You know what they say – you can’t buy happiness …. but this week I’ve been thinking – what really does define happiness? I mean obviously it varies from person to person but – are there any core traits that define it as a whole?
Wikipedia says “Happiness is a mental state of well-being characterized by positive emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. A variety of biological, psychological,religious, and philosophical approaches have striven to define happiness and identify its sources.”
– So although I like the “joy” reference 🙂 – what the heck does that actually mean? Here’s my take – Happiness is defined by yourself and no one else. You can’t depend on someone else to bring you happiness, you just have to open your heart and be open to receiving it. I mean if you aren’t receptive to it – then what does it matter if your best friend presents you with a cheque for $1 million dollars (ok – I want that friend – so you can send them on my way! lol)
How do you know if you are open to happiness? My personal opinion (given that its my blog) is that you have to be content within yourself to truly be open to the positive experiences in life. Being content doesn’t mean that you can’t or shouldn’t set goals or strive for more, it means “sure I’m doing those things and trying to grow into being the best person I can be but I am ok with who I am now/how far I have come/ok moving forward” – in general “I like myself (or the person I am on the journey to being)” – Wooo not rocket science right? But an eye opener none the less.
Having gone thru a difficult time in my life – where happiness was as scarce as water in the dessert (I mean there were mirages of happiness but not the real thing) – I can truly say that sometimes your biggest barrier is the thought of change. Ok, Ok, I can hear you now – “what are you talking about Joy – of course a positive change is a good thing!” No one is arguing that – but are you ready to look at things a different way? “Of course!” you say, but really – lets take a simple example.
Things in my life that bring me great “Joy” (ok I will give the Joy references a rest) can be as small as a giant peanut butter-chocolate ice cream cone on a hot day – #YUM – now I know this is not good for me but hey its a treat once in a while! So now I look at it as “Yum – that was awesome and truly enjoy it” – in the past however, I wasn’ ready to accept that
joy happiness, and instead of thinking – “That was awesome” – I would have been concentrating on the amount of fat, in the ice cream, and the calories and the fact I had no will power and generally beating myself up for a long time afterwards. See the difference? Same physical experience – different psychological approaches.
Now I am not saying to go buy an ice cream and achieve instantaneous happiness – but the next time you think – “It’s not fair – I just want to be happy!” – try asking yourself – what you can do to accept it when its presented to you.
Until next blog, be happy & healthy -(But may your day be filled with chocolate peanut butter ice cream cones 🙂
PS – Dieters – you are probably your own worst critic! try this:
If you think:
“Damn it – I haven’t lost X number of pounds even though I’ve been working out like crazy” OR ” Jane lost 10 LB and I only lost 3 – that is so not fair”
Try reorganizing your thoughts to be:
“Wow, I’m surprised my weight hasn’t dropped as much as I though – but I feel so much better walking up the stairs and I sleep better too”.
how many attitude “adjustments” can you make?