In this article I will outline some tips on how to build your happiness muscle. Did you know that if you win tattslotto tomorrow it is very likely that in a year from now you will be no happier than you are today? Sounds unbelievable doesn’t it. But it’s true. This is because we all have what psychologists call an inbuilt happiness set point. Our external situation actually doesn’t define our happiness. Have you ever had the experience of working really hard to achieve some goal or another, only to find that when you got what you wanted, the goal posts shifted? We live in a culture that dictates external markers of success: going higher and higher on the corporate ladder, building bigger and better houses or improving the ones we have, making more and more money, having better and better holidays. The list is endless and can easily be substituted for the success of our children, our body images and appearances. No sooner do we reach one pillar of “success” than we find ourselves striving and searching for the next allusive hit or kick. Yet 40% of people on the world’s wealthiest list are more unhappy than the average person.
It is our mind, our attitudes, belief systems and values that creates a framework for happiness. It follows then that happiness is a learnable skill for we can change our attitudes and we now know, thanks to recent discoveries of neuroscience, that we can reprogram our brains.
So what are the qualities that happy people have that set them apart from others? Happy people take responsibility for their happiness. They do not play the complain, blame and shame game. They do not participate in the “poor me” victim story and they have let go of the “why me?” paradigm.
According to Marci Shimoff who has created a model for happiness which she entitles “Happy for No Reason,” research has shown that happy people generally have some definable qualities:
• Happy people are light, they radiate a quality of being easy going, of not taking themselves too seriously.
• They are able to live now: that is they live in the present moment. They do not spend their lives consumed by anxiety about the past or the future. You might say they adopt the motto of “yesterday is history, tomorrow is mystery, today is a
• Happy people are passionate. They generate an enthusiasm wherever they go, they give off an energy that says they are excited about life.
• Optimistic about giving and receiving support, happy people expect the best. They focus on solutions not on problems and here you might say they adopt the motto of “be part of the solution not the problem.” They look for the lessons and opportunities in any given situation, and believing that all experience can be a learning experience, they are able to be at peace with what is.
Happiness then it seems can be a decision. Happy people cultivate an acceptance which reduces their resistance to life and increases their flowing with life. We can increase our capacity for happiness thereby creating a foundation for building a happy life. The Dalai Lama believes that a kind of stable inner happiness is obtained by approaching life with an inner attitude of moving towards life rather than away from it, which he says can have a very profound effect on making us more receptive and open to the joy of living. Perhaps the last word can go to Stephanie Dowrick renowned writer and psychotherapist who says in her book Choosing Happiness Life and Soul Essentials “In taking responsibility for your own happiness you are waking up your will to be happy. It doesn’t mean that you will be innately cheerful from this day forward. It does mean though that happiness (trust, inner confidence and wellbeing) can become your basic stance. In the countless moments of choice you will choose to pay attention to what is positive rather than negative, to what is possible; to what is connecting; to what is uplifting; to what is fair and just – even “good”.
© Margie Ulbrick
If you would like some support with your relationships or creating greater happiness in your life, please contact me on 0403 814 477 for a free 10-minute consultation to discuss your needs.