Change your perception and learn how to be happy!
- How to be happy researchers say: your genes account for only 50% of your happiness levels.
- Only 10% of your happiness comes from external circumstances.
- …and your outlook on life accounts for 40% of your happiness levels.
- However science has also recently shown that your mind alters your genes. So happiness is a choice.
- Dancing and exercise are known to increase happiness levels.
- People smell your happiness: Clinical experiments on body odour have proved your scent changes from when you are stressed to being happy
So, you want to know how to be happy? It’s a common thought and one that often brings confusion with it. When it comes to learning how to be happy, you can learn how to be happy by making the right decisions when it comes to how you structure your mind. Many are searching the world for pleasure, satisfaction, and contentment, hoping that such things will bring the joy they need to live a happy life.
But what is a having a happy life to you? What is happiness and what does it really mean to be happy?
These questions must be answered before you can know what you’re looking for and where you’ll likely find it. Then you can learn how to be happy.
Knowing how to be happy starts with knowing what happiness is?
Happiness is often thought of as having a comfortable life that’s free from pain and suffering, empty of emotional turbulence, being financially secure, having good health, and having your days filled with the joy and contentment of enjoying the pleasures of life.
Being happy doesn’t mean everything is perfect. It means you’ve decided to look beyond the imperfections.
That’s one definition of happiness that some may relate to, however a monks definition of happiness would be understandably quite different from that of the average person. So defining happiness is difficult because happiness means so many different things to different people. Having your sight restored after years of blindness would likely make one person happy, however those who already have good vision may likely take their sight for granted. Happiness therefore is relative to each individual.
Does that mean happiness can be defined as acquiring something one does not already have? If this were the case, then surely we would never be truly happy, as we will always have ‘things’ that we want that we do not already have. At best, acquiring ‘things’ may well bring us a temporary form of happiness, but this form of happiness simply isn’t sustainable and is, at best, superficial in its nature. So acquiring ‘things’ isn’t the origin of true happiness, as we are talking about here.
So if true happiness is not to be found in acquiring ‘things’ from the outside world, could happiness be an internal state of mind, or being?
In part, yes, absolutely. Happiness is not a destination, it’s not some place we have to reach or voyage to. True happiness is an internal state of mind and if you have already read my free e-book, ‘Change Your Life’ , you will already know that your internal state of mind is 100% controllable by you. You create your internal states of mind, no one else.
So with this information we have, we can accurately state that happiness is not external to us, it is an internal state of mind. And as we have 100% control over programming our own minds, that makes happiness a choice. Happiness, and learning how to be happy is simply a choice. It’s an awareness, a perception, an attitude, and a belief that we choose to incorporate into ourselves and then accept to be true.
Genes do play a part in our happiness and we do inherit the traits of our parents, so we can have a genetic predisposition towards being unhappy if our parents were unhappy. However with the new science of epigenetics, we now know that the mind, and our thoughts and intentions, do in fact alter our genetic codes. So this means that happiness is more choice than genetics.
But how can I possibly just choose be happy when I have problem X,Y and Z? I hear you. Is being happy as simple as deciding to be and making a choice to be happy?
Your attitudes, beliefs, language, how you internally talk to yourself and your imagination all play a part in forming your thoughts. These thoughts are then responsible for triggering your emotions and your emotions then influence how you choose to tell yourself to feel. So being happy isn’t a single choice you just decide to make in an instant. It involves making a succession of choices until you have changed the underlying factors that contribute towards your unhappiness. And that quite often involves having a completely different outlook on life in general.
Emotions are not feelings
There is one important distinction to make between your emotions and your feelings. You should be aware that neuroscience considers your emotions and feelings to be different. Emotions and feelings are not considered to be the same thing and knowing the difference is important.
Your emotions are defined as experiencing ‘an automatic internal response to external or internal stimuli’ , or in other words, having your emotions triggered depending on what’s going on in your life or in your head. Whereas your feelings are defied as ‘your internal representation of those emotions’, or what you choose to think and tell yourself after you have experienced an emotion.
So in neuroscience, it’s how you choose to allow your emotions to make you think that creates how you feel. For example, think back to a time when someone made you really angry because of something they did. That was an emotion you experienced.
However when you think about it, does that experience still make you feel angry today?
If it does, then you are carrying that anger with you in your attitudes, thoughts and beliefs which are telling you how to feel.
Your emotions are not supposed to be carried with you beyond their use. The purpose of your emotions are served the moment you experience them. So why continue to carry them with you and make yourself feel bad for absolutely no reason. Why would you want to choose to do that to yourself?
