The word happy is continuously used to describe the quality of what we want in our lives. The interesting thing is that when asked to outline our terms of happiness, we struggle to provide actual DETAILS. Why? Because the term happiness is used as a generic ideal, a concept or quality that we believe we can construct out of external circumstances.
Happiness is NOT a concept or quality. Happiness IS an emotional state. Certainly external circumstances can elicit the emotional state of happiness, but the idea that our external circumstances will give us a quality of life called “happiness” is counterintuitive. In fact, more often than not we are our own barriers to this very healthy and positive emotion. (* Are you in your own way? Take the happiness test now * )
This could be because our day-to-day emotional baseline may be residing primarily in the negative. Our baseline can best be described as the state we are most familiar and comfortable with emotionally. We are creatures of adaptation and even emotional states become habitual patterns. So naturally if our experiences elicit a more positive or “happier” state, our subconscious will look for the loophole and convert us back to that comfortable baseline, in this case a more negative state. This explains why pessimistic feelings can appear seemingly out of nowhere, following the experience of something positive.
So what to do if you discover you are habituated in a more negative state? Well, you must LEARN to become comfortable with the REGULAR presence of the emotional FEELING of happiness. It is actually necessary to train yourself to become familiar with the regularity of a more positive state. Consider it a happiness bootcamp ☺
By gradually increasing the frequency of feeling happy, you become more comfortable residing in this state. In other words you are creating a habit of feeling happy. The first step in training yourself is to determine what circumstances elicit feelings of happiness. Take note of where you are, what you are doing and who is around you. The next step is then to design your future circumstances accordingly.
It is important to note that just like training our bodies at the gym, these happiness training habits require persistence. Success does not happen overnight. The good news is that you can change.
There may be times when, despite your greatest effort, you discover that you are stuck in a negative habitual pattern. This is when it may be helpful to seek out resources in the form of a coach, counselor, therapist or group. Support is always useful when making ANY changes in life. So share your goal and make happiness your new habit!
Wishing you complete success and health,
Founder Positive Constructs, LLC