Each new purchase, exciting event, or even achievement holds a promise for our happiness. As the novelty of these things fades, so does the perceived joy that it brings. Having more money, more friends, more vacations, more free time, or even becoming more beautiful doesn’t guarantee more happiness. Similarly, some of the poorest or sickest people on Earth have the most joy.
So, what is the secret to being happy? What causes happiness, and what can we do to create more happiness in our lives?
The secret to happiness is simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
The Reason You’re Unhappy
Our happiness is directly linked to the thoughts that run through our heads each day. The human brain processes between 12,000 – 60,000 thoughts per day! This is both good and bad news…
Let’s start with the bad news. Of those 60,000 thoughts, the vast majority are negative. In fact, over 80% of our daily thoughts are negative. This is due to something called the “negativity bias.” As humans, we are programmed to look for the negative aspects of a situation.
Today, however, this bias can be debilitating. Negative thoughts create negative emotions which then lead to mental and physical health issues like depression, anxiety, pain, fatigue, insomnia, and more.
We are unhappy because we focus on the things about our lives that we don’t like, what we don’t have, and what we aren’t.
Now for the good news! Thoughts are just thoughts. And thoughts are something you can control.
It’s really that simple.
The Simple Secret to Being Happy Every Day
The secret to being happy every day is to retrain your brain to shift from the negativity bias to a positivity bias.
Step 1: Notice your thought patterns.
The first step to being naturally happy is to be aware. Start listening – really listening – to your thoughts. What words do you hear most often?
For many people who struggle with happiness and well-being, there are a few particularly powerful words that show up frequently: never, can’t, should. These words are strongly negative and invoke many deep emotions. Notice when you use these words or other phrases.
Don’t get discouraged if you notice that you have a lot of negative thoughts. Remember – 80% of our daily thoughts tend to be negative. Once you start to shift your focus, changing the narrative will become easier.
Step 2: Re-phrase negatives into positives.
You might not be able to help the negative thoughts that just pop into your head. You have been conditioned over years to think and feel certain things. What you think next is the important part.
Once you’ve noticed a negative thought, turn it around. Think, “that’s an odd thought,” and actively seek out a silver lining.
For example, you may notice a negative thought like, “My bad knee hurts again, it’s always hurting, why can’t it just be normal. My body is broken.” Stop, and rephrase. “My knee is aching, so it must need some extra care today. I am thankful that my body sends me signs when I need to slow down. I am doing my best.”
The situation remains the same (your knee aches), but your experience of it is completely different. Instead of fighting against your “bad knee,” you can celebrate the inner wisdom of your body and the strength you do have.
This, too, takes practice. But the more aware you are of negative thoughts and the more rephrasing you do, this becomes second nature.
Step 3: Seek out good thoughts.
The last step to priming your thoughts for happiness is to look for the good in life. Even if you are going through a particularly troubling time, there is always something to be grateful for. It’s difficult to be depressed when you realize you have so much.
Throughout the day, try to point out a few things that are going well in the moment. It could be a quiet office, the shining sun, or even the comfort of your own breath. Once you start to look out for something, it becomes more common and apparent.
Have you ever been shopping for a car, pick out a model you like, then start to see the model of car everywhere? This is called the “frequency bias” and it works just as well for positive thoughts as it does cars. Seek out the good and you will find it – everywhere.
Happiness is Yours
At Quicare®, we strive to find positivity through the pain. Pain and suffering inspired us to start this company, and now we are proud to offer our effective, natural solutions to help you conquer your pain and find joy and happiness in your life.
Abraham Lincoln once said, “Folks are usually about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” It might be easier said than done, but it’s possible. The choice to be happy is yours, will you make it?
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