Happiness is neither a feeling nor a thought. Rather, happiness is a state (you may find it easier to imagine a backdrop). Unfortunately, there is no permanence in happiness. You may have it at one stage – and or in one area of your life – but that doesn’t mean the backdrop stays in place the whole time.
Continuing our Happiness theme for November, this week’s guest blog is Samantha Jung-Fielding the founder of happinessence.
For many of us, the most noticeable thing about happiness is its absence from our world. In our quick fix society, this deficiency generates questions like: How can I sort this? What must I do to be happy? And how quickly will it work?
There are a number of scientific studies which focus on how to make ourselves happy. Of particular interest to psychologists are people who previously faced true adversity, e.g. poverty, violence, abuse, addiction, imprisonment, serious illness, death of a loved one. Nevertheless, many such individuals find happiness.
Apparently, psychological resilience is the secret sauce. This is not merely the ability to bounce back or recover easily. When it comes to happiness, resilience equates to resistance from within, that stubborn desire to emerge victorious no matter what. To remain happy, it seems we must exercise vigilance and subscribe to a process of continual improvement.
This being the case, here’s my quick 3-step process to set you on the right track.
Understand first that happiness shows up in your life as moments which bring you joy, contentment, excitement, positivity, exhilaration or awe. The more frequently these moments occur, the happier you are.
Step one: Identify moments which lift your spirits. Note that this is different for everyone! There is no magic formula. Some people enjoy immersing themselves in activities with loved ones, while others prefer the contentment of a solo fishing expedition. Are you the kind of person who feels joy when helping others? Or do you hanker after the rapt attention of an adoring crowd, each audience member hanging on your every word? Recognise clearly whatever fulfils you, so you can actively seek more.
Step two: Take responsibility for building more positivity into your world. If you enjoy company, don’t wait for others to include you. Be the one to extend the invitation. Choose to craft an activity that others want to undertake. You can even join a club to explore a long-held ambition. On the other hand, if you’re in a situation with someone and there’s an elephant in the room, take the initiative. Begin discussions to address the issue. Something has to change? Work out an alternative and take the lead putting it in place.
Step three: Build further on whatever results you achieve. So many people stop just when they’re getting started! When you find something that works, I urge you to repeat it again, and again and again. Over time, what is repeated becomes a habit which runs automatically. Generally-speaking, people fall into negative habits and this creates a backdrop (state) of sameness. Without joyful peaks to lift our spirits, the monotony of routine (especially one focused on the needs of others) gradually spirals into boredom and detachment. Along the way, we subconsciously recognise this lack, and label it unhappiness.
Opinions vary on the number of days required to establish a new habit – experts quote from 18 to 63 days. However, they do agree on the concept of long-term, consistent repetition. The part I find most interesting? To form a good habit or a bad habit requires the same effort… the difference is your focus.
In conclusion, to be happy now you must be prepared to start over. Of course, I don’t mean right back at the beginning, but it is important to reset your energy and open yourself to a new way. After all, if the old way were working, you wouldn’t need to change your approach. Make awareness your starting point…and then take the three simple steps I’ve outlined above. Remember, progress can be slow. No matter, as long as it’s consistent and repeated. Finally, if you want happiness to be your long-term backdrop, wherever you arrive with each try, stay resilient. Just refresh, and go again!
Samantha Jung-Fielding is the founder of www.happinessence.co.nz which helps individuals, groups and corporates establish an effective mindset, create successful habits and develop winning behaviours to maximise accomplishment.
Do you find yourself saying, “I’ll be happy when…”? Then the first video in our new series, ‘Money and Happiness’ will have something for you.
Real wealth is discretionary time, and money is merely fuel. You do deserve to be happy and it’s far easier to make others happy when you’re happy and to help others when you’ve helped yourself (Alan Weiss).
If you would like to have a chat to us about your money and your happiness, or lack of it, pick up the phone or drop us an email