Who wants to be Happy?
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Graeme Orr MBACP(Accred), UKRCP Reg. Ind. Counsellor
29th May, 20130 Comments
Most of us say that we want to be happier; yet ask how that might be achieved and we start to reach for our thinking caps. A few brave souls might say "by getting more money" or "becoming famous", "by having power" or "by being more attractive". Yet I am sure that we can recall at least one person who bucks that trend and shows that, while desirable for some, there is no guarantee of happiness once you're in possession of these things. They might make us happy for a short time, but soon the desire for more or better returns.
So, can you become happier? It may surprise you to learn that a lot of what makes us happy is under our control. It is about our reaction to the situations we find ourselves in. We can create good feelings by recognising our family and friends and what they bring us. We can look at successes we have had and may have in the future. All too often our judgement of happiness is a comparison to others and what they have that we don't. We are so busy looking at what is not there that we miss being happy for the things that we do have.
Studies have shown that doing things for others makes us happy. An experiment was carried out in which some people were asked to carry out three random acts of kindness for colleagues or friends. As you might imagine, those on the receiving end felt good; however, the surprise was that those giving something felt better for longer, and everyone felt happier as a result. It also inspired some of those receiving to perform the same giving acts, and so the happiness spread. So think of how you might help others, and how that might make you feel about yourself.
Investing in your relationships will help; knowing that your relationships are going well can create a happy environment that fosters goodwill and keeps you buoyant when difficulties strike. This is not a call to a Pollyanna existence, but rather an acknowledgement that close relationships can have a huge impact on your mood, how you cope with stress and so forth - therefore being in a place where all concerned can be open and honest means there will be less stress and anxiety when supporting one another through problems. By building up the emotional bank account with kind words and acts you will reap the benefit when hard times come.
Of course, even when we know what to do it can be hard to motivate ourselves. Will the diet work this time? Can I give up smoking? Repeat for any number of things we try to change. We seem to have tried so hard, yet when we fail our mood plummets and we are not very happy. The secret is to start small with goals that you can easily achieve so that you start to feel happy about your successes. Remember that, as you try something new, there are bound to be failures - so see them as part of the learning process, and think of what they have taught you, not what you got wrong.
In conclusion, we cannot all get rich, beautiful or famous quickly, but we can choose to invest in our relationships, to help others, appreciate that which we have and really enjoy each moment. We can choose to be happy if we want.
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