Every day, the local and national news brings updates upon the most recent tragedies, catastrophes, and disasters. These do not even touch upon the personal hardships people face. Life is often chaotic and crazy, and yet, if most people tried, they could probably identify a handful of people in their lives who are genuinely happy. These people live in the same tumultuous world; they have bad days; they feel sad, frustrated, and disappointed at times. However, joy is the overarching characteristic of their lives. Their happiness is resilient, and they can sing along 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…
Most people want to be this happy, but is that even achievable? Many magazines, blogs, and podcasts think so. They have limitless advice on how to be happier: Avoid certain foods… Stand in a power pose each morning… Have exactly four close friends… Go to a yoga class… Go to a Pilates class. This advice touches on one important truth: people can learn how to be happier. However, distinguishing between clickbait and healthy emotional habits is a challenge.
At one point, people thought the happiness people experienced was a fixed quantity: there may be a range within which people could fluctuate, but they could never exceed their top limit. However, new research has shown that emotional strength is much like physical strength: each person has a base level of fitness, but with consistent exercise, anyone can improve. Just as anyone can grow stronger, so anyone can grow happier.
People are also looking to mental health professionals for help knowing which mental health exercises improve happiness and which are clickbait. Thriveworks Conway offers therapy for increasing happiness help, and our professionals are seeing more and more clients who are ready to prioritize their own happiness.
The Source of Happiness
Think about the following scenarios. Do any sound familiar?
- Did you get the raise you anticipated at work? No, friends and family know to stay clear of me for a while. Yes, I’m going to throw a party.
- How did your team play this week? They won; my feet will not touch the ground for a week. They lost; do not talk to me.
- What is the weather like today? Awful, my plans are ruined. Amazing, I’m so happy.
Most people probably recognize these scenarios or any number of similar circumstances. Often, people let situations completely outside of their influence or control determine their happiness. While people can work hard at the office, they cannot make anyone give them a raise. While people can cheer for their team, they cannot influence the outcome of a game. While people can plan their day, they cannot choose the weather.
When people base their happiness upon outside sources, then their happiness may feel random or out of control. The key to experiencing happiness is to look toward internal sources of joy. While outside circumstances will always play a part, there are many things people can do that directly affects the happiness they feel. In particular, people can abandon habits that stifle happiness, and they can cultivate habits that allow happiness to grow.
Certain emotional patterns that people indulge take enormous energy and leave little room for happiness. Becoming a happier person often means that people must be willing to acknowledge the ways they have stifled their own joy. The following examples are negative emotional habits that people can change:
- Comparison: Eyeing what other people have and what other people do is a recipe for resentment. Better/worse, more/less, smaller/bigger, and on and on are words happy people rarely use.
- Entitlement: Passivity is the enemy of happiness. Joy is often the bi-product of an active life, as The Declaration of Independence exhorts, “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
- Blame: It is easier to point toward the weather as the reason for discontent instead of owning and fixing the ways people personally contribute to their own unhappiness.
Negative habits need to be replaced with positive ones. A skilled therapist can help people identify which emotional exercises may be right for them. A few examples of positive emotional habits that cultivate joy include…
- Striving toward a goal – Setting small, achievable goals often keeps people focused and excited about their days. Having a target to work toward in their personal and professional lives also means people are regularly experiencing rewards and seeing their progress.
- Practicing mindfulness – Self-awareness is an important component to happiness, and it is often established through mindfulness. Simply be in the present—think and feel without jumping to conclusions, adding labels, or judging.
- Prioritizing thankfulness – When people take time to say, “thank you,” they are actively looking for what is true and good in the world. Beauty and kindness exist, even in the most difficult challenges.
Therapy to Increase Happiness at Thriveworks Conway
There is no magic potion for happiness, but there are mental health professionals who are ready and willing to guide your path toward a happier life. Thriveworks Conway has appointments available for increasing happiness therapy.
If you are ready to meet with one of our professionals, know that we accept most forms of insurance. We offer evening and weekend appointments. There are no waitlists, so our customers are never put on one.
At Thriveworks Conway, our hope is that every client receives the help they need, when they need. Let’s work together toward a happier life. Contact Thriveworks Conway today.