We’ve all heard that happiness is a warm puppy, a good meal, being loved, and other things. People often come to me for counseling or coaching and their goal is to be happy. Happiness seems to be elusive for some, but others seem to happy most of the time. Are we naturally happy or unhappy? Is this a skill we can learn? Where does happiness come from anyway? Good questions!
After 28 years as a counselor/coach, it has been my observation that anyone CAN be happy, but most people are not happy very often. And one of the culprits to our unhappiness is looking to other things or people to make us happy! Happiness is an inside job, folks, and we need to start there in order to have any lasting happiness.
Positive psychology offers different things we can do to increase our level of happiness and several of them include focusing on things we are grateful for in our lives. You can write a gratitude letter to someone who has been a positive in your life. You can remember to savor things in order to maximize enjoyment. I ask people to take a moment at the end of the day to write down 1 good thing that happened that day.
What we are trying to do is turn our attention to things that are good in our lives and not give all our attention to what isn’t so good. Most of us only give a passing thought to something good that happens, but spend hours on something negative. Given that, I wonder why people aren’t as happy as they could be?!
Try this yourself: every night before you go to bed, write down at least 1 thing that was good that day. You can write more, but commit to at least 1. You may have to get creative sometimes (I got a great parking place or it didn’t rain while I was walking), but there is something in each day that is good. Then spend 1-2 minutes thinking about that good thing before you go to sleep.
If you do this for at least 30 days, you will notice a shift in your attention, and possibly, a noticeable increase in your happiness levels. This is a great starting point.
Here’s to being happy!!