Something they don’t teach us about in school. Or on TV. Or at our GP.
The increasingly artificial, materialistic world we live in, is manipulating our thoughts, desires, feelings and emotions.
We’re attached to superficial needs, shallow feelings, addiction and escapism.
Learning to be at peace with our natural state is becoming more and more difficult.
Happiness is a feeling of well-being that is influenced by our emotions. We experience a broad range of emotions on a daily basis. Our emotions can even change minute by minute, especially now we’re scrolling the internet and social media. Disgust, anxiety, embarrassment, jealousy, frustration, excitement. All these emotions are normal, however not they’re not always helpful to our reality.
Increasing our happiness is more likely when we can learn to let go of our negative emotions, instead of being overcome by them and letting them create our reality.
Think Happy Thoughts
Because your thoughts really can make you sick.
We’re addicted to having negative thoughts.
We have these over the slightest inconveniences and mental baggage. A person cutting in front of you in a queue, dropping something on the floor, clinging onto the past.
If you have a negative thought or feeling, the brain sends stress hormones into the body. Some of us could be having hundreds of these each day.
Sometimes we even get addicted to these negative thoughts, repeating damaging phrases to ourselves, dwelling on negative issues, sending the mind into downward spirals of distress.
All these negative thoughts mean we spend our lives in a constant state of stress. The link between stress and illness is huge. It causes inflammation in the body, which leads to countless health issues and diseases. A prolonged, over-stressed nervous system, leads to suppression of our immune system.
Flip the switch
Address your negativity
Because your inner world is far more important than your outer world. There are plenty of calming hormones which are good for health. We can increase these hormones by doing the following:
Learning to let things go
Doing therapeutic activities
Actively trying to be more positive
Cultivating good relationships and a compassionate attitude towards others
Letting go of unhealthy relationships
Learning how to re-frame your perception of negative life events
Changing your environment
We create our own reality
We are not the same person we were an hour ago. We can let go of our past by starting to recognise that we can’t build a future by holding onto the past.
We can learn to focus on what we want to be, rather than what we think we are.
For example, telling yourself repeatedly that you’re not confident, reinforces those neural pathways in your brain. Focusing on being confident instead, and engaging in activities which will increase our confidence, can help us achieve it.
We can also do this through guided meditations, creating new neural pathways for success.
When things don’t go our way (e.g. being forced to work with someone we dislike), our happiness disappears. The same is true with feeling happy. If you do something fun in your day, you say you had a good day because of that external event.
This is where we’re going wrong. We’re attributing our happiness to external factors, so this happiness is superficial and won’t last.
“You are happy when you are able to follow the spontaneous course of things.”
Taoist philosophy focuses on ‘becoming at one with the rhythms of nature’.
Lao Tzu, the founder of Taoism, promoted four fundamental areas of life, which lead to happiness:
We have to avoid excess and replenish deficiency. We need balance. We shouldn’t use too much of one resource, for example working too hard or playing too hard.
Try to live in harmony with everyone around you. Have a healthy social life, forgive those who have harmed you, nurture healthy relationships and detach from unhealthy ones, offer help and support to others to receive this in return. Recognise that any harm done to others only harms you.
Admit to and learn from mistakes, stop taking things personally, listen to people who point out your mistakes, think before acting.
Respect your body, listen to your body, be mindful of what you put into your body, nourish your body with healthy meals, get enough rest.
Having knowledge of all these principals is one thing, but putting them into practice is much harder. It requires some honesty from yourself and some deep self reflection. Are you spending your time wisely and on the right things? Are you living in the right way? Or do your choices and actions actually cause you suffering?