Happiness is something I find endlessly fascinating. I have spent a lot of time thinking about it; trying to get it; chasing after it and most recently trying to master it.
When it comes right down to it, once the basic necessities of life: food, water shelter, good health and sleep are all met; what else do we really want except to be happy? Why does it seem so complicated sometimes?
Happiness is the subject of endless pontification. Books, articles and poems have been written about it. Documentaries have been made about it. Studies have been done on it to determine who the happiest people on earth are, where and how do they live. We are surrounded by so many platitudes on happiness that they become almost like wallpaper, no matter how wise they are:
- Happiness can’t be bought
- Follow your bliss
- Count your blessings
- Accentuate the positive
We know how important happiness is; so why does it seem so fleeting for so many people? Why do we get so distracted by the circumstances of life that pull us down?
I came across a new happiness quote on Facebook (new to me anyway) that may shed some light on the situation:
“Be happy for no reason, like a child. If you are happy for a reason, you’re in trouble because that reason can be taken from you.”
Hmmmm… interesting, right? That Deepak Chopra is a pretty smart guy. He makes a lot of sense. Usually, we get happy because we have gotten something we’ve wanted: a car, a relationship, a job but then something happens and that initial elation begins to diminish and we begin looking for something new to regain that wonderful euphoric feeling. The funny part is that as nice as it is to have the thing, what we really want is the feeling.
So, then the question is how do you get happy if you don’t feel happy right now and how do you stay happy? That’s the rub isn’t it? If happiness isn’t about getting what you want then how do you go about getting the feeling? I’m hardly an expert on this but I have learned a few things that I will share with you now:
Be mindful: When I get into my worst funks, it’s usually because something unpleasant has happened and I get caught up in it. Before I know it, I let it sweep me into a place of self-pity where I convince myself I am a loser and things will never get better. Sounds pretty grave; doesn’t it? The easiest way to get out of a spiral like this is to realize that you are in it. Check in with yourself: How are you feeling? If you feel good, be grateful. If you feel bad, identify it and then do something to nourish yourself and take the power away from your negative feelings and then refocus that energy into something positive.
Be Grateful: Being grateful feels good and attracts more things to be grateful about. Just try it.
Breathe: Most of us in the west really don’t breathe very deeply at all. Taking a few deep breaths is like an act of personal power for me. It is something you can do anytime, anywhere. You don’t need anyone else’s permission. In my experience, it always makes me feel better. One of the reasons for this is that breathing deeply encourages the parasympathetic nervous system to trigger a relaxation response rather than the “fight or flight” response which may be induced by a stressful situation.
Invite a better feeling: Sometimes, we just feel crappy and overwhelmed. Shit happens. We get sick, hurt or heart-broken. Forgive yourself if you are having trouble keeping a stiff upper lip through the pain but always stay open to feeling better. One way to do that is through affirmations. Acknowledge that things may be crappy right now but invite something better. One of my favorite affirmations is from Louise Hay, “All is well. Everything I need comes to me at the perfect moment.” And it usually does. That doesn’t mean I get everything when I want it always but by and large things always work out.
Last one! This one may seem like being happy for a reason but it is one you have control over.
Do something you enjoy: One of the best ways to get your mind off your troubles and get happy is to do something you love. Since my accident, I am very grateful to have this blog to write every week. It gives me a continued sense of purpose while I am healing. (Not to mention, it is also a way to communicate while my jaw is wired shut.)
What makes you happy for no reason? I would love to hear your suggestions for boosting your mood.
Love and blessings to all,
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Chauncy Boo Boo Puppy Pants Lenz
“All animals except man know that the principle business of life is to enjoy it”