Always keep in mind that your emotions are not you. They do not define you as who you are. Neither do they control your feelings. Your emotions are simply a tool. They are environmental indicators you use to survey your external and internal environment and should be used to protect and guide you through the maze of life.
So when an emotion persists far into the future, you will know that what you are experiencing is no longer an emotion. It’s your internal representation of a past emotion. It’s how you’re choosing to allow that past emotion affect your feelings in the ‘present’ moment.
Your emotions can also be used to survey your internal environment too. If the same emotion you have attached to a previous event is constantly being triggered by your thoughts, then this is a clear indicator that your thoughts need to change. And those thoughts are affected by your attitude, beliefs, imagination and how you choose to speak to yourself on the inside.
To put things in better perspective, have a read of my free e-book, ‘Change Your Life’ to gain a deeper insight into the nature of your thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, imagination, and mind, and how it determines not only how you feel, but how it influences your whole entire life.
The three keys to learning how to be happy
It should be getting clearer now that happiness is subjective. It’s different for everyone and fundamentally, feeling happy depends upon how you choose to think. Happiness is an internal state, or feeling, and reading my free ‘Change Your life’ e-book will help you understand the nature of your internal self so you can take back control of it.
However what you do with your life and how you fill your days are also important if you are to understand how you create happiness internally. The outside world is, after all, only there to give you the necessary tools for gaining a deeper insight into yourself. In your daily life, learning how you create happiness internally has three parts:
- Pleasure – the part of happiness that makes you feel good.
- Engagement – being involved with life, through work, family, friends, hobbies.
- Meaning – dedicating your time to contribute towards a larger purpose.
Pleasure is also subjective, in that what is pleasurable to one is not necessarily pleasurable to another. It’s also important to be wary of superficial pleasures that can not be sustained because such pleasures will, in time, come to and end and affect your level of happiness along with it.
Out of these previous three keys, by far the most important two are engagement and meaning. When we have meaning in our lives, it’s that sense of purpose that greatly contributed towards us feeling pleasure. This is the feel good part of happiness. Everyone is naturally searching for the understanding that will lead them towards their own purpose in life and if you can involve engagement around your purpose, you will create a positive cycle within your life that happiness then springs from.
An example of this would be finding a purpose such as being able to heal others using energy and being able to involve your friends and family in your new work which becomes a hobby. This creates a perpetual cycle that’s positive in nature and a breeding ground for your happiness levels to multiple.
All three of these keys are important for showing you how to be happy, however keep in mind that you are here for a purpose. Make it your purpose to awaken to your purpose. When you find your purpose in life everything else begins to click into place, and it’s here you will discover what true happiness really is.
Experiencing yourself and remembering yourself
Please take a moment to perform this exercise which will help you learn how to happy:
In this ‘present’ moment you are experiencing, ask yourself, “How do I feel right now?”
Close your eyes and take a moment to really feel how you feel in the ‘present’ moment and pay close attention to your answer. Forget everything else apart from how you are feeling ‘right now’ in this ‘present’ moment. If you feel positive then that’s great. If you feel neutral then that’s fine too.
If you feel unhappy however, why do you feel unhappy?
We are taking the past and the future out of this ‘present’ moment and focusing on how you feel ‘right now’.
If you do feel unhappy, then what is it that’s currently in your ‘present’ moment that’s making you feel unhappy?
Be aware of what it is that’s making you feel unhappy in this ‘present’ moment and experiment with yourself. Go ahead and change something. Change your facial expressions and smile, change the position of your body by widening your legs and arms to make yourself appear bigger and more confident, change to focus on a different thought that brings pleasure, think about something that makes you laugh.
Really try your hardest to force a change in yourself, even if it’s only the smallest of changes. Picture a happy scene, imagine a joyful moment or create a vision of your ideal self within your imagination and feel what it feels like to be that person. Make this vision of yourself everything you could possibly wish to become. Keep changing things, and really be aware of how you feel when you experience the change until you can notice a difference in how you feel.
Now be aware what it was you changed in order to feel better in this ‘present’ moment and be conscious of what no longer has power over you. Your past and your future both have power over you only if you allow them to. However when your thoughts and awareness remain within your ‘present’ moment, you are free from the burdens of your past and the worries of your future.
Please now continue to answer this last question:
Now, if I may ask you this last question, “Would you describe your life, so far, as a happy one?”
Naturally, your mind is no longer within the present moment. You are in fact thinking back to the many moments in your past, replaying the good and bad times, remembering moments of pleasure and the moments of pain, and weighing up whether the good outweighs the bad.
Pay close attention to how thinking about your past makes you feel now. If ‘thinking’ about your past makes you feel unhappy in this ‘present’ moment, then what does it really mean to be unhappy?
