How our attitudes and attention affect our happiness.
Would you like to learn a profound truth about happiness? This little "secret" could multiply your energy and happiness with very little effort. First, consider this: how would you evaluate your own happiness and energy? If I asked you for a 0-10 rating, what number would you rate your energy and happiness?
When you rate these feelings on a number scale, what are you referencing to come up with a number? You have to reference your past experience! And here is the lousy truth about health and happiness: very few people ever experience TRUE health and happiness, so our reference is based on something we might call "good enough." The truth is that we settle for something that might even be the best we've ever experienced, but without an ability to reference TRUE health and happiness, we fall exceptionally short of our actual potential.
This is why I believe this to be true. I have had many people tell me that they have reached a '12', on the 1-10 scale. They exceeded their actual expectations for health and happiness, and when they had given me the '10' rating months earlier, they had been settling on something that was "good enough."
Unfortunately, not everyone gets to experience a '12'. Why? Because they stop expecting, and they stop working toward more, when they reach their self imposed expectations. That is not a criticism of expectations or willingness, that is an encouragement to keep looking for more and more. And that is the TRUTH about happiness: too many people quit desiring more, or feel helpless to try for more.
My "art" is creating happiness, which requires health, so most of my clients approach me to solve a health problem. When we achieve this result, some continue to work with me on wellness. They are already happier because their health problem is resolved, but some continue on to avoid regression or value wellness care and have come to enjoy my version of health (and happiness) care. Everyone who takes this approach discovers new levels of health and happiness.
My "art" involves locating your weakest link, evaluating it from a chemical, physical, and emotional perspective, and creating a plan to strengthen that link. Imagine that instead of attempting to name your unhappiness, condition, or disease, we focused on making you stronger. Even the happiest and healthiest person on planet Earth has a weakest link, so he or she can improve both their health and happiness. That means you can, too.
I also always build value in the experience that brought us together. If your energy is horrible, it has taught you to protect your energy, nourish your energy, or consider yourself over others (that is a GOOD thing if it increases your health and happiness, because if you are energized and excited, you bring more life to every relationship!).
Nothing is a "bad" thing — it's just a thing that provides the stimulus for growth. Symptoms are messages that guide you to greater happiness and energy...if you listen to them!
I never recommend obsessing over problems, and I always recommend that you notice what could be better. Raise your expectations! To achieve this, I recommend noticing your "non-preferences." There is power in language, and the word "prefer" removes all imposition, negativity, or complaining from your desire. For example, if you and I were planning lunch together, I might say that I prefer a certain restaurant. There is no imposition in my preference, nor is there any complaint about Mexican food.
By focusing your attention on what you prefer and don't prefer, you are tuned in to the subtlety of your desires instead of letting pain or stress grab your attention. You notice subtle discomfort rather than loud symptoms or problems — your body and life screaming in your face!
When you notice the stress or discomfort of a non-preference, instead of complaining or obsessing, immediately consider the variables that potentially led to that experience. We control our variables; we do not control our outcomes. But, if we practice changing the variables, it's just practicing anything else: you get good at it. And if you get good at changing variables, you will notice a much higher probability and frequency of idealizing your outcome — and that is exciting!
This is the energy of the "curious scientist." The curious scientist says, "I would like this to happen. Let me add that and take away the other variables. Let's see…" and then curiously and excitedly watches to see the result. Not the result you wanted? What does the curious scientist do? Yes, right back to the variables. In fact, the curious scientist rarely "gets it" the first time. Each time is an experiment, and an education.
What do you do if you are stuck…not sure what variables to change? You could settle—"This is pretty good, who am I to complain?"—OR you could research variables. "What did this person do to overcome this problem?" Look for people who mastered a similar problem. Make an appointment with an "expert" in that particular field. Ask a friend what they think. There are endless resources for "variables!"
My favorite resource in the field of happiness is the book Non-Violent Communication. You will find virtually every variable you need to get "what you prefer" in relationships. The truth about happiness is that we sell ourselves short. We settle for less-than-ideal by focusing on extremes over our preferences, and we tend to give up on our ideals because we "don't know how to fix it."
The truth about happiness is that you could set ideals, just like the curious scientist. You could focus on variables rather than failures, just like the curious scientist. And you could realize your ideals, your preferences, with a slight change of focus...just like the curious scientist.
If you would like more tips and strategies to improve your happiness and confidence, sign up for my FREE Newsletter, "Healing Me!"
Dr. Stone practices Integrated Natural Medicine using a Five Element approach to identify your negative patterns of body and spirit. His practice is located in beautiful Asheville, NC, with people driving 3+ hours for his hands=on care. If you are in the vicinity and want to see Dr. Stone to increase your health and happiness, or are not in the region and want to see "health coaching" options, visit his practice here.