3 Steps To Dialling Up Your Happiness Meter


 

Abstract:
 

Have you ever wondered why some people seem happier than others? You may think, d’oh, they’re probably rich and healthy. But that assumption doesn’t hold up to research.
 

If you’re like most people, you have experienced periods of intense happiness. However, that often doesn’t last, although circumstances might not have changed.
 

Your mission today is to learn how to increase your capacity for happiness.
 
 

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Task 1: The happiness thermostat

 

“Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.” -Abraham Lincoln
 

I don’t think this is quite true, as happiness is not just a matter of the mind. However, it seems that we all have an internal happiness setting that we subconsciously strive to maintain. Gay Hendricks calls it the “Upper Limit”.
 

Your happiness tends to follow the setting of your own inner thermostat. It works both way: If something happens to make you very sad, after a while you’ll return to normal. Similarly, if something happens which lifts you above your usual happiness levels, you’ll eventually return to your personal setting.
 

Your Happiness

Photo by Gabrielle Henderson on unsplash.com


 

Task 2: 3 Steps to change your happiness habits

 

It’s as simple and as difficult as changing the settings on your happiness barometer. Simple, because it’s not hard to understand. Hard, because it’s like pedalling a bike uphill. You could call it your happiness habit.
 

Here are 3 steps to get you started:

  1. Pursue your passion. You know that one was coming, didn’t you? But you see, it works. It’s also an excellent way of detecting if something’s wrong.
  2. The Gratitude habit. Write down three or five things you’re grateful for every evening before you go to bed. Don’t just write it, though, really feel the emotion of gratitude.
  3. Get Coaching. Sound lame, coming from a Coach? I’m recommending it because Coaching is the best method for changing habits and sticking things out over the required period of time to make the change permanent.

Can You Have Happiness On Tap?

Happiness

When I started out on the fascinating journey of personal development nearly 20 years ago, my life evolved into technicolour. It was enriching and led to so much growth, I’ll be eternally grateful to those who first started me out on my way.
 

A few subjects have the gurus divided, though. For example, most of them agree that in order to attract good things, you need to develop a positive outlook on life. However, some take it as far as saying that any negative feelings are detrimental and should be avoided at all costs. Others, among them psychologists, point out that to try and suppress feelings like anger and sadness can lead to serious mental health problems.
 

In my experience both personally and as a Coach, the latter group have the right of it. There’s nothing wrong with negative emotions, they are part of life, normal and healthy. The important part is how you deal with your emotions, because that’s what determines actual levels of happiness. Wallowing in the negative and looking for the fly in every ointment is definitely not the way to go.
 

There are certain, very simple steps anyone can take in order to be happier in life. A lot of them are easy to do but require you to form a habit. Therefore, I recommend trying any or all of the following for at least a period of several weeks in order to fully experience the increase in happiness.
 
 

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Authenticity and positivity

 

Instead of panicking whenever you feel something you don’t deem “spiritual” or “positive”, try and choose authenticity. Be completely honest with yourself and experience the full extent of your emotions. This may even require you to cry, or to grumble or even yell for a bit. It’s all good.
 

Positivity comes in when the immediate emotional response has been dealt with. It’s not useful to wallow in your negative feelings indefinitely and won’t accomplish anything. When you’re ready, gently steer yourself towards pleasant thoughts and activities you enjoy. Surround yourself by people you love and by plenty of Self Care.
 

Remember the movie “The Secret” where Rev Beckwith explains that a positive thought has a much stronger vibration than a negative one? So it’s not necessary to always be smiling. However, it’s a good thing to feel good more often on balance.
 
 

Passion

 

You knew this was going to come up sooner or later, didn’t you? Indeed, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t mention passion. The simple fact is that nothing is more important than doing what lights you up when it comes to your personal happiness.
 

There’s a reason why I talk about prioritising passion so much. It’s not just about making time for your passion (or multiple passions); it’s about radically putting it first. This results in a mindset shift which almost automatically increases happiness. It works every time and it’s like magic – try it!
 

If you’re very busy, you may think you can’t afford to prioritise what lights you up, but I’m here to tell you: You can’t afford not to. Focusing on your passion creates space in your life for everything else. Dare to schedule in your passion(s) before anything else. If you’re struggling with this, consider Coaching. This is exactly what I specialise in.
 
