The Pursuit of Happiness
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Karen Mistlin
10th May, 2009
Life continually brings challenges so how can happiness be maintained amidst life’s demands?
You don’t find happiness, you make happiness, it is a pro active process.
Achieving happiness is a choice, by embarking on a journey of self discovery life can become more meaningful. Through increased self awareness choices can be made that can pave the way to happiness by doing what brings YOU the most meaning and contentment. Don’t think of happiness as a mood but as a philosophy of life. It’s a frame of mind, a way of re-adjusting your thoughts, not something you “feel” all the time.
Listed below are just few suggestions to hopefully inspire a happier way of being:
1. RELAX – Lighten up and try not to take yourself so seriously. Stress can cause many mental, physical and spiritual problems in your life. One of the major causes of stress is worrying about things that are out of your control. Constantly worrying about things? Assess their condition or cause, whether you yourself can do anything to improve the situation. I you can, work on it. If you can’t, learn to recognise that these situations are simply out of your power and control and should be out of your mind as well! Learn from mistakes, work around them and move on. Set aside time each day for you to reflect on the day’s events and simply have some “you” time.
2. SMILE – You will be surprised how much of an immediate physical difference smiling has on your mood. If you smile and force a little laugh, you will feel your mood lighten, and you won’t have to force it the next time. Laughter is a powerful, positive medicine.
3. TAKE THE GOOD WITH THE BAD – No-one is happy all of the time. We cannot change the past, but we can enjoy the present, and look positively to the future. Obstacles will always be in our way, holding us back and knocking us down – it is a part of life. Realise this and avoid becoming down or starting to think too negatively about a situation. Good and bad wouldn’t exist and be in balance without each other.
4. BE THANKFUL – A cliché perhaps, but learn to be grateful for what you have, rather than what you don’t. Look around you, carefully realise how lucky you are whether it be a loving family, great friends, and amazing job or simply a roof over your head. Focus on making the most of the gifts you have been given.
5. BE YOURSELF- Throughout our lives, we often don’t take the time to get to know ourselves and sometimes this can lead to levels of personal discontentment. Counselling can provide this opportunity by helping you to be honest with yourself, by exploring questions such as, What you want out of life? What makes you truly happy? Who do you want to be? People have a tendency to hold themselves back or fake things to become well-liked. Don’t be afraid to be who you really are. You owe it to yourself to do one thing: Be You!
6. FOCUS ON THE OBJECTIVE – If the thoughts you are thinking are not giving you that ‘good feeling’, then think about something else what will make you feel good in that moment. Observe your thoughts and ideas consistently throughout the day. Sometimes not easy if you are stuck in a “destructive” train of thought and your brain chemicals are being fired up and forming anxiety or anger thoughts. These thoughts can be interrupted by focusing on something else, try and go back to picturing scenes/imagining, planning stuff that makes you feel good.
7. DEVELOP HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS – If you are in a relationship, strive to make that relationship healthy, maintain this by making an effort and enjoying your time. Support each other through hard times, and rejoice in the good moments. Choose friends carefully, friends who are supportive, caring and encouraging.
8. DIVERSIFY – Studies show that the happiest people often have several things going on in their lives at once. They have a career, a relationship, a hobby, social activities, and exercise routine. They volunteer, meditate, learn new things etc…
9. MAKE SOMEONE ELSE HAPPY- When you are feeling powerless to create happiness in your life, do something to make someone else – anyone – happy and you’ll remember how easy it can be. It is often true that the most discontented people are the ones who are selfish, demanding and inconsiderate of others.
10. FORGIVE AND FORGET – Try not to allow yourself to be overcome by anger, sorrow, wrath or life. When you release others and let them go, you release yourself to live life to the fullest as well. Accept people’s apologies, even when they are not packaged exactly the way you hoped. Move on. Forgive yourself too. Nobody is perfect, we all make mistakes. Learn from your mistakes and move on.
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