Having a happy life, as you can see, is directly tied to how you ‘think’ about your past and if you allow its associated energy to fill your present moment. Happiness is but a concept. It’s an idea you have created within your mind and accepted as a framework for measuring your level of happiness in each ‘present’ moment.
It may now be getting clearer that, in order to be happy in the ‘present’ moment, you need to be 100% ‘present’ in the ‘present’ moment. Not dwelling on past experiences or being concerned with future events that haven’t happened yet.
When your thoughts are too preoccupied with how you felt in the past and too hung up with how you’re maybe going to feel in the future, you remove yourself from the only moment in which you have power over your thoughts and feelings. The ‘present’ moment. And the only place you can learn how to be happy is in the present.
Your past and all the seemingly negative events you may have experienced are just that, an experience. Whether you think of any of your experiences as either good or bad is in relation to the degree of pleasure or pain you received from that experience. However no matter how bad you may think an experience in your past was, you do have the ability to change the nature of that experience, and all the emotions and feelings you attach to it, by choosing to think about your experiences in a different light.
Within every experience rests an opportunity to gain deeper insight into yourself. With every event in your life, ask yourself, “What is this event trying to show me about myself?”
In the grand scheme of things, nothing else matters apart from you. You are here to experience and to grow from those experiences. You should strive to understand that, while you may not have control over your life events, you always have control over your life experiences.
Whether you grow from choosing to resonate with the pain of your experiences or take pleasure in the understanding that your experiences are there to guide your self-development is up to you. Just know that every experience is trying to teach you something. And when you get into the habit of questioning the deeper meaning behind every one of your experiences, you begin to gradually notice that your awareness of the lessons behind your future experiences improves. In good time, your awareness will improve to the point of being able to see the lesson of many of your experiences before, or as, they happen.
The life you really want and that true happiness you are looking for hides within you and it can only be completely understood by advancing your awareness of yourself. To understand something, one must have a firm understanding of its mechanics. Likewise, to understand yourself, you must have a firm understanding about your own mechanics, or how your brain and mind work in unison with everything else. With self-awareness comes self-understanding and it’s here you’ll discover the truth about how to be happy.
Learn how to be happy by changing your mental framework
Most people have created a mental framework for how life is supposed to be, for what is valuable and what for what it means to be happy. Our culture celebrates the pursuit of fame, money, good looks, material possessions, health, love and power and while many of us do succeed in acquiring such things, it doesn’t sustain our happiness or satisfy us on the deepest level.
There is commonly something still missing from within our hearts. Many think they have a good idea about what makes them happy but in the end, they mostly discover that their temporary happiness is prone to wane with time.
The issue with looking to the outside world for happiness is that when these non-sustainable forms of happiness diminish in their intensity to please us, the mental framework we have built around them as being our idea of happiness crumbles with it. And like a drug, we seek new pleasures to rekindle that flame of happiness we once had only for the intensity of that to diminish in time also.
One needs to learn how to create happiness on the inside where it’s not reliant upon external events, so that when things change in the outside world, and they always do, their mental framework doesn’t need to be rebuilt every time along with it. Instead, it continues to remain firmly in place, sustaining their happiness independently of what’s going on in the world around them.
Here is a list of positive emotions that will help you put what makes you happy into perspective and help guide you forwards. Write them on a piece of paper or in your journal, and next to each one, write down something that makes you feel each one. The key to writing these is not to select external ‘things’ that ignite these emotions, things which are out of your control, or such things that are likely to soon change. It should be you who is in control of sustaining each one from within. Take your time and really feel your answers.
- Gratitude (what are you thankful for already having in your life)
- Serenity (what makes you feel calm, peaceful and untroubled)
- Joy (what brings you great pleasure)
- Interest (what captures your attention and makes you feel enthusiastic)
- Amusement (What makes you laugh)
- Inspiration (What gets your creative juices flowing and mentally stimulates you)
- Awe (What amazes you and makes you feel a sense of wonder)
- Love (What ignites strong feelings of affection)
Don’t expect to find the answers to these questions in an instant. You should take all the time necessary to really think and feel each one. By discovering and focusing your time upon what makes you feel each of these previous 8 feelings, you will have an acting blueprint for how to be happy.
Spend your time surrounded by the things that inspire and activate your senses in a positive light and you will take positive steps towards discovering what makes you truly happy. Happiness doesn’t only require changing your state of mind. It involves changing the habits of your life. And to do that you need physical action. So keep your body moving forwards as your mind delves inwards.
How to be happy – Just for today, choose to be happy and smile.
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