It’s a strange messy world out there and the happiest people aren’t the ones who have faced fewer difficulties in life, but those who have learned to enjoy the moment they live in.
Life sucks whenever it gets stuck with adversity. Spiteful, smarting… just everything about it makes you feel hapless and jinxed.
When you‘re anxious about something or your mind is busy browsing past events, it’s easy to relive your fears, worries and every negative thought you had, over and over in your mind. Next, it’s not long before they start shaping your reality.
That’s awful! But you could still stop your brain from looking back; from horror stories to toxic relationships to those grumpy days, it rehashes every bad sore that still make you resentful, angry and disappointed even though it may have happened long time back!
Bad experiences and worries never let go easy.
There are plenty of DIY columns and scores of self-help books claiming to have found the key to an everlasting happiness. I’ve been through a few of them and yet couldn’t convince myself. Even Mo Gadwat’s Solve for Happy: Engineer Your Path to Joy and Adjust the Code That Runs Your Brain seem like just two more to add to the stack. Not much of a relief here. Stories of burn outs and the great resignation paranoia still continue to rage prime time screen. Not far behind are a cheeky few that sizzle as screamers in unprincipled journals. The din as usual is raucous and always in vain.
Happiness, I think lies somewhere in between the events of life and our expectations of how it should respond. This is fairly obvious. If we expect much more from life than the reality, heartaches and regrets happen and nothing thereafter would let us be happy.
Look…unlike our everyday coffee spills and parking tickets, we constantly see the rose tinted version of everybody’s ‘best life’. We prefer to ignore the half eaten bitter part of it. And it’s when our brain begins to bump off. More receptive to negative emotions, it begins to discard anything and everything ‘good’.
Does this mean we should pare down our expectations? Isn’t this opposite of what we normally get to hear for self-empowerment?
Much like AI, sometimes our brain also gets afflicted with spams and bugs and trojans. And when that happens, everything sucks! From dismay to chagrin, every life changing decision leads to a narrow downward spiral. Nothing seems to reflect reality. Every dreadful thought would only worsen your fears over what future may bring.
Fortunately, this is not without a caveat. We aren’t meant to doom despite our brain’s natural disposition to upsetting events. The wretched part though is that in the middle of this you couldn’t hit the snooze.
So, is there a way to combat this bias? What if we could somehow reprogram our brain to scan only for good things in life, parse the possibilities before moving ahead and at the end of it- eventually be happier?
If lately your brain’s been busy accumulating suspicions and worries, flagging them a big red “This Is Important!!” it’s time for a cool 30 sec. ‘beard stroking’.
Maybe you too could patch up your brain and go breezy!
Slow things down
When you’re feeling frazzled, stressed or distracted, taking a conscious approach to your thinking helps. Tip!… spend a moment to calm your mind, take few deep breaths to fill your lungs with fresh air and let go of every thought that troubles you. Let life happen of its own. Don’t drag yourself into it.
Give yourself 10 secs and you’ll be ready for a positive reboot in no time!
Good things matter
One simple way to retailor your brain to respond to positive patterns only, is to look towards worthwhile things happening around you. Rake up a list of most appealing ones and muse ‘what caused them to happen’? You would carry the day every time you discover something positive. And every small win each day will reward you with a choice to empower and motivate yourself.
Small favors create circle of joy
When we are nice to others or somehow make others feel good, we get goosebump moments of happiness. Every small act that makes people smile, brings joy to us too. All it needs is a moment of favor; buy someone a cup of coffee, help a stranger, walk an old person across the street or even feed a stray animal; every act of generosity will get you a little rush at happiness. Your usual pattern of worrying and fretting will be lost in flashes of mirth and joy.
Your present shapes your tomorrow
No tomorrow, no next week …It’s right this moment! It’s not hard to exercise. It’s only about practicing mindfulness. Not a big deal if you’d recognize your emotions. Put in a dry run, if you’re not convinced enough. Switch your thoughts to positive ones for a change and let everything around you happen without judging them. Once this gets under your skin, good things begin to happen.
Now that you have tamed your subconscious you won’t let it drive your decisions. You have taught your brain to sense, when it’s slipping and when it should defrag for a more balanced and positive outlook.
The skeptic in me though, never fails to line up sweet accusations as alibi to screen my often offensive behavior. “If it worked even for one of them why wouldn’t it for me? Why not give it a try?”
Not that, it’s impossible to get success when you have resigned yourself to wickedness in you. But tagging mistrust and uncertainty to your life is always a bad idea. Simply put, it influences your life and would worsen your decision making.
IMHO!… get into the habit of continually checking with yourself and consciously steer your thoughts clear of negativity; it’s not long before it will become your second skin.
And it’s important to remember that it can happen. Better still, you can do it.
Maybe…someday you’ll live a moment when it won’t feel like every day is a Monday!
Isn’t that something happiness is all about?