“I have chosen to be happy; it is good for my health.” Voltaire
This post was originally going to be called happiness after 60. I had some thoughts and had done some research but I was having a really hard time getting this post to come together and was feeling pretty frustrated. Then it occurred to me that it’s going to be pretty hard to write about happiness when I’m feeling unhappy. So, I decided to see what I could do to improve my emotional state and find out how to get happy.
- Accept how I’m feeling – I remembered the exercise from a previous post, Resistance, about accepting what I am experiencing. So, I said to myself, I accept that I am experiencing frustration and that’s ok. I had been struggling against this feeling which only made it worse. I was trying to do some research so support my somewhat vague ideas, and the more I searched, the more frustrated I got. Nothing was coming together and I had been “stewing” about this now for a couple of days. Once I realized what I was doing, I decided it was time to accept it and let it go. Finally, some relief from the struggle!
- Be present in the moment – Then, I realized that I certainly wasn’t being present in the moment. All kinds of negative chatter was going on in my mind. I decided to take a step back and be the observer of these thoughts which helped me to detach from them.
- Look for something to appreciate – I had clearly been focusing on lots of negatives so I decided to try to find something to appreciate. Spring is almost here and I can now hear the birds singing outside – that is always uplifting for me. Also, I got my first covid vaccine so life is one more step to some kind of normalcy. I thought of several other positive things and found that I was feeling much better – actually happy!
- Nurture that feeling – This is something that is easy to forget. When you are able to move yourself from a negative place to a more positive one, it is important to soak that feeling up and to nurture it. That helps to reset your perspective and allow the new, more positive emotion to “stick.”
I believe happiness is a state of being. Certainly, things happen and we can’t realistically be happy all the time. But, if we can remember these four steps, hopefully we can bring ourselves back to a more positive state. Try it and let me know what you think!