Happiness seems to be the ultimate — yet most elusive — of goals. We want to be happy with our family, work, health, finances, relationships and future. And while we may feel happy for brief or fleeting moments, soaking in an adrenaline rush and energy, the feeling seems to fade quickly with the next less-than-positive person or situation that we encounter. Happiness in the moment can inspire fear of "What if this doesn't last and I go back to being sad or depressed?", which can put a real damper on the good feelings. Is it any wonder we don't see happiness as a long-term state of being? But here's a secret: happy is a state of doing, not being. Happy people do things differently than unhappy ones, and you can too.
Let's first look at how we got into this mess of striving for happiness without fully believing it's possible. Together, we can create something better than this dismal road to frustration and anxiety. We have a societal need to seek out what's wrong with everything and focus on the negative. That has got to stop.
Why Is There So Much Negative?
You may have noticed the first topics on the nightly news are crime, disaster and violence. Why? That's what gets ratings. Because if we see the bad things, our life doesn't seem so bad in comparison. How can we watch, listen and read those things and achieve real or lasting happiness? In my opinion, we can't. There are plenty of funny or positive websites, cat videos, TV shows and books that inspire laughter and joy. Negative, scary news only makes being happy more unattainable.
Does this mean you should tune out and lose touch with reality? No, it means you should shift your reality with a focus on positive topics you can do something about. Putting your energy on negative people and situations rather than how you ultimately want things to be only serves to create more of the same.
Realize that happy people are happy by choice, not by circumstance. Being happy is a habit, just like picking your clothes up off the floor, brushing your teeth or being nice to a coworker you'd rather not be around.
Your Happy Thing
Choose one thought per day to focus on when you feel down; determine what it will be when you first wake up. This will be your go-to topic or happy thing when you want to raise your energy and feel better. You can focus on your beloved dog or cat, a child or loved one, the best kiss you've ever had, a family vacation or moment of celebration... anything that makes you feel instantly happy.