What is happiness? Is happiness a momentary feeling, or is it a constant way of life? Why do some people always seem to be happy regardless of the situation, while others seem to struggle on a daily basis? Can we modulate our thinking in a way to increase the level of happiness that we have?
The dictionary defines happiness, “as the state of being happy.” But what makes us happy, and how can we be happy more of the time? Being happy is different for everyone. Whereas going on an adventure deep into the jungle, may make one person happy, the idea of going to the jungle and possibly being eaten by an anaconda is terrifying to another. With happiness being so subjective, it would seem relatively easy to find happiness all the time, but unfortunately for many people they struggle with happiness on a daily basis.
I hope everyone at some time in their life has been happy, or had many moments of happiness, whether it be a continuous everyday feeling or fleeting moments; happiness is necessary to a healthy functional life. Unfortunately there are people who lack happiness on a daily basis, whether it is because of a difficult work or life situation, they can no longer see the happiness that is all around them. This type of person is in stark contrast to someone who is struggling with clinical depression. The strategies that we will be discussing to help self manage our emotions although helpful to someone with clinical depression, they should still seek out professional help, from psychiatrists and clinical psychologists.
Before we can discuss how to self manage for happiness, we must first be aware of our emotions to understand how we are feeling most of the time, and why we feel the way we do. Often this requires us to take stock of our emotional state a number of times during the day, because as the situation changes so too can our mood. It may also change throughout the week. The way we feel waking up on a Monday, may be very different than the way we wake up feeling on a Friday, or Saturday. Keeping a journal of our emotions can be very helpful to become mindful of how we feel and gives us an opportunity to understand why we feel the way that we do.
If we wake up 5 days a week Monday through Friday and we are significantly lacking in happiness, using the journal to help us understand what we are unhappy about, can be very helpful. However, we will need to dig deeper than just giving a surface answer. For instance, if you wake up daily and you dislike your job, that’s a good start, but we will need to dig beyond this surface answer. What is it about your job that makes you unhappy? As you answer this be specific because the more specific that you can be the more likely you are going to be able to address the underlying problem.
Data is king. Without data, it is difficult to make an informed decision. Our emotional data is readily available to us, but without purposeful action we may not capture the necessary information. Keeping a journal allows us to identify why we are happy and also when we are not. Knowing what makes us happy is just as important as knowing what makes us unhappy. When we understand our emotions we are able to create situations that tend to make us happy and decrease others that don’t bring us the same level of enjoyment.
You can easily use blank sheets of paper to record how you are feeling or you can use a journal format. Haas Health has a template that you can use, by clicking here.
Start collecting your thoughts, take a moment before you start the day to be mindful and it will pay dividends.