Think for a moment about the people you know who are authentically happy. What are they like? What are their lives like? Most likely, their life has ups and downs, just like everyone else. They probably have good days and bad ones. They may even face serious challenge every day. Yet, they have also learned how to weather life’s storms with a smile on their face. They can honestly sing along with Pharrell Williams,
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 does it take to be so happy that life’s difficulties cannot detract from the joy people feel? Countless online articles will recommend a certain diet, power poses, enough sleep (but not too much), enough friends (but not too many), and so forth. Clearly, people want to be happy, but is that possible? Can people increase the happiness they feel?
Yes, happiness is like a muscle. Everyone has a base level of strength, and anyone can grow stronger. Same with happiness: people can increase how much happiness they feel. The question is how? How do people separate clickbait suggestions from emotional habits that boost happiness? Many people are turning to mental health professionals for help.
The counselors at Thriveworks Marietta offer increasing happiness help, and they are seeing many clients who are ready to prioritize their happiness. We love watching our clients experience a more joyful, satisfied life.
Taking Control of Happy Feelings
All too often, people base their joy off of events or actions that are outside of their control. Their happiness follows one of two formulas: unfavorable outcome=negative feelings, favorable outcome=happy feelings. Take, for example, the following scenarios:
- Your team’s overtime loss puts a damper on your whole week.
- A bonus from work makes your month.
- A random, inconsiderate text from your mom ruins a fun night out with friends.
There are innumerable scenarios that could be listed, but the underlying principle is the same: things outside of people’s control determines whether they feel happiness or not.
Other people and life events certain play a part in happiness, but they are not the main characters—they are supporting actors. The most important role belongs to each individual. When people learn to draw happiness from within themselves and from places where they have a measure of control, they often increase the joy they feel. Here is how…
Resisting Negative Emotional Habits
When people indulge in certain emotional habits, they may be hampering their happiness. These negative habits often inhibit joy. The following are ways people frequently sabotage their own well-being:
- Entitlement: A passive stance toward happiness often means people are waiting a long time to feel joy. Happiness is often earned, not given, as The Declaration of Independence says, “the pursuit of happiness.”
- Blame: Pointing fingers instead of solving problems often means that issues are never resolved but often grow to overshadow all of life. Unresolved issues choke out joy.
- Comparison: Looking over people’s shoulders to glimpse at what they have or what they do may lead to a moment of pleasure, but it is a trap that ultimately leads to resentment, not happiness.
Promoting Positive Emotional Habits
Rooting out negativity is a great start, but sustainable, resilient happiness requires forming new, positive emotional habits. Therapists can guide people toward the exercises that build up happiness. Examples of such exercises may include:
- Setting a goal – Looking toward the future for a personal or professional goal can bring anticipation, excitement, and focus into people’s daily life.
- Practicing mindfulness – Feel feelings; think thoughts; notice sensations. Pay attention to the here and now without labels and without judgment.
- Changing one’s mindset – Every scenario in life has opportunity, and people can reframe events to see it. Soon, they are seeing more and more opportunities they had previously missed.
- Promoting thankfulness – Gratitude is closely tied to happiness. Taking time each day to say, “thanks,” or to write down what went well means people are focusing their attention on the good, beautiful, and true things in the world.
People cannot control much that happens in this world, but when they accept responsibility for what they can control, they can cultivate an emotional environment where happiness blossoms. As people draw happiness from sources within their control, the joy they feel remains relatively stable even as life has its normal ups and downs.
Increasing Happiness Therapy at Thriveworks Marietta, GA
Are you tired of your happiness waxing and waning with events beyond your control? Are you ready to take back control and cultivate a sustainable, stable joy? If so, you are not alone. A lot of people are prioritizing their happiness. A lot of people are also working with a mental health professional to formulate a plan on how best to increase their joy.
If you are ready to work with a therapist, know that Thriveworks Marietta has appointments available for increasing happiness.
We offer evening and weekend sessions. There are no waitlists. We also work with many different insurance companies.
If you are ready to prioritize your happiness, we are ready to help. Contact Thriveworks Marietta today.