Most people know the one most basic rule about happiness. . . it doesn’t come from material wealth.
At some point, everyone and their dog has been told that money doesn’t guarantee happiness, and that the things that bring you real joy are priceless.
But that’s kinda vague and unconvincing. Sure, money won’t bring me happiness, but it can buy me food and that’s the same thing… right??
Well, as it turns out, not really. Money can open doors to all sorts of things that we think will satisfy us, but those things will not leave us permanently happy. The word happiness is defined as ‘feeling or showing pleasure or contentment’- the key word there being ‘feeling.’ Happiness is a feeling. It is something that happens internally, a result achieved by changing the way we think.
Most people know the one most basic rule about happiness. . . it doesn’t come from material wealth.”
Scientific studies show that approximately 40% of how we feel is solely controlled by ourselves, by what we think about and focus on.
This can explain why long-term happiness doesn’t necessarily come from things like getting good grades, getting a good job, and earning lots of money, as those are all external things.
Have you ever thought to yourself: “If only I had ______, then I’d be happy”? How about: “When I’ve completed _____ goal, and been through ____ experience, then I can truly be happy”? If so, you’re not alone. We often put pressure on ourselves to complete a goal by telling ourselves that that is how we’re going to achieve happiness. Upon the completion of that goal, we will feel a burst of euphoria- but that euphoria is short-lived and not the satisfying, long-term happiness we’re looking for. After a while, we start feeling dissatisfied and empty again. So, we set our goals even higher and start the cycle again, each time trying to find happiness, but each time failing to do so.
By setting goal after goal after goal, you might become rich, successful and beautiful by society’s standards, but the reality is that none of that is happiness.
This is because external elements, while contributing to our overall quality of life, don’t actually play the most important roles in our happiness. It’s your mindset about your life that affects your happiness. You could end up with a brilliant career, heaps of riches and dozens of friends, but if you are constantly thinking that you “are still not good enough” or “could do better”, you won’t be happy. And in the long run, things like money, career, and popularity mean nothing without happiness.
So how do we find long-term happiness? How do we capture that elusive feeling of contentment and pleasure, once and for all? The answer: we have to change our internal mindsets, more so than our external environments.
3 Practices for Long-term Internal Happiness
#1: Practice Gratitude
Try to write down three things every day that you are grateful for. They can be big or small things, from your family to your health to the invention of indoor heating (I know that’s gonna be on my list). Practicing gratitude regularly over a long period of time is one surefire way to change for the better in your overall happiness. When you choose to focus on the positive, your outlook will transform into something more positive; as you find more things to be grateful about in your life, you will feel much more content and happy.
#2: Practice Reflection
To boost your happiness, you can also practice reflection on your health and self-care levels, as health is closely tied in with happiness. Once a week or so, take time to reflect on how you are feeling in all aspects. Track how you’ve been eating, hydrating, thinking (e.g. negative\positive thoughts, or worrying/ruminating thoughts), sleeping, and exercising. Then, reflect on how all of this is affecting you, and make small changes to increase your overall health. Do things that make you feel good, such as spending time with loved ones or volunteering for a cause you believe in. Go out and seek positive social interactions with other people. Take responsibility for taking care of yourself, physically, mentally, and emotionally.
#3 Practice Controlling The Way You Think
Finally- and this is the kicker- realize the power that you have over your outlook. At times, it might feel like your brain is working against you, but it’s important to realize that you have the power to change the way you are feeling and thinking. Take control of your thoughts when they start to become negative, and tell yourself positive, empowering and affirmative things instead.
Anyone can take action to change the way they feel internally no matter what their age is, gender, social status or wealth. Your outlook is always more important than your circumstance, and you are completely capable of taking control of that outlook!
You deserve to be happy, so why not try to start today? Want to talk about it? Contact us by phone, chat and text.