Happiness comes from the inside. We hear that all the time, in fact it has become cliché. Yet at the same time we really do miss the point sometimes. We often go round and round in life trying to find that magic something that is going to bring us happiness and often miss opportunities for happiness that are right here for the taking.
Let’s explore a few myths and a few truths on happiness.
Happiness is in the future: We can’t experience anything outside of the “now”. If we are not happy now, there is not much hope of stumbling upon it sometime in the future. In fact the opposite is true. Studies have shown that happiness is a habit and those that cultivate it can experience a steady level of happiness in almost any situation.
Happiness is in objects: Happiness is not in objects. Seriously! I know we have all heard that before but are we done clinging to them? There is no suitcase of happiness out there. Take the rich and famous. They have it all yet happiness often alludes them. So the dream home with the inside movie theater, the Porsche SUV, and that really cool chocolate fountain thing are great and all, yet sadly, they too will not lead to sustainable happiness.
Happiness is on your friends’ Facebook page: Ever take a peek into your favorite Social Media platform only to see everyone else is having a much better time than you are? Swimming with dolphins in Hawaii? What? Second trip to Paris this year… yay for them! The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence as they say. The thing is, is that without a healthy mindset no matter where we are or who we are with, life can be miserable. The same folks that may be looking like they are having a good time can very well be doing the same thing you are; looking for the next dangling carrot, looking for happiness right around the corner.
Happiness is in you: Happiness is a response. Objects can be triggers for the happiness response but where happiness is ultimately, is within you. Neuroscience has already figured this out with research into neural pathways. They have shown that the more we are happy, the more we “wear in” the pathways to the happiness parts of our brains. Like a path through tall grass that has been walked over time and time again our capacity to find and experience more happiness gets easier the more we do it. Anger, sadness and the like share the same fate. The practice then is to develop the habit of happiness. The more we do so, the more happiness will become the default trigger to outside stimulus.
Happiness is in others: Just like you are a big ol’ bag of love, so are other people. Yeah, I know, sometimes we don’t not act like it and others don’t either but it’s true; deep down we all want love and happiness and we all feel better giving kindness rather than doing harm. Nurturing friendships are very important for our happiness levels. It doesn’t have to be just human friendship either. A pet can have a significant positive effect on our overall brightness.
Happiness is in your mind: Those that exhibit high levels of inner resilience think a bit differently about things than others more prone to a negative mindset. Consistently happy people have a knack of extracting the positives out of situations. They also see setbacks as challenges and focus on how to improve the things they can control instead of dwelling on aspects of a situation that they can do little about.
Each moment of happiness lays the groundwork for another moment of happiness. Wherever you find yourself, no matter what obstacles you are facing or what you think you need for happiness to manifest, you can put those aside; just for a moment. Take the next few seconds and smile, open up to gratitude and be that glowing peace you long for. It does not need to come from outside yourself, and indeed that is impossible. You are a living, breathing well of happiness and sometimes you just have to remember to reach down and take a drink.