those around you as much as possible, and sincerely.

When someone helps you with anything, look him or her in the eye and express gratitude. It’s not just good manners; it is a great way to uplift yourself and others around you. Furthermore, the show of appreciation spreads a positive vibe in two ways – the person who feels appreciated for doing something is likely to do it again gladly. And expressing gratitude is likely to make you feel good for a little while.

But here is the contradicting part: learn to do things without any show of appreciation from others without taking it personally, or better, without noticing. Some people just don’t have good manners or are too sour to express anything nice too busy or self-absorbed. So what? Move on and keep doing what you are doing because you appreciate yourself enough.
If you expect gratitude then you need to reevaluate what you are doing and refer back to the “supposed-to’s” in Essential Key #5, because you are wasting your time and energy.

Essential Key #7 Surround yourself with positive media.

This may be difficult with much of what goes on around us. It seems the overwhelming majority of media products is negative or plays on our weaknesses. The news is full of meaningless dribble about awful things that have no bearing on your life whatsoever. So why allow it to be part of your state of mind?

Many of the TV dramas take place either in gory crime scenes or even more graphic emergency rooms. You would think life takes place in one of those two settings. And have you read the headlines and cover story titles in magazines? They either play on our fears, weaknesses, or our endless need for more negative stories, even about the people we like and admire.

Sure, there are many important things going on in the world which are terrible and may deserve your attention, if you want to give it. But as Wayne Dyer says, “You can’t feel bad enough to make someone else feel better.”

This matter, though, goes well beyond the news. This is about the options in entertainment and what we seek out in our leisure.

Misfortune is big business, so much so that it is often exaggerated or made-up just so we tune-in. Are you comfortable being sucked into all of that just for entertainment? All these messages we allow in our heads from these random and anonymous sources have a great affect on our state of mind. You can’t be immersed in it without being affected.

Limit or eliminate the input from these sources. Pay attention to the entertainment and media to which you choose to be exposed to for a week. Take a closer look at them and start weeding out anything that is not uplifting or inspiring. You’ll miss it for 48 hours and then wonder how you ever let all that nonsense into your mind.

Think you are not affected? Think again.

Essential Key #8 Take responsibility for your own life and experience.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, as an adult, you are responsible for everything you have and don’t have, all your thoughts and feelings, and the gap between where you are and where you want to be.

If this is news to you, you should be very happy to learn it! It may sound daunting, to blame yourself for all the shortcomings and misery rather than your parents, politicians, boss, wife, children, the neighbor and the candle stick maker.

But instead find joy in knowing that you have the complete control to change anything you want in your life. You have the power to close the gap, to decide what you think and feel, and to behave as you wish. There are reasons why this is difficult, but there are no reasons why this is impossible.

The difficulties come when we are so ingrained in our subconscious with beliefs about ourselves and the world, that making big changes seems impossible. Our habits are there for a reason. But if you choose, you can change – and you can turn to a psychologist, hypnotherapist, inspirational literature, and other resources.

Techniques that have proven to work in changing our subconscious patterns quickly are hypnosis, Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), and Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). Find a top-notch practitioner of these techniques, stay open and committed, and watch maturity unfold.

It all starts with your choices and decisions to make the steps towards emotional wellness and taking responsibility for your life. If you don’t hold the reins of your life and experience, what exactly do you expect to happen?

For a more in-depth look at why change is so difficult, take a look at one of my older videos, Overcoming the Challenge to Change.

Essential Key #9 Forgiveness of self and others.

A great quote I found says it all:
“To forgive yourself is to take responsibility for what you said or done while at the same time to recognize that you would have done things differently if you knew how. To forgive another simply means you no longer allow that person to cause you resentment, anger and emotional pain.” Arlene F. Harder from Support4Change.

Life is full of choices and every choice moves us closer to peace of mind or away from it. We’ve all been hurt and we all make mistakes, but holding on to the associated feelings is toxic.

