Why do we do what we do and want what we want? It’s simple, we believe it will make us happy. It has been said that happiness is the goal of all goals. I believe our desire for more comes from the invisible part of us, our spirit, seeking to express itself through us.
However, our problems begin when we place our happiness and joy on external things alone as we are setting ourselves up for a big fall.
I’m not saying that we cannot have desires to acquire new things or manifest our dream life. In fact, I’m all about grabbing life by both hands and attracting what I want and think that you should too.
But, we must be aware that happiness is an ever present inner state that we need to nurture so that when the pandemics, financial crises, health warnings and relationship challenges arise we can remain happy regardless.
I know you might be thinking that it’s easy for me to say, that I must have been born that way. As a matter of fact – I believe I was. Seriously, I have learned as a Happiness Trainer that there is science to support the idea that we are either born cheery or dreary. It’s true some people are happier than others.
There are those who see the bright side of life no matter what happens, while others can’t find happiness no matter how hard they try.
There is a reason and it has to do with what researchers call the happiness set-point. What this means is that no matter what happens in your life, you return to a fixed range of happiness. There are however, three exceptions to this phenomenon: losing a partner, extreme poverty and chronic unemployment.
Research shows that 50% of our happiness set-point is genetic, 10% is based on our circumstances and the remaining 40% is determined by our habits of thinking, feeling and actions.
This is such good news because you have control over the way you think but ultimately what it’s really saying is that when you change your thoughts, when you change the way you look at things, you can actually re-programme your happiness set-point.
So instead of chasing our happiness, all we have to do is cultivate a positive growth mindset by changing our beliefs and developing habits that raise that happiness set-point.
We are wired for negativity thanks to our ancestors. Their suspicions and caution back in the day kept them alive while many perished at the hands of the sabre-toothed tigers.
We inherited their fears and doubts too and now thankfully as a result of the relatively new science that is epigenetics, we can alter our genes when we change our thoughts and habits and really start to challenge the legitimacy of our beliefs.
The real secret to happiness is learning to be happy for no reason in particular. According to my mentor Marci Shimoff, author of the NY Times best-selling book Happy For No Reason, she states that true happiness is an inner state of peace and well-being that isn’t dependent on external circumstances.
The habits that have helped me enormously when I’ve been faced with a bump on the road are being grateful for what I have and looking for the gift in the chaos.
There’s more than enough research on the benefits of gratitude and understanding that whatever we appreciate, appreciates. A shot of the neurochemical, dopamine is released raising our happiness set-point immediately and has been linked to motivation in achieving our goals, whether personal, professional or academic.
I would like to suggest to you if you haven’t started already to begin a gratitude journal. This is something I do myself and encourage my clients to do daily.
Begin with the statement, I am so happy and grateful now that and then fill in the blanks. Write from your heart. Take a few moments to really consider what you are grateful for. When we focus on those things and feel the emotion associated with our appreciation of those things, we literally become a magnet. This is the basis of the Law of Attraction.
In this case we are attracting and amplifying an inner state of happiness. Every time you write the words or say them aloud you are affirming the state of being both happy and grateful. It’s literally a win-win situation for you and everyone who has the pleasure of being in your company.
One of my favourite quotes is from Gandhi, “Be the change, you want to see in the world.”
All change begins within by taking responsibility for our own life. This includes managing and mastering our mind, studying ourselves and knowing who we are at our core, developing personally by working on our attitude and remembering that happiness is an inner state of peace that we must nourish.