The humble and wise Ghandi said, “Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”
With all the joys and demands of parenting, work life, etc., it’s easy to get so busy that we don’t even think to stop and consider how our thoughts, words, and actions relate to each other. But, I’m convinced that they do relate to each other and that if we make effort to stay mindful, we can create greater harmony in our lives.
What You Think
Your thoughts are such a powerful tool in your life. What you think can dictate what you do. If your thoughts are scattered, chances are you’ll be more unorganized in your actions. If your thoughts are negative, you might find yourself feeling, speaking, or behaving negatively to others. Likewise, the things you think about the most tend to become priority in your life choices.
Try to take time at least once each day to clear out your mind. Whether you choose to spend time in quiet meditation or prefer to sit down with a pen and paper to do a “brain dump,” making effort to clean out those thoughts can help you identify what kind of things you’re thinking about. From there, you can better organize and prioritize.
When you find negative thoughts creeping in or overtaking your mind, try to pause for a moment and turn those thoughts right around into positive ones. This isn’t always easy, I know. However, when we empower ourselves to adjust our own thoughts, we also give ourselves the power to adjust the words and actions that might follow, which just might start a chain reaction of strength, kindness, and positivity.
What You Say
How many of life’s problems, misunderstandings, offenses, or hassles come back to an issue with communication? Then again, how many of life’s triumphs, accomplishments, and joys are celebrated by communication as well? Our words have the power to uplift or tear down, to clarify or to confuse, to help or to hurt.
Being intentional with your words takes time, effort, and refinement. Practicing good communication in all relationships – from a quick interaction at the grocery store, to the way we talk to family members, to the manner in which we address coworkers – can have such a positive impact on the success of those relationships. I have heard it said that we should “taste our words before we spit them out,” and it seems to me that so many of our conversations would go better if we did just that.
Another thing to remember is to not leave important things unsaid. I don’t believe our world could ever have too many honest compliments, encouraging words, or uplifting hellos.
What You Do
While we don’t have power over the choices and actions of other people, it is a privilege and a gift to have power over our own choices and actions. Every moment of our existence is filled with choices. We choose when to wake up, we choose what to do and not do each day, we choose how to behave. Our actions, like our words, can be the beginning of a chain reaction not only for ourselves, but for those we know and interact with.
Do you behave with integrity, kindness, consideration, patience, and grace? Or do you find yourself acting with pride, bitterness, impatience, or neglect? None of us are perfect, of course. We all have our bad days and we all behave in ways we might regret later on. But, if we recognize the moment of choice that comes just before we act, our eyes might be opened to how our actions can impact others… and we might just choose the better way.
While different circumstances and scenarios may call for different behavior, do we find ourselves acting with different intentions or conduct at home, at work, or in social settings? Or is there a consistency to our character throughout various settings? These are things we can reflect on and, again, things we have the power to choose to change or improve.
If Ghandi is right, and we can obtain and experience more happiness in our personal lives when our thoughts, words, and actions are in harmony, don’t you think the same is true in a marriage? A family? A company? A society?
As each of us practice improving our thoughts, words, and actions, and aligning them in harmony, I believe we can impact those around us to do the same. Not only that, but if we, as the mother of a family or as the leader of a team, implement a set of consistent and complimentary thoughts, words, and behaviors for the units we lead, maybe – just maybe – we’ll see greater happiness and success there, too.