By Penny Hill | CNA Media Team
What makes us happy? We get the job we want; or the raise, the partner or new shoes we want and that makes us feel happy. And, if we don’t get what we want that can make us unhappy. Is happiness something that we get, something we only acquire from outside of ourselves, that comes along with desires accomplished or material goods or relationships?
The answer is that happiness is much more than a temporary reaction to external circumstance; it is an internal habit we can cultivate. Yes, that new silk shirt will make us happy, but only for a time. That new car will make us happy, and even though it is a much bigger “want,’ it’s ability to make us happy will also fade as it merges into the everyday-ness of life. Happiness we acquire this way fades and we are off in a perpetual search for something else to make us happy.
Real happiness comes from within. And, it can be self generated. There is a phenomenon called a ‘happiness set point.’ Studies show that after a big windfall – like winning a lottery- within about a year, people will return to their previous level of happiness. The same is also true following a tragedy. But we are not stuck with the set point we have now. There is some thought that people have naturally higher or lower set points. But from where we are now, we can all raise our happiness set point.
The nice thing about getting happier is that although it does take practice, and some devotion to developing the habits of happiness, the end result is – happiness!
You can go out and have experiences that make you happy which could be anything from a roller-coaster ride, a trip to the beach, seeing a Broadway play or even your kid’s play. The remembered happiness of this experience is a resource you can draw on anytime.
Including personal growth in your routine can bring happiness. Growing, as a person brings happiness.
But, by far, the biggest bang for your happiness buck comes from helping others, or doing something that brings meaning to your life. Build this into your life or acknowledge what you are doing now and focus on the feelings this brings you.
The goodness of life is here for you too. Our brain’s default settings are about keeping us alive. Therefore our brain is always looking for trouble. And the old adage is true, “you find what you look for.” So look for happiness! Find and bookmark in your mind all the little things that are making you happy. Catalog those physical sensations that tell you you are happy. Happy is in the body, not in the mind.
Everyday is full of opportunities to enjoy beauty, give someone a smile, meditate for 10 minutes, practice gratitude where you can recall and feel all the happy things in your life, help a friend or give a kind word. When we build a bank of positivity we can draw on that (without depleting it!) and move our happiness ‘set point’ higher.
Penny Hill, LMT provides stress relief to her neighbors through her businesses, Rising Sun Massage, risingsunmassage.massagetherapy.com and EFT Tapping For Stress Relief. For more EFT resources & contact information go to CalmHealthEase.com