Anger, resentment and revenge are extremely taxing because as we focus on the negative, we are allowing the hurt to continue. This manifests in all sorts of symptoms ranging from rude behavior on our part to neglect of our personal well-being.

Forgiving does not mean accepting the pain-causing actions or living in denial. But instead of justifying your pain, you can choose to move past what has been done. It takes courage and strength to live in the present and not in the past. When you forgive, you lift the burden of judgment, guilt, anger and resentment.

Staying with all the negative feelings that were triggered by someone else’s behavior is like having heartburn and doing nothing about it just so you can suffer a bit longer. (Please notice I said feelings were “triggered”, not caused, because each of us is ultimately responsible for how we feel and no one can cause us to feel anything we choose not to feel).

You can visualize forgiving someone or letting go of a mistake you’ve made as something you can so small, like crumbling up a piece of paper, and tossing it out. Things you think are a big deal are not always so. Again, letting go is a choice.

Some of the many benefits to forgiveness are reduced emotional stress, lower blood pressure, healthier relationship and an overall greater sense of well-being.
So we know why, but how do we forgive?

First, accept that it is something you may need to work on for a while. Here are a few tips:

• Change your dialog with yourself and others about the particular situation.
• Remind yourself you only have control over your own actions and reactions.
• Remember to take control of how you feel and that no one caused you to feel this way.
• If you make a mistake, just do your best to either fix it and own up to it. This will be much less stressful than trying to cover it up. And if someone is terribly hurt by your behavior, apologize and move on. If this person can’t forgive, that’s his or her problem!
• If you feel that letting go means you will lose something dear, it is time to examine your need for anger, self-punishment, and resentment in your life. You will not be healthy until you work on this.

Essential Keys #10 Discover Your Purpose.

The Free Dictionary defines purpose as “The object toward which one strives, an anticipated outcome that is intended or that guides your planned actions”. Purpose is essential to our lives; it gives it meaning, determination and direction. Purpose is a state of mind, it colors everything with vibrancy, and without it we get stagnant and our existence turns drab and lackluster at best.

You have a purpose; there is no question about it. It may be to cure cancer; it may be to be an amazing parent. It can be something huge and it can be something humble. It does not have to be your job. It should be exciting and inspiring because when you discover it you feel completely invincible. Your time is spent doing what you enjoy most, you do it well, and it creates a positive experience to all who come in contact with you.

There is ample literature on how to find your life purpose. However, it may take more than just reading it to actually find it. Some people are very lucky and they just know, or they figured it out young. You know those people – they are fulfilled, they find a lot of enjoyment in certain activities, and they don’t doubt themselves much.

Some of us require more time to figure it out. This may be due to interference from outside ourselves, pulling us in various directions, especially as children. It may be due to not being emotionally ready to handle the knowledge.

If we live a life of constant self-doubt, we welcome confusion, and we spend our time on mindless distractions, we can miss out on finding our purpose, even if it is right under our noses.

If you know your purpose and you are just not perusing it, you may be closer than you think to unlock your door to a life of happiness. Perhaps all that is needed is a dose of self-confidence and the knowledge that as long as you pursue your passion, everything will be okay.

One article that I liked can be found on WikiHow.com. This article lay out six helpful points and tips as to how you can discover your life’s purpose.

A great book by Deepak Chopra is, “The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success,” found at http://amzn.com/1878424602.

And for great inspiration try Viktor Frankl’s “Man Search for Meaning.” Frankl is a holocaust survivor who lost his whole family and became a fulfilled man, teaching the world how to find that same happiness. http://amzn.com/0807014273

You can find the first half of the series at 10 Essential Keys to Emotional Well-Being, Part I.

Author's Bio: 

Avinoam Lerner is a Certified Hypnotherapist who uses a multi-discipline approach to healing and personal development. His practice is located in Newton, MA and his specialties include overcoming addictions, holistic weight loss, stress management, anxiety and fears. Find Avinoam’s blog, Healing Beyond Therapy, at http://mindbody101.wordpress.com/.