Happiness is Within Our Control
I don’t know about you, but I need to step up my happiness game. In the last three years enough life stuff has happened that I felt my personal happiness dwindle. It got to a point where I just didn’t have the energy and enthusiasm that I once had for all the possibilities of life’s gifts.
Through my podcast, and through the people I have met through the beginnings of my speaking career, I ran into professional speakers who were happiness experts; people, like Deborah Peters, Psychologist, Coach, and Mindset Expert, and our guest this week on THE Amicable Divorce Expert podcast, that anyone can turn their perspective around to be the happy person we all strive to be – don’t we?
For those of you who agree that happiness is a choice but don’t know exactly how to get there, this is what I learned about the engineering of happiness:
1. It starts with our thoughts. Do we have positive thoughts about our own self-worth, our value to ourselves and to society at large? Or do we engage in “negative speech” in our inner dialogue about ourselves? Are we critical of ourselves if we do something as simple as drop an object? For those of you who are happy people this may sound extreme, but I’ll speak from personal experience and say that it’s more common than people think to get angry at ourselves for being human.
In order to turn negative thoughts around we have to be aware of them and red-flag them when negativity pops up. Stop the negative and quickly replace with a positive thought. “I’m only human. Humans drop things. How about make this a bend-and-stretch moment?” Or, wipe the thought away completely. “Thought, be gone! No place for self-criticism here.”
Another happiness expert suggested to start the day off with specific positive thoughts about ourselves. Say three things that highlight good things about ourselves: I am kind; I am generous; I am good at my job.” It may sound silly, but it actually works. Just using positive words, even if they are half-hearted at first, makes a huge difference in changing the energy within us.
2. The company we keep brands us and influences us. If we choose to be around positive, happy people, we can learn from them. We can learn how to be positive and self-accepting and appreciative of ourselves. These happy people ‘dance to their own drum’, make choices that make them feel good, and don’t use negative-speak internally. Thy actually like themselves. Even if you don’t like them; they like themselves.
3. Making life choices that please us, even if it means cutting some people out of our lives. Most unhappy people make life choices that don’t please them and that continue their state of sadness. Continuing to make choices that don’t please us needs to be sorted out with therapists, perhaps, and trusted friends and family. Is this learned behavior from our parents and other family members? Is there a predisposition genetically to be clinically depressed? Or did we grow up thinking that life is tough, life is against us, and the best we can hope for is very little? We have to take risks when making choices that please us, but isn’t it worth trying to see if there can be a different outcome if different decisions are made?
4. Accepting that shit happens to all of us. Even in the face of death, we can choose the attitude we want to use to live out our lives happy. I was reading a book on happiness by Peggy Sullivan – Happiness is our Responsibility- and she recanted a story about her mother who taught her that happiness is a choice. Peggy shared that when her mother was diagnosed with an end-of-life illness, her mother, I believe for the first time in her life, understood that happiness is a choice, and chose to live the rest of her days happy.
When our relationships are ending, be they marriages, work, or friendships, this is a growth time to reassess the entirety of our lives. Especially when ending marriages, this can be a time to change jobs, change cities, and definitely change attitudes towards ourselves and the world. Opportunities for a happiness check-in are daily. Let’s not miss today’s opportunity to see the best in our lives and march to our own drum, our own script, our own definition of life and how we want to live it.
Biography of Deborah Peters
Deborah Peters of the Neuro-Engineering Institute is a Psychologist, Mind-Set Expert, Business Coach, and host of The Journey of the Mastery of Your Mind. Deborah offers individual coaching, retreats, workshops and keynotes for continued education and personal and business success.
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