How Do We Become Happy?

Do you find yourself thinking that this world is only going to get worse, that the news is never good news, and sometimes get overcome with fear for the future? I know I have. I can easily get stuck thinking that life will only get worse and that my present life is full of hardship and stress sprinkled with a few good moments.

I have known for years that I should not let my circumstances dictate my happiness, but they did anyway. Life was hard and I could find plenty of evidence to support that belief. I only had to turn on the news for five minutes or glance at the headlines, and could say with confidence, "See! it's all going to hell in a handbasket!" Then I would look around me and see further evidence of a world gone awry. Friends and family who struggled with depression, sickness, broken relationships, divorce, even death. Good news of any sort seemed temporary, a fleeting shaft of light through the cloud of doom, soon to be gone. 

I "knew better" than to focus on the negative and would make valiant attempts to refocus, to redirect and to try to look at the positive. However, I never seriously considered that looking at the negative was a habit, a way of thinking that was clouding my perspective; that changing my habit required work on my part. Until I saw a TED talk that inspired me to help me see the benefits of a positive outlook on life.

Shawn Achor asserts that " The absence of disease is not health". He goes on to state that getting to health means we need to reverse the formula for happiness and success. We so often think we will be happy when we are successful, but then when we reach our goal, we set new goals, and happiness becomes elusive. We think we will by happy when we lose weight, get a promotion, graduate or get married, that we will finally be happy when we are wealthy. Achor states that instead, training our brain to be positive turns on the dopamine center in our brain, which means our creativity, energy and intelligence all rise.  Who wouldn't want that? 

Based on Shawn's suggestions, I decided to take on his 21 day challenge. For the next 21 days, I will do the following four things: 

1. Write down three new things each day for which I'm grateful.

2. Journaling about one positive experience I've had in the past 24 hours. 

3. Meditate to slow down and focus on one thing. 

4. Do random acts of kindness, such as sending an email praising or thanking those in my social support network. 

Who would like to join me? Send me an email at allculturalcounseling@gmail.com and let's encourage each other! 

To become inspired and motivated further, watch Shawn's Ted Talk: Happiness Factor

 

For further help and information, please contact me at 720-201-5030