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Georgianna has an article entitled, "The Secret is Out" (page #23) printed in Yoga & Health Magazine's April 2007 issue.

The "Happiness - A Thought Away" article printed in the Yoga Alliance Yoga Matter newsletter was reprinted in this May 2007 issue of Yoga, Mind Body Spirit

September/October 2006 Fall Issue

Yoga for Life!

Happiness is Just a Thought Away: Using Meditation to Change Your Life
By Georgianna Anderson, RYT, SMC

Happiness: how do you describe it? How do you feel it?

Happiness is this innate part of life that eludes many of us most of the time. Life is challenging, devastating, rewarding, contemplative, nurturing, and sometimes happy. In my teachings as a yoga teacher and therapist, it never ceases to amaze me how much people desire something as simple as feeling happy. Everyone wants to feel good, feel valued, and feel real. Happiness is often seen as a coveted award for the select few - celebrities, the wealthy, the powerful. Not true!

Happiness is just a thought away. Really. Let's explore how to be happy every day. The hardest part is just believing that you can be happy just because you choose to be. I have shared this time and again, always with the same result. Everyone leaves happy. Staying that way, that is the challenge.

For just a moment, think of something that makes you feel happy. Imprint that image or thought into your head and sit with it for a full two minutes. Roll it around. Savor it. Now, do you "feel" happy? Has your attitude shifted just a little bit? Yes? Where did that change come from? Why did just thinking a happy thought make you feel happy? Take this a step further and think about the feeling of "happy", not associating it with any memory or situation (again, give yourself two minutes). If you're really working with me, you may feel happy without relating it to any particular place or event. Now we're getting somewhere.

Now that your paradigm has shifted, how do we take the next step in being honestly content in our lives? Wouldn't that be wonderful? This is where the effort begins. You have the potential for great joy in your life at all times - you just need to find it within yourself and bring it into consciousness.

Meditation is a great tool for allowing you to experience any emotion with great detail, feeling and commitment. Let's do another exercise. Give yourself a whole five minutes for this one! Sit comfortably, preferably in a chair that supports your upper back and spine. Both feet are on the floor and your hands are comfortable on your lap. Close your eyes and notice your breath entering and exiting. Count 10 deep breaths and then relax deeper into your chair. Allow the breath to move freely in and out. Move your awareness to the word "happiness". See it printed on the back of your eyelids. Hear it spoken by your inner voice. Feel it connected to your breathing. As you breathe in say "happiness"; as you breathe out say "within". "Happiness - Within". Continue this breathing mantra for a few minutes. Try putting a little smile on your face while doing this. It feels good!

Just five minutes into your meditation you notice a shift in your attitude. Maybe you can't put your finger on it but it's definitely there. You realize that you feel better, you feel happy just because you chose to. The good feeling didn't come from making the cover of People,, winning the lottery or any other "external" symptom. It's within you all the time.

Here's the challenge. You can wake up every morning and choose to be happy. You can drive your car in rush hour and choose to stay calm. You can have a difference of opinion with someone and choose to not get upset. Life is all about our choices. If you experience a negative thought or feeling that won't go away, it's because you choose to dwell on it. Let it go. Choose to feel happy again, to feel ok about yourself.

It takes practice. What we practice, we strengthen. Wake up every day and plant a happy thought. Ride it as long as you can and refresh it as often as needed. Nourish your ability to feel good. Put positive notes in places you'll see them every day. If you realize your feelings of happiness have slipped away, just accept it and get back in there with renewed determination. Keep coming back; keep showing up. Have other happy people into your life, it's contagious. When in doubt, breath "Happiness - Within".

~ Georgianna lives in Phoenix, AZ with her two Italian Greyhounds. She teaches yoga as a profession and is offering this healing modality to some of the Indian communities in her area.