When you think about the people in your life who are truly happy, what are they like? Consider their lives for a few moments. Do they have anything challenging or difficult happening? Have they ever received bad news or an unpleasant surprise? Most likely, they have. Most likely, these happy people lead normal lives in this crazy world like everyone else. They probably have good days and bad days, but somehow, they have learned to face challenges and hardship while maintaining a smile. Of course, they feel sad, lonely, or discouraged at times, but before long, they are joyful again. These are the people Pharrell describes in his song, “Happy,”
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…
How do people become so happy? A simple Internet search will yield countless suggestions: Use power poses every morning… Sleep enough but not too much… Avoid certain foods… Have the right amount of friends… Yoga might help. There is no question that people want more happiness in their lives. Is it possible, however, to be a happier person?
It is possible for people to experience more joy in life. Just as anyone can work out at a gym to grow physically stronger, so anyone can work out their happiness muscles and experience more joy. Of course, the process takes intentional effort over time, just like improving muscle strength.
Another similarity between physical strength and emotional strength is that just as many people look to a strength trainer for help at the gym, so many people are looking to a mental health professional for help increasing their happiness. A skilled counselor can distinguish between pointless online clickbait and beneficial mental health exercises.
Thriveworks Manassas provides therapy for increasing happiness. Our professionals know that anyone can improve the amount of joy they experience every day, and they know the mental health exercises that truly strengthen emotional resiliency.
How Do People Feel Happiness?
Have you ever considered: how does happiness work? Where does it come from and how do the feelings form? Consider the following situations:
- You team lost a big game in overtime. Family and friends know to avoid you for a few days as you recover.
- The beautiful weather complied with your plans, and so your weekend was glorious.
A lot of people look to events and people outside of their control as the source of their happiness. They have intertwined joy with things like the weather or the outcome of a sporting event, and thus, happiness can feel random and out of control.
While there is no doubt that circumstances and people have some influence over how much happiness people feel, there are also ways people can look to sources within themselves for their joy. People have a lot of control over their own happiness. Increasing happiness often means taking responsibility for one’s own feelings. This may mean identifying ways people sabotage their own happiness and taking responsibility for emotional habits that promote joy.
There are many things that people do to themselves that make it more difficult for them to feel happy. These habits need to be identified and cut out:
- Comparison: Feeling joy or sadness because other people have more/less, better/worse, or smaller/bigger often leads to misery instead of happiness.
- Entitlement: Happiness is often pursued and earned. When people wait for joy to appear, they may be waiting a while.
- Blame: It is far easier to point fingers at the weather or at some other source than to solve the problem. Blaming keeps happiness at arms-length.
Identifying and abandoning habits that sabotage happiness is a great step toward a more joyful life. Another important step is replacing negative habits with positive ones. When people build habits into their day that look for happiness from factors they can control, then they often begin to experience more and more joy.
This task often feels overwhelming, but many people have learned that small, consistent steps can go a long way. A mental health professional can help people identify which steps are right for them, but examples of positive emotional habits include:
- Thankfulness – Look back each day. Think about what was good, right, or beautiful about that day, and then tell someone or write it down.
- Mindfulness – Look around each day: notice thoughts, sensations, and feelings. Let them arise without judgments or labels. Be in the moment.
- Goalsetting – Look forward each day. What can people reasonably achieve in their personal or professional life over the next week or two? Name it. Work toward it.
These simple exercises are within everyone’s power to control. They are not random or abstract. They are also the soil where happiness can bloom.
Increasing Happiness Help at Thriveworks Manassas
Being a happier person cannot happen over one day—there are no short-cuts, magic potions, or quick fixes. And yet, when people prioritize their happiness, commit to taking responsibility for their own feelings, and incorporate positive emotional habits into their lives, they often experienced far more joy than they had previously thought possible.
If you are ready to get started, Thriveworks Manassas is ready too. We offer appointments for increasing happiness help, and when you call our office, you may be meeting with your therapist the following day. We also accept many forms of insurance and offer weekend and evening appointments.
Are you ready to pursue happiness? Let’s work together. Contact Thriveworks Manassas today.