… and go with me on this.
Imagine a really close friend gets in touch with you and tells you the most exciting news, something really, really wonderful has just happened to them.
You hear the excitement in their voice, they can’t wait to tell you all about it and share this special moment with you.
Close your eyes now and take a moment to picture this. Which friend is telling you their news? What are they telling you? Really experience it, feel it, add the details… and then read on.
How did you feel?
Warm inside? Did you smile?
Were you pleased, did you feel happy?
This little exercise shows you don’t actually need to ‘do’ anything to feel happy.
Your brain is wired to produce happy chemicals not only when you experience something pleasing, but also when you think about something positive.
Many of us place conditions on happiness. I will be happy when…
… I get a promotion, my own house, get married, finish that project, get a new car, find a relationship, fill in the _____ for yourself. For me it is the end of my to-do list, because then I can really relax, and do what makes me happy!
Postponing happiness seems rather a waste when you can actually claim happiness right here and now!
It is human nature to lean towards a negative mindset. In ancient times it didn’t pay to stop and admire the pretty stripy cat that jumped out at you.
Today our brain still goes into fight or flight mode when faced with something unexpected or stressful. The negative mindset that meant survival yesterday, often just equals an inappropriate reaction and the need to apologize today.
However, an awareness of this negative mindset gives us the opportunity to flip our thinking and choose the opposite.
And so… drum roll please…
The first Secret to Happiness is choosing happiness, right here and now… and continuing to choose it time and time again.
Life is not perfect, it rains on the best of us and there are plenty of reasons you can feel unhappy. One negative thought easily leads to another and then you have the perfect excuse to feel miserable with your lot in life. It is normal to feel sad, stressed, to worry, and feel down at times, but the trick is not to go down that negative spiral, instead to bounce back from hardship, to look for the silver linings, and choose happiness.
“The next time you start complaining about your lot in life, don’t listen.” From ‘100 more ways to keep your soul alive – Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat.
If you want to be happy… look for the reasons to be happy right now. Look for the things that are good in your life, direct your thoughts and turn your attention to the things that make you feel good. Ultimately, it is your choice.
“We don’t need more money, we don’t need greater success or fame, we don’t need the perfect body or even the perfect mate. Right now, at this very moment, we have a mind, which is all the basic equipment we need to achieve complete happiness”. The Dalai Lama
PS no-one said this is easy, which leads onto the second Secret to Happiness, watch this space 😊