Last week I wrote about the power of savouring enjoyable moments throughout the day to increase our sense of wellbeing. This article goes a little further and looks at how we can intentionally manifest our own happiness when we are just not feeling it.
I have been working a lot on my own happiness levels for the several months now.
I initially saw a counsellor to try and manage recurrent negative spirals but I realised that, actually, I needed tools to intentionally alter my own mindset.
Changing how we think takes time and effort, it doesn’t just happen, and we have to work at it until it becomes embedded and our new ‘default’.
Many of us are caught in the ‘fixed mindset’ of thinking we are born with a set personality and characteristics which we are stuck with but the neural pathways in our brains are malleable and can be re-trained over time. This is neuroplasticity, a fascinating subject. It is never too late to create lasting change.
This is how we can learn to beat cravings, master languages and play new instruments at 80!
The tools that have helped me most are combining a practice of embodied yoga with positive psychology.
Embodied yoga is practicing with awareness of how the body feels physically and emotionally, being open to receiving this information and moving in a supportive way to let negativity go and embrace healing, compassion, positivity and love.
Practicing poses with the intent to manifest joy is a powerful tool, especially when you are not feeling it. You are not supposed to feel it at first, that’s the point, you are intentionally creating a new mindset which takes time and ongoing practice. However, the wonderful thing I have found is that it often doesn’t take very long to feel the benefit. From the start to the end of your embodied practice you should feel at least a flicker of change.
Here is a previous blog I wrote about using your yoga practice to lift your spirits.
This week I wanted to share another very simple positive psychology tool to manifest happiness.
“The secret of a happy life”
Nicholas Epley is a behavioral psychologist and author of many books and studies on social connection and happiness.
In a podcast with the University of Chicago he talks about the importance of social interactions and how each interaction with another person usually adds to our happiness levels, even in just a small way. He says:
“..I think the data on happiness and well-being make it pretty clear that that’s…the secret to a happy life. It’s not pursuing those big Mt. Everest type moments. It’s not the intensity of positive experiences that really predicts happiness in life. It’s the frequency of them. A lot of little positive moments sprinkled throughout the day at times it would otherwise not be so good. You are commuting, you’re just walking down the sidewalk, wherever you see a moment where you can reach out to somebody, say hello, give somebody a smile, help somebody with something, reach out to a friend. Those make those moments where you’re sort of ebbing a little bit, that’s not the best moment, makes those a little better.”
I love this, such simple advice. Noticing what your not-so-great parts of the day are and intentionally creating positivity in those moments by connecting with another human being.
It may feel awkward at first but if we keep going, keep interacting and intentionally work on strengthening our personal relationships, sprinkling positive moments throughout our day, then this will become a habit and we all be a lot happier.