If you struggle to maintain a state of happiness when life throws you a curve-ball, try doing the following.
1. Identify how the past may be influencing your perception today
Limiting beliefs from the past may affect your experience today and frustrate your attempts to find happiness.
A belief is a thought with emotion(s) attached to it, and belief patterns form when we interpret what we experience and file it away in our memory like files in a filing cabinet. As we decode more and more experiences, our mind creates files by bunching similar experiences together finding generalities and commonalities amongst them. These files make up our subconscious or unconscious mind, a culmination of general ways to respond to similar situations or the foundation of our perception. Some are helpful like, “look both ways before you cross the street,” don’t lick a frozen pole,” or “don’t eat yellow snow.” Some are limiting, create stress and limit your perspective like, “it doesn’t matter what I do,” or “everyone I love leaves me.” Old limiting beliefs can influence how you perceive a present day experience and potentially influence your ability to feel happy. Therefore, identifying negative limiting beliefs is the first step to finding happiness.
2. Take action to move through perceived barriers
Finding happiness requires action. If you are not feeling happy, you need to DO something different. Start by asking yourself the following question, “What in your life is keeping you from being happy?”
If you answered a better job, more money, someone to love me, etc. ask yourself a second question, “If I had a better job, more money, someone to love me, etc. how would I feel? Let’s say your answer is that you would feel loved, admired, challenged, and confident.
The action you need to take to find happiness comes from those feelings. What can you do right now to feel loved, admired, challenged or confident? Maybe you could play with a pet or a child, help at a food bank, learn something new, practice a skill. Whatever you can do now to elicit those feelings is crucial to finding happiness.
3. Enjoy life’s journey without relying on external stimuli.
This last step requires finding the gifts in the moment. No matter what is happening, there is always a gift in the experience, but it requires you to open your perspective to see it.
For example, if you sprain your ankle, and are unable to work you may think that finding a gift in the experience is impossible. However, if you can dig deep and try to find just one, you may find another. One gift may be that you don’t have to work. Perhaps another gift may be that you get to watch your favorite show on T.V., you don’t have to take the garbage out or maybe that you’ll get some well-needed rest. Finding the gifts in the moment changes how you feel and keeps your perception open to alternate interpretations and wondrous possibilities.
Finding happiness is possible if you can perceive your present experience without being influenced negatively from the past, partake in an action to move forward through perceived barriers and open yourself to the gifts in every moment.