What’s the secret to happiness....?
...Well here's my view on this subject.
Happiness can mean many different things to many different people, and for me, happiness is when I feel calm, safe, relaxed or energised and comfortable. I may just be doing absolutely nothing but feeling happy inside, or, I may be immersing myself in an activity (such as dancing or art) and feeling happy.
Does happiness continue 24/7? No of course not, otherwise we’d never get to experience other emotions. We may have a background happiness that’s our 'default setting' and one we always go back to when we’ve experienced other emotions but very few people are aware of this. We all have different background settings. It could be background stress or anxiety, sadness or fear, calmness or contentment behind the scenes. Throughout our day we may feel moments of joy and excitement or fear and upset, but then we retreat back to our default setting.
Can we change this if we wanted to? If so, how?
Happiness starts from within. You may find something ‘external’ activates your happiness but it’s your response to that external activity/person/thing that causes the happy effect. Therefore it’s within you.
In my eyes, the secret to happiness is to firstly discover what happiness means to you. Then get practising 'doing' happiness. It’s 'doing' rather than 'getting' and after 'doing' becomes 'being'. This is key.
My mission for this year (and beyond) is to tune into my ‘happiness setting’ and practice spending more time there. My happiness consists of feeling calm and safe and this is where my focus will be because when I’m feeling these, happiness is just a smile away.
As we know, we can all smile on the outside but we are not necessarily smiling on the inside. A smile can hide so much. Therefore, knowing the difference between your own smiles will help you to focus on what needs to change from within.
If you want to increase your happiness and have this as your default background setting, then follow these steps:
- On a scale of 1-10 (1 low, 10 high), rate your current happiness level
- Then rate which level you’d like it to be instead
- Now go inside you and consider what you need to change in order to increase that level. How could you respond differently to situations/people? What could you stop doing and what could you start doing? How could you change the way you talk to yourself to change the internal dialogue that would previously have stressed you or upset you? How could you slow down or speed up depending on what you are doing? What could you change about how you see the world around you? How could you be kinder to yourself? What do you need to do more of and less of? What's stopping you from making these changes right now? What if you could make even just a few changes right now, how would that feel and what would that do to your day/night?
- Next, focus on how you feel when you are happy? Do you feel calm or excited? Joyful or relaxed? Buzzing or zen-like?
- Now, visualise seeing yourself being this person who 'does happiness'. See through the eyes of happiness, hear through the ears of happiness, taste how happy tastes and breathe in the happiness as everything you touch just feels so good. Visualise the 'happy you' going about your day and feeling happy. Find an obstacle or challenge that might happen and notice how you respond differently to it now. Notice how you feel after having responded differently and give yourself praise. Embrace this happy person. How does it feel to step into happiness?
- As you continue to visualise, notice how you might actually be smiling now…….and how that smile comes from within. Notice how you feel right now. You might want to give this feeling a colour or a sound.
- Come back to the now and write down on brightly coloured paper or use brightly coloured pens any words that come to mind that remind you instantly of these feelings. Then pop these notes around the house (mirrors, bedside, fridge, front door etc) and practice feeling good everytime you see them. Take the good feelings with you as you leave the house and only bring back the good feelings when you return home. Sprinkle the happiness around your home, in every room, so that every room you step into, is a good place….because this is how you choose to see it and feel it and hear it, smell and touch it.
- Now rate your happiness level again.........what have you increased it to?
Repeat, repeat, repeat. Keep practising this every day for 7 days and then notice what has happened as a result.
And then you'll know what the secret to happiness really is....
PS. If being on social media changes how you feel and brings your feelings of happiness down on the scale, then keep a track of how you feel before going online and then immediately after being online and decide if the time you just spent on there was worth it. The next time you then go online, pause for a moment, notice where your level of happy is and then decide....