Lots of people think those that are happy are just born that way.
But that is not true at all. Trust me.
The biggest determining factor is how we respond to things -
our thoughts and our actions.
Of course, our upbringing and life experiences influence how we develop into adulthood. But we can choose if that is a positive driving force influence, or a destructive influence.
To be clear I am not minimising the traumas, the heartbreaks, the pain or suffering that anyone experiences. I am not disregarding the inevitable emotional impact that events will have, we all have a human response.
But what I am talking about is the difference between the person who is impacted for a while, and then rebuilds and moves forwards versus the person who is stuck for a long time, when their experience is exactly the same.
Have you come across someone who has had a really difficult life or experience and is still a positive person and thought - wow, how do they do that? This is what I'm talking about. Those people that make you think - "I wish I was like that"
It can be a difficult concept to accept and absorb that we are our main determining factor in our happiness. It certainly feels easier to blame other people and events for our suffering than to look at what we can do. It is easier to focus on the bad, than look at how to create the good.
So often in therapy I ask clients:
But what are the things you can control?
What is a step you could be taking today that would help you tomorrow?
Sometimes the things we can control feel small compared to the elements we can't do anything about that are negative. That can make it easy to feel like - "why bother?"
But it's exactly these small things that make a difference. If we do these things day in day out, our lives will be so much better for it.
Happiness comes from having a number of strategies in place that help your emotional wellbeing, that keep you resilient regardless of the events that happen.
10 Strategies to achieve Happiness
- Letting Things Go - Helping to Avoid Feelings of Anger
- Engaging Regularly in Activities Outside your Comfort Zone - Helping to Challenge and Overcome Anxiety and Fear
- Using a Planning Approach - Helps with Poor Motivation and Procrastination
- Adopting Healthy Lifestyle Habits - To achieve good general health and wellbeing
- Working to recognise and change your Self-Destructive Habits - Reduces you Getting in your Own Way
- Questioning and Challenging your Negative Beliefs and Thoughts rather than automatically believing them
- Developing good Work/Life Balance - Reduces symptoms of Stress
- Regularly engaging in Activities that help you experience Enjoyment, Relaxation and Fulfilment
- Creating Healthy Boundaries with people in your life - Achieving better functioning relationships at work and home
- Seeking Professional Help when your own approaches aren't enough
These are some of the main strategies that are important to help achieve good emotional stability and emotional resilience. It isn't about just applying these approaches when you are really suffering or distressed, but applying them on a consistent basis, even when it's hard to do so. It is a lifelong process.
Some people will have learnt some elements of these approaches through examples set by parents, or by encouragement from friends or partners. Others will have developed them through learning the hard way first. There are those who will have worked on it themselves through study and self-help approaches. But for others professional support is needed.
Personal Therapy can teach all of the Approaches needed to Achieve Good Emotional Health and a Happy Life
My goal in therapy is to not just look at the symptoms that are occurring right now, but to look at the person and their life as a whole:
- What the elements are that they are missing?
- What is keeping them stuck?
- What do they need to learn to stop this happening again?
I often have clients thinking I have it all together and always have had. But this is definitely not the case. Like anyone else, I've had to work on these things, and I'm still working on them now. Yes it gets easier and more automatic over time, but it still requires my continual effort.
Happiness is a Lifelong Process