By Jenn Bovee, LCSW, CRADC, CCHt
For over the last twenty years, I have heard people talking about how all they wanted was just to “be happy.” I must admit that early on in my career, I thought this was a very lofty and unrealistic goal. However, my recent exploration into how our minds work, combined with my subconscious mind training, have proven (now more than ever) that happiness is actually an achievable goal for all of us.
What exactly is happiness? Webster’s dictionary defines happiness as a state of well being and contentment. I think it might be beneficial to look at what happiness is not, first, in this blog. And then I would like to spend some time laying out how to improve your current state of happiness. There are so many myths surrounding what happiness is and what it’s not. When we are looking at what happiness is not, I want to include:
Happiness is not: feeling good all of the time
Happiness is not: the final destination
Happiness is not: being solely focused on ourselves
Happiness doesn’t magically happen when you achieve a goal (when you marry the right person, when you drop the weight, when you get the perfect job, etc)
I’m too old to achieve happiness
I’m sure most of us have fallen into one or multiples of those lies previously. My goal is to empower you to achieve the happiness you desire. Let’s take a few moments and get really clear on what happiness truly looks like. Most research agrees that happiness is a sense of contentment with your overall life. The caveat is it’s not just that alone, it’s that in combination with how “good” you feel on a day to day basis. Personally, I think the term “good” is relative. Sonja Lyubomirsky, Author of the How of Happiness, elaborates, describing happiness as “The experience of joy, contentment, or positive well-being, combined with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile.”
My suggestions and recommendations include beginning to slowly improve and focus on the amount of happiness you experience in your daily life. Beyond that my recommendations include:
Ignore Other People’s Opinions: When we place more importance or more relevance on other people’s opinions, we essentially give our power away. It’s very difficult to be happy when you are experiencing powerlessness on a regular basis. Increase the value and worth of your own opinion, and decrease the value you place on other people’s opinions.
Meditation/Self-Hypnosis: When we are constantly thinking, evaluating, and judging our lives we rob ourselves of the joy we deserve. By focusing on calming ourselves, we allow ourselves to connect to our true self, and through connecting with this part of ourselves we unlock the doors to happiness.
Do More of What You Love: This concept implies that you are already spending time every day doing things you love. If you are not, please find ways to begin. Whether it’s spending time with people who make you feel loved and valued, doing a job with brings you uncontainable joy, or doing small simple acts that increase the inner happiness that you experience.
Enjoy The Simple Things: Find some things you enjoy. Whether that is feeling the sunlight on your skin, standing barefoot on the grass, smelling some fresh flowers, or blowing bubbles. Many times by focusing on those things that we enjoy, it can help us to naturally decrease our stress. I recommend the clients I work with to engage in things they enjoy on a daily basis.
Control Your Thoughts: Many people find it easier to analyze and pick things apart, which tends the send them down the negative spiral. Focus on positive things, and train your mind to reinforce positive experiences. There’s so much value in learning how to control your thoughts, because it frequently influences the results you get in life.
I’d love to encourage you to spend some time, writing out a list of things that make you happy in your life. I believe that you are worthy and you deserve copious amounts of happiness each and every day. Please let us know how we can support your quest for happiness.
The Mental Wellness Center, Inc is a Group Psychotherapy Practice in Bloomington Illinois. To learn more about our providers please go here: https://www.thementalwellnesscenter.com/providers/
If you would like to set up an appointment with one of the therapists here please call 309-807-5077 or email us at info@TheMentalWellnessCenter.com