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Am I Happy?

It is necessary to be aware of what makes you unhappy.

Source: Pixabay

Let’s start with what makes us happy.

The elements have been worded in many ways, inscribed on many lists, and considered by many happy (and unhappy) people, but they all contain the same basic six ingredients:

1) Be grateful and express your gratitude. “When you appreciate what you have, what you have appreciates in value.” (Jacob Sokol). There is an important introspective rule in this category. If we are not happy with what we currently have, the odds are fairly high that we will not ever be happy with what we have. “I’ll be happy if I get ___” is not living in the moment, on your path, or for yourself.

2) Be kind. Selflessly and anonymously helping another human being is an excellent way to feel good inside by releasing serotonin in your brain. It is physically and emotionally rewarding. By anonymous, I don’t necessarily mean that you cannot tell someone. I mean that you do it in a humble, sincere, and caring manner, rather than to bring attention and acclaim to yourself.

3) Forgive. Living with resentment is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies. You are the only one suffering. Let it go. From that nasty driver on the freeway this morning to your first-grade teacher who ridiculed you in front of the class, make a choice to completely forget it. Do you think they remember? Forgiveness is for you!

4) Relish joy. True happiness will occur when you slow your life, even for a moment, and enjoy joy. Do not rob yourself of the happiness. Cherish such times when they happen, and mark them in your mind. Remember these moments instead of the resentments. I like to find at least one “MOP” every day—a moment of perfection.

5) Connect with a larger power. Whether you are spiritual or not, allow yourself the comfort of knowing that the entire universe does not center around you. There are many things greater. If it is simply the connection of everything that exists, there is a force and a source to all that is around us. We all have moments when we feel that everything is completely connected in our life. We are at peace. Everything is right.

6) Exercise. Taking care of your body will only heighten your happiness. It also allows you to tap into your endorphins just as you do through love, kindness, and, yes, orgasm. No matter what your level of ability may be to practice physical exercise, you can always do something to elevate your energy, which improves your mental and emotional state. Consistent exercise has been proved to raise happiness levels in people with clinical depression.

Unhappy vs happy

OK, says Debbie Downer, then how do I know if I am really happy or not? What’s the definition of “unhappy”?

These are a few of the habits of unhappy people:

· Judgment and jealousy of others

· Inability to accept life and relinquish control when necessary

· Negative outlook on the future

· Making excuses

· Lack of trust

· Dwelling on current struggles

· Stressing over “what If’s”

· Complaining, whining, and ridiculing

The difference between happy and unhappy people is the amount of time they stay attached to bad events.

In no way is that a directive to “just get over it.” A period of grieving and pain is vital when something distressing has happened. The goal is to eventually return to a discovery of happiness.

So much of our unhappiness is buried deep inside our childhood and/or our culture. We learn our belief system from our parents, religion, grandparents, teachers, television, and friends. For instance, my grandmother always said that God loves the poor. Little Billy heard, “God hates the rich.” I still have to fight the automatic thought that all poor people are going to heaven and all rich people are already in hell just for shopping, say, at Versace.

Money has zero to do with being good or evil. It has little effect on our happiness. Once we have enough to survive, money has no effect on our ability to be happy.

Happier people tend to look at life with curiosity. Instead of complaining, they devote that time to problem solving. They are goal-oriented and focused. Happier people see others as good, and they believe in the goodness of humanity. They accept others with an open heart. They recognize that just because you have money, luck, and good fortune, it does not mean that I cannot have it.

There is not a limited amount of good.

Happier people let bad things happen. They tend to roll with the punches rather than spin in the fear.

Fall down. Get up.

How do we shift our brains from unhappy to happy? First of all, just as relaxation is the release of all effort, optimism is a natural state that our brains crave. We crave happiness just as we do food. Optimism begins with the release of unproductive emotions.

There are known methods tfor doing this.. CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) is based on the theory that you can teach yourself to be aware of your negative thoughts, stop them, and change them. Release them. You can begin immediately. If you just read that sentence and said to yourself, “What crap!" be aware that you just thought that. What might you change it to?

Right now, stop being angry. Release it. Ask yourself, instead, what it would look like if you had no anger? Fear, when we embrace it, can at least motivate us. Anger is poison. Most anger is based in fear. So go deeper than the anger and ask yourself what you fear.

Ask yourself, “What can I feel instead?” “What would bring me hope?” “What is out there for me to learn?” Simply thinking one of those thoughts can bring hope. It is ironic: Thinking about what could bring hope, actually brings hope. Thinking about what might make you happy will make you happy. It is that simple.

You cannot think happy thoughts and be sad or angry at the same time.

You might truly be “keeping your fork” and believe that something sweet is coming, but you have to at least read the menu first. If you say no to dessert, you won’t get it. So start exploring the opportunities.

Ask yourself, “When have I been most happy?” Ponder that question for a while. Why were you happy at that point in your life?

We can often find happiness in simple basic planning. Things may not go as we might hope, but we can enjoy the moment of planning.

Make plans. Write endless to-do lists. It’s helpful. Being productive is a positive feeling. You will never know the outcome, but you can certainly have tremendous input in the journey. And while you’re making lists, don’t forget to make a list of everyone you love. Don’t forget the list of everyone who loves you. Love exists in the present moment. Appreciate it and express it.

What lights your fire?

If you are dealing with a loss, it is not possible for life to be the same again; it’s important to discover and embrace a new future. Please allow time. Grief is a long and necessary process. Embrace the love that is causing the grief.

It is not an easy task to eliminate the things in our lives that lead us to suffering, but as we clean that closet, we can find joy and excitement in accumulating new things that will lead us to happiness. The process starts with slowly increasing our awareness of what makes us unhappy. That is important before attempting to discover what makes us happy.