of our happiness level comes from our genes
of our happiness is accounted for by our intentional daily activities and the choices we make
of our happiness is due to our external circumstances
What do these percentages have to do with your evolution?
Happiness is a set of skills we can learn through practice. Research proves that happiness is possible through intentional habit changes. (research by Lyubomirsky, Sheldon, et al., 2005)
This means that YOU are in control of your happiness and therefore your evolution to the next level of your life and career. Sure, there are some instances which can’t be changed, a lot of ways life can suck, however if we retrain our brains we can achieve happiness despite what is going on around us.
YOU CONTROL YOUR EVOLUTION
How does that make you feel? Powerful or helpless? Powerful knowing that you don’t have to depend on anyone else to feel happy and grow your whole life … or helpless because you don’t feel in control and you can’t imagine being in control, and where the hell do you start with this anyway?
Or somewhere in between?
I used to feel helpless, I used to think “yeah, everything happens for a reason” but I didn’t have any control over that reason. However, the information I learned over the last few years of darkest depression allowed me to realise that I can control my life – or rather I can control how I react to it. This came from something I heard a few years back –
You cannot control what other people do, think, or say, only your reaction to it
This not only applies to people, this applies to situations and circumstances too. I’m not in the perfect place right now, I have illnesses and difficulties which I still need to deal with – however, despite all the things wrong with my life I am happy. I’m not saying I couldn’t be happier, I simply look at my life from a different perspective and feel the gratitude for everything I have.
And here’s the first thought you need to note – gratitude. Often we go around focusing on the lack of everything. “I haven’t got the new car I wanted” or “I haven’t got much money in my bank account” or “I haven’t got the perfect partner” or even “I haven’t got a clean towel”.
What you focus on is what you receive.
We are often blind to all the beautiful things around us. It’s like looking sadly across an arid, dystopian landscape and missing the little green shoots of life poking through the grey, dusty soil. Yet if we bent down and saw one shoot we would then see another, and another, and soon our sadness would be smiles at the thought of all the wonderful life blossoming around us. We would feel joy in the now and for the future.
Keep a gratitude journal, or simply ensure you write down every day at least three things you are grateful for and why you are grateful for them. They don’t have to be big things, I always start with fresh coffee, or a warm bed to wake up in … however soon you will find that the list goes beyond three. Soon you will be seeing four or five and then fifteen and then forty-two wonderful things in your life every day. All the possibilities for joy will open up to you and you will see the opportunities rather than closing yourself off in the Box of Lack. For the thought of Lack is a human failing, there is Abundance in everything if we only look for it.
Be responsible for your thoughts, and also for your actions.
Taking responsibility is another road to happiness for me. Playing the Blame Game is a total vampire, greedily sucking the energy out of your life. Let me give you a scenario based around something which many of us who suffer from mental illness are aware of already.
Spoons : you start each day with ten spoons of energy. You can’t buy any more, you only have ten each day. How are you going to use them? Are you going to spend 4 or five spoons blaming your ex for the way your life has turned out? Are you going to waste three spoons on blaming the queue in the bank for making you late for an important meeting? Are you going to spend two spoons on blaming the weather for cancelling your day in the park?
You are? Why?
Wouldn’t it be awesome to use that energy for something fun instead? Something that actually makes your life better and moves you forward instead of being stuck. And this is where taking responsibility comes in – because we have choices and it is up to us to make the right ones for ourselves. Choosing to expend energy blaming someone or something is a choice. Your choice.
Therefore, take responsibility for your choices, accept that they were what they were. Then move on and make better ones. Once I started taking responsibility for my choices then I discovered an inner serenity (yeah I know that sounds woo) which allowed me to see the possibilities from those choices and how they led me to where I am and how living in the past doesn’t work – the past is a foreign country, they do things differently there.
Gratitude, responsibility – both these things have enabled me to be happier and to evolve my life. The third one is the Power of Now, the way of living I read about in the book of the same name by Eckhardt Tolle. Now there’s a lot in the book I don’t necessarily get on board with however the premise as I understand it in very basic terms – that the past is done and the future is unknown, all we have is the now and if we can feel the happiness in the now then that helps us in our lives – this has allowed me to be more accepting, calmer, happier.
There are many ways in which we can retrain our brains for happiness, these are only three of the ways in which I have found mine, and through these and other methods I have begun my own evolution into the life I dream of. How can I help you find yours?
Be your catalyst for change
There's times when you need to hitch a lift, there's times when the galaxy just isn't guiding you in the right direction, there's times when all you need is the answer (yes I know the ultimate answer is 42 but there are many other questions).
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*Hoopy is defined as "a really together guy." A frood is defined as "a really amazingly together guy."