 

The habit of happiness

 

As I mentioned above, happiness is just like any other habit, it needs to be practised for a while in order to become fully established. Here are a few shortcuts to help you along the way:
 

Check in with yourself. At least 2-3 times a day, pause for a moment to sit still, take a few deep breaths and ask yourself how you feel. Really listen for the answer. Act on it: If you’re tired, try taking a nap, if you’re hungry, feed your body.
 

Practise gratitude. Every day, list at least three things you’re grateful for. They can be tiny, or the same things every day, but be sure to list them and truly feel your gratitude.
 

Look after your body. Get enough sleep, eat well, exercise. In order to be able to focus on your passion and live your life to the full, your vehicle – your body – needs to be in top condition. Make sure it is.
 

Have a little patience with yourself. If you stick with the above techniques, happiness is practically inevitable. It’s worth the effort!

3 Signs You’re Not As Happy As You Could Be

Happiness

Years ago, I was in a slump. Nothing much ever happened in my life, and I liked it that way – or at least, that’s what I told myself. I wasn’t unhappy, after all! It took me years to figure out that an absence of pain or suffering, doesn’t necessarily mean everything’s all right.
 

It’s incredibly hard to find guidance on this. I myself have discovered that pursuing my passions gives me that buzz that lifts life from ok to amazing, but I never want to give the impression that in order to do things right, you need to be overjoyed all the time. That kind of pressure usually has the opposite effect: it makes you feel miserable, like a failure.
 

Conventional advice would have you believe that getting a good education, then a good job, a family, and then a house, car, and other material possessions, are the key. It’s a fairly universal assumption that “working hard” and achieving these milestones will make you happy. The majority of people ignore the overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
 

I’m going to try to look beyond exterior criteria such as money or position in the world. Here are some factors which indicate happiness more reliably than material wealth.

[bctt tweet=”Here are some factors which indicate happiness more reliably than material wealth. https://www.wildspiritscoaching.com/happiness”]

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What is happiness, anyway?

 

I’ve done a lot of research on the subject of happiness, for a course I once offered (which is now an ebook exclusively available for my Coaching clients). It’s a difficult subject to study because happiness is so subjective. Studies have come up with some common ground though.
 

One indicator of happiness seems to be progress. A person who is constantly moving towards goals, regardless even of whether or not they succeed, are generally happier than their fellow humans who spend every evening on the couch. Another criterion is gratitude; apparently, it’s impossible to feel grateful and unhappy at the same time.
 

My personal experience is that happiness is in direct proportion to pursuing my passion. Anything that keeps me from doing so, or harder-to-grasp reasons for me being inactive, are all red flags. I’ve decided to list a few of those, in order to define happiness by the symptoms of its absence.
 
 

Red Flag #1: Food love

 

This isn’t about massages or expensive beauty treatments, although they can go a long way towards appreciating yourself. No, what I’m talking about is much more basic.
 

For me, the way I eat is a sure-fire indicator. When everything’s all right, I crave whole, plant-based foods which give me energy and strength. I do occasionally eat junk food, but this happens once or twice a month, and when I start getting takeaways more often than that, something’s off. Junk food makes me sluggish and lethargic, and I’ve long realised that I subconsciously use it to numb my emotions and hide from the world – and my passion.
 
 

Red Flag #2: Exercise

 

Exercise is related to eating habits. Once I’m low in energy, it becomes almost impossible to kick myself into action. I find excuses, and day after day passes without me moving at all.
 

Plenty of my clients come to me saying they hate exercise but would like to get into a routine because they know it’s healthy. Once they kick themselves into action, they come back gushing: “Oh my god, I’d forgotten how much fun it is!” Isn’t that interesting?
 
 

Red Flag #3: Social life

 

We all have different needs when it comes to socialising. Some are extroverts and relish all company, whereas many introverts prefer one-on-one meetings with close friends. As human beings, we all need a degree of social interaction, though.
 

If I find myself declining invitations and never mustering the energy to drive to an event I’m actually interested in, it means I’m in hibernation mode. Don’t get me wrong: It can be an act of self care to take a few days or a week off to just be alone, but if this continues for a long period of time, there’s something else going on.
 

The challenge with all the above is that the signs are very subtle and tend to creep up on us. And as I said above, if you’re not unhappy, you may tell yourself that all’s well. But really, life can be so much more. You deserve to feel blissful instead of just ok. Get some support and get moving! Once you gain momentum, you’ll be so glad you made the effort.

[bctt tweet=”Life can be so much more. You deserve to feel blissful instead of just ok. https://www.wildspiritscoaching.com/happiness”]