Happiness Short Cuts

Being happy is a passion of mine! I’d rather laugh, joke, smile and enjoy life than anything else. Usually the joy flows out of me effortlessly but from time to time I wake-up feeling horrible for no apparent reason and need to do something to get my game face on. Below are some of the things that have helped me turn those days around:

Always do your best. When you try to do something to the best of your ability you automatically shift your attention from the past and direct it completely onto the moment. It has been my experience that IF you are in the moment, you will feel very little of anything. The intense focus on the here and now is something that tends to lend itself to mindlessness, which human beings experience as simple existence. If mindlessness is achieved during an activity, the peak state of flow is achieved were pure action just pours out of us. Some will experience this as a bliss state while others will enjoy the escape from their low mood.

Stop seeking approval. This is the most important thing that I have learned in the last 15 years and any time I release myself from needing others approval there is a dramatic boost in my mood and my performance. I stop living in the past – that is to say that I stop doing the things that I have learned will garner the approval of others – and return to living in the moment and trying to do my best.

Learn to like being wrong because it leads to wisdom. You are going to be wrong so much that you need to do more than just accept that it will happen. You need to appreciate it when it happens because being wrong is what will lead you to learn new things more quickly than almost any other method of learning. Learning to make being wrong less painful will make you happier.
Understand that emotion is not thought. This is a huge one. Emotions are real in that there are chemicals released by the body resulting in what we experience as emotion. But emotions are not thoughts and they shouldn’t be given the same consideration as thoughts. Emotions provide information about situations and they tend to reflect the outcome of matching certain patterns but they are retrospective and based on experience. When we make the error that emotions are thoughts, we tend to think about the emotion and therefore keep the emotion going vs. letting it flow and let it go.

Accept that logic and emotion cannot exist at the same time and emotion trumps logic. This one was easy to observe but tough to deal with. Your prefrontal cortex is responsible for logic and rational thought stops having an impact when the emotional system is active. As such, when you are experiencing an emotion, it is IMPOSSIBLE for you to logically engage it. Instead, you need to allow the emotion to flow through and out of you and then proceed to the logical engagement.

You cannot control how other people think (frankly, you can only barely control how YOU think). You can try to control other peoples thoughts and you may even have some success, but eventually they are going to think what they want and if that goes against what you are hoping, you’re not going to be happy. It’s futile to try so just stop and accept that other peoples thoughts are outside the realm of your control. Give them the freedom to think and act autonomously and deal with the consequences of these action because this is what you will be doing anyway, regardless of your intentions. Accepting it before you have to deal with them is going to be a lot easier and more fun.

Do not take anything personally. Don’t get me wrong, I know I’m the center of my universe – I’m the creator of my conscious understanding of the world and given that I’m the only receiver of my sensory input, I AM the center of everything. But so is everyone else of their own existence. For this reason, you cannot take anything other people do personally because it has nothing to do with you and everything to do with the other person.