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In answering the question “what can I do to be happier” we have to first look at happiness and define what it really is we are seeking. Here’s the deal with happiness.
Sourced externally (relies on “mental ruts” or automatic/subconscious thoughts)
Dependent on circumstances
Having what you want
Based on what is happening
A FEELING based on circumstances
BOTTOM LINE: Happiness is a feeling.
Let’s consider feelings f
or a minute.
We are all familiar with feelings right?? Not the description of them, but the actual feeling. Soul-deep clenching or releasing or wobbling.
These feelings can govern us and keep us walking on eggshells inside our own body. Think about the terms we associate with feelings: mixed feelings, emotional rollercoaster, life’s ups and downs, pit of despair, go to pieces, on top of the world, and bent out of shape to name a very few (and this is just in english). Consider other languages and how words were invented to identify what exactly it is that is going on in the body.
German - Feirabend: the festive mood at the end of the working day.
Hungarian - Pihentagyu: ‘with a relaxed brain,’ being quick witted and sharp
Georgian - Shemomec
hama: eating past the point of satiety due to sheer enjoyment
Japanese - Koi no yokan: the feeling, on meeting someone, that falling in love will be inevitable.
Japanese - Shinrinyoku: the relaxation gained from bathing in the forest (figuratively or literally)
YIddish - Kvell: feeling pride and joy in someone else’s accomplishments
Norwegian - Tyvsmake: to taste or eat small pieces of food when you think nobody is watching, especially when cooking
Sanskrit - Sukha: genuine lasting happiness independent of circumstances
Bantu - Mbuki-mvuki: to shed clothes to dance uninhibited
What do all these feelings have in common?
They are temporary. Even happiness is temporary. That is why, when I am helping a client “get happier” with their life we focus, instead, on joy!
Let’s look a little closer at joy.
Sourced internally (created with new/conscious thoughts)
Independent of circumstances
Act of will
Wanting what you have
Based on what you know
A THOUGHT that defies circumstances
BOTTOM LINE: If happiness is a feeling then…
Joy is the thought that makes that feeling happen!
This should excite us! Why?
Thoughts can be challenged and changed. In the cognitive behavioral therapy cascade of THINK → FEEL → DO the place that change occurs is ONLY in the think. It is the original hack!
So let’s get down to business. What can we DO to find and keep joy!
Train Your Thoughts
Look past the feeling
Change the thought (may have to neutralize the thought first)
Prime Your Day
Move your body
Give yourself a pep talk
Be Prepared for THOUGHT TRAPS & MIND RUTS
Drain the drama
Give it a place
Put your brain on a scale