Think about the people in your life for a moment. Do you know someone who is genuinely happy? Most likely you do. Now, think about the lives these happy people lead. What is going on in their life right now? Do they have bad days? Most likely, they do. Are they facing a hardship? Again, most likely, they are. The strange thing is that happy people are not usually happy because their lives are easier. No, happy people live in the same chaotic and crazy world as everyone else. Yet, these happy people can belt out the lyrics to “Happy” with Pharrell,
Here come bad news talking this and that
Yeah, give me all you got, don’t hold back
Yeah, well I should probably warn you I’ll be just fine
Yeah, no offense to you don’t waste your time
Here’s why: Because I’m happy…
What is their secret to riding life’s rollercoaster with a smile instead of a grimace? Everyone who has a blog or podcast also has a suggestion: Make more friends. Try Pilates. Eat these foods. Start each day with a power pose. The good news is that new research has shown that it is possible to become a happier person if people can cut through the clickbait and practice sound mental health exercises.
The process of becoming a happier person is very similar to the process of becoming a physically stronger person. People all have a unique body type and a particular strength level, but when they participate in physical exercises that boost muscle tone, they can improve. Using the right exercises that benefit their body type is important. In a similar way, people have a particular level of happiness they feel, but with the right emotional exercises, they can improve. Many people are looking toward mental health professionals to find a training plan that works best for them.
The counselors at Thriveworks Columbia can distinguish between healthy mental habits and exercises that waste people’s time. If you want to be happier but are not sure how, we are happy to come alongside our clients and guide their way.
There are few guarantees in life, but one is that many things are outside of people’s influence and control. And yet, people often look toward these unstable sources for their personal happiness. Take, for examples, the following situations:
- Your team won the big game last weekend. You cannot remember the last time you felt so good.
- You were looking forward to a particular entrée at a particular restaurant, but they are out of it. The whole weekend is now shot.
Do either of these situations sound familiar? Most likely, they do. The details may vary, but there is a regular formula: positive results=positive emotions, negative results=negative emotions. The challenge comes because most people have no say in these outcomes. Therefore, happiness seems random and out-of-control.
But happiness is not random. People can look to a different, more stable source of happiness. It can take time to train their emotions, but over time, people can experience a more grounded, stable happiness.
The process begins with emotional habits that within people’s control. Many people unknowingly obstruct their own happiness. When they identify these negative patterns, they can replace them with positive emotional habits that build up happiness.
Of course, no one intends to make themselves miserable, but certain habits that people indulge could be doing just that. The following are examples of ways people obstruct their own happiness:
- Comparison: Looking around at what others have or what they are doing or how they look often produces feelings of inferiority or superiority—not happiness.
- Entitlement: In The Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson perfectly describe how people become happy: they pursue it. Waiting for happiness to materialize without effort is a waste of time.
- Blame: Unresolved problems smother joy, and blame spends people’s energy on accusations instead of solutions.
Building Up Happiness
When people abandon blame, entitlement, and comparison, they have room for healthier, more positive emotional habits. These positive habits are often the soil upon which happiness grows.
Skilled counselors can point people to which emotional habits they should pay particular attention, but the following lists examples of such habits.
- Setting a goal – A personal or professional goal can bring focus and excitement to people’s lives. Setting reasonable and achievable targets is the key.
- Practicing mindfulness – When people pay attention to what they are truly feeling, thinking, and sensing, they often grow in their self-awareness. The key is observing without judgment or analysis.
- Promoting thankfulness – Writing down a few things each day for which people are grateful means that their minds become focused upon the beautiful, kind, and good things in their life. The key is consistency—taking a moment every day for thankfulness.
When it comes to making positive emotional change, small, consistent steps often take people a long way. When these habits are consistently embraced, people often find that a stable happiness is within their grasp.
Increased Happiness Therapy at Thriveworks Columbia
Being a happier person often means learning new emotional habits. Unfortunately, there are no short-cuts, quick-fixes, or magic formulas for experiencing more joy. Fortunately, there is help. No one has to prioritize their happiness alone. Thriveworks Columbia offers therapy for increased happiness.
If you want to speak to a therapist about how to live a happier life, know that many new clients at Thriveworks Columbia meet with their therapist within 24 hours of their call to us. We do not keep a waitlist, but we do offer weekend and evening appointments. We also accept most forms of insurance.
Let’s get started. Contact Thriveworks Columbia today.