2 Pints of Happiness and a Packet of Crisps Please
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Andrea Harrn Psychotherapist and Author of The Mood Cards
27th April, 2011
For many years we have been sold the idea that happiness will be ours if only we have the latest gadget, car, lifestyle, mobile phone etc. These ideas have been fed to us via myth and media and have fuelled consumerism and the desire to gain a happy status or identity in a material world. Whilst it’s important to have goals and challenges the reality is that in chasing the dream many of us have forgotten how to be happy. We are either caught up in a rat race, chasing our tails or maybe we have lost sight of the race altogether and given up on life being the way we want it.
Happiness is not a commodity to be bought and sold and if it could be bottled what price could we put on it.
THE GOOD NEWS is that we can all be happy, no matter where or what you are doing at this time in your life you can be happy.
Happiness is a state of mind that enables positive energy to flow freely through our physical body.
When you have thoughts of happiness this will trigger happy feelings inside and the happier we feel gives us more potential to feel even happier. Its the mind body connection - even thinking about something happy will trigger and release endorphins in the brain which will react to each positive thought and turn it into a happy feeling of positive energy inside your body. When you feel happy you will think, act and behave in a more positive way, which will release yet more endorphins, and so the cycle will continue. Your brain knows the difference between positive and negative. It also knows that positive energy needs happy feelings
The following TEN TIPS will help you to connect with happiness
1. Become fully present in the NOW
Many people find themselves caught up in thoughts of the past and the future, ruminating and worrying about what’s been and gone or what’s to come, which stops you from gaining the most from your life.
Focus instead on this moment in time, where you are now – ask yourself – at this particular moment do I have anything to worry about. Learn to be mindful and raise your conscious awareness of where you are in the moment. When you can accept what is without resistance you will find calm and happiness within. Letting go of worries, stress and anxiety will lead to a happier you.
If there is a problem and you can do something about it then you don’t need to worry because you can act to resolve the problem. If there’s a problem and you can’t do anything about it then there’s no point in worrying because there’s nothing you can do about it anyway.
2. Create a well of happiness within
To start this think back to the last time you were happy, close your eyes and take your mind back to where you were. What do you remember seeing, who was there? What sounds do you remember? Any tastes or smells associated with that experience? Using all your senses re-create that moment in your mind. Now breathe into that feeling and let your body sink into the happy feelings.
3. Think about what makes you Happy
Make a Happiness List to include everything you can think of that promotes or promoted happy feelings inside you. This list may include being around certain people or doing certain activities, having goals or perhaps doing nothing at all. Take your time to make the list until you have a good list in front of you (try to find at least ten examples). If you find this hard then try and remember what you enjoyed when you were much younger as it may be that you will still enjoy that experience now.
3. Look at your Happiness List
Go through each point on your list and think about the last time you experienced that situation. Against each point write an example of a happy memory associated with it. With each example take some time to go back to that memory for just a few moments (or more) and re-experience it. Place that happy memory into your well of happiness.
4. Look for what is Missing
If there’s anything that is not on your list that you would like to see there add it to your list even if its not present at the moment in your life. For example if you’ve always wanted to travel or see the world but haven’t done that yet – put it on the list. There may be things on your list that you haven’t done for ages or not given enough time to lately.
5. List the Obstacles
Ask yourself why you no longer do X, Y or Z. Make a list of the reasons or obstacles that stop you. Many people get so caught up in doing life that they forget to just “be” alive. When you list the obstacles be honest with yourself about the answers. If there are underlying fears or anxieties stopping you then list those too. Once you can face your obstacles they will reduce in power.
6. Find Solutions
This step may mean making an inventory of your life and your attitudes towards life. It may also involve a radical shift towards a more balanced life style. If you want to find happiness then bring back the things that make you happy. If necessary put some changes in place.
8. Be Yourself
You are not in this world to please others and they are not in this world to please you. Imagine you could live your life not being judged or criticised for the person you are. Stop judging yourself and start being kind and compassionate to the person you are and let that person be free.
9. Find New Meaning
Look for more ways to be happy. Find new ways to connect with others. Look for opportunities to give through random acts of kindness or charity work. Set yourself meaningful goals and challenges. Accept your life as an opportunity for learning about yourself and the world around you.
10. Think about the Following:
- If you feel happy inside you will experience a calm sense of wellbeing.
- If you feel happy inside you won't be looking to other people to act, do things or behave in certain ways.
- If you feel happy inside you will feel more confident and able to do things for yourself
- If you feel happy inside you will not be in a mood to criticise or find fault with others
- If you feel happy inside you don't need to be jealous or envious of anyone else
- If you feel happy inside you won't apportion blame to other people or groups of people
- If you feel happy inside you will be accepting of what is
- If you feel happy inside you will be able to form happy loving relationships with others
- If you feel happy inside your energy will improve and your energy field (the aura around you) will be positive which will in turn attract people to you
This article takes an integrative approach to health and wellbeing including cognitive behavioural therapy and mindfulness practice.
About the author
Andrea Harrn is a psychotherapist and author of The Mood Cards, a self-help card deck of 42 moods and emotions to explore for emotional intelligence and well-being.
Andrea works using an integrative model of therapy and has worked with hundreds of clients over 15 years, helping them find clarity, balance, peace and happiness.
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