The Key to Happiness

Have you ever wondered why they say Happiness is an inside job? Look at all the celebrities who seem to have it all but yet choose the path of suicide, leaving all the things which should  make them happy behind – money, houses, cars, clothes, etc.

There is a scientific term which explains why “things” never make you happy – Hedonic Adaptation. In simple terms Hedonic Adaptation means once you achieve the “thing’ you pleasure, the thrill doesn’t last. The thrill is fleeting because in a short space of time we take it for granted. That’s why the statement “I will be happy when” is the uttering of a fool. 

Your level of happiness is completely dependent upon your mindset – which is influenced by your thoughts about yourself, other people and the world. The key here is how much you believe you can influence your life. 

People who believe they are victims of circumstance, and accept this is how it is, nothing ever changes, what’s the point in trying vs. How can I use this circumstance to learn and grow? If this doesn’t work I will try something else and I will continue to do until I find the solution that works for me. 

Why should  we focus on becoming happier? According to Sonja Lyubomirsky in her awesome book The How of Happiness, becoming happier

  • Boosts experiences of joy, contentment, love and pride
  • Improves energy levels, our immune system, our engagement with work and other people
  • Improves our physical and mental health
  • Boosts our feelings of self-confidence, self-esteem and feelings of worthiness

I can joyfully confirm all of the above  🙂

Photo by Stan B on Unsplash

How do you learn to be happy – like any skill you want to learn you practise. EFFORT. The dedication you apply to the gym – you need to do the same for your happiness.

Some of us will have to work harder than others because 50% of how happiness is determined by our genetics! As Sonja explains this was discovered by scientists who studied happiness in twins. 10% is determined by life circumstances  – the “things” that we wrongly believe that if we attain we will be happy. 40% of our happiness comes from our behaviour. 

Sonja suggest the following instruments for your daily happiness workout:

  1. Feel and express gratitude even for the challenges – they are your opportunities to grow .
  2. Learn to be optimistic – if you practise looking for the silver lining you will always find it.
  3. Say no to overthinking and comparing yourself to others – distract yourself, especially when you are feeling low. There is only one you who has had your life experience compare yourself to how you were in the past never to anyone else.
  4. Be kind – when we are kind we feel really good about ourselves.
  5. We feel happier when our social relationships are good – when we practise happiness all our relationships improve.
  6. Identify your triggers and develop your coping mechanisms, become the person who gets it done no matter how you feel. Remember feelings are temporary, they come and go, ride out the rough feelings and enjoy the good feelings. 
  7. Forgiveness, this is my favourite. We torture ourselves when we live in a state of unforgiveness of ourselves and others. When you forgive others it frees you, when you forgive yourself, you are lighter and so much happier.
  8. Find the things that get you into flow and do more of it – goal oriented people are happy. The happiness lies in the journey – the destination is secondary, remember Hedonic Adaptation above. 
  9. Practice savouring all that life has to offer – a clear blue sky, a bird song, breeze kissing your skin, waves crashing, the smell of rain as it hits the dry earth, the stillness of dawn, look around and you will find it.
  10. Find a goal and commit to it. This will not only make you happy, it increases your feelings of confidence, self-esteem, and worthiness. And you level up – life gets better. And when you set the next goal all of these increase, rinse and repeat. 
  11. Developing a connection with something more than you – your Spirituality. Connecting with your inner being, your internal guidance system also boosts your happiness levels
  12. Taking care of your body, nourishment, physical activity and meditation.

The choice is yours – do the things that resonate with you, but them everyday. It’s not a one and done. This is a daily commitment – a lifestyle change.

Please let me know what changes you will be rolling with for 2023.

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