"Eternal Sunshine", is this state of constant happiness and positivity. Who would not like to be always in this state? We keep hearing gurus, people who have found the way and promise that you can do it too”... It seems that everyone around us on social media is exultant and full of life. We constantly read phrases that tell us that if we want we can and that the sky is the limit.
But why am I not happy all the time?
I sincerely do not believe in states of constant happiness. Nor do I believe that they exist, nor do I believe that they are even good or necessary; from my point of view, happiness is achieved by contrast, that is, we can appreciate the good only when we know the bad. It is said that we appreciate things when we have already lost them. But it is not necessary to go that far. I think the key is to learn to appreciate the little things of everyday life and to be grateful for every moment of our existence.
Happiness is a subjective experience and should not be confused with pleasure, excessive joy, or euphoria, but rather a state of inner well-being, tranquillity, and being content with your life. The hours go by slowly and the days go by quickly; similarly, we are not happy on a day-to-day basis, but if you were to ask almost all of us, we could say that we are happy in general terms. It is the paradox of happiness.
Happiness can be influenced by a wide range of factors such as personal relationships, career, health, and life circumstances and it can also be influenced by individual factors such as personality, genetics, and past experiences.
The truth is, some people may have a natural inclination toward happiness, while others may have to work harder to cultivate it.
So, can I do something to be happier?
The main principles of the book "The How of
Happiness" by Sonja Lyubomirsky, which for me is one of the best books on happiness, are that happiness is not solely determined by external circumstances, but can be cultivated through intentional activities and practices. The book proposes that 40% of one's happiness is determined by intentional activities such as cultivating gratitude, setting and achieving goals, and practicing mindfulness and positive relationships, while 50% is determined by a genetic set point and 10% by life circumstances.
Discard False beliefs
The first thing we must do is discard false beliefs about happiness. If you think that happiness is just around the corner but it will come in the future, when you have a house or a car or when you get married or when you finish your career, if you think you can only be happy if a stroke of luck makes you win the lottery, sorry but you are probably wrong. It has been proven that these events do not imply a state of happiness at all. Reaching certain economic levels, let's call it survival ones, the levels of happiness are equalized. On the other hand, and this struck me powerfully, absolutely negative events such as becoming paraplegic also do not influence long-term happiness levels. That is if you have enough food on your plate and your basic needs covered, congratulations, you can be as happy as a Sainz Tropez millionaire.
These and other false beliefs prevent us from having that state of happiness we long for. And so we let life pass us by thinking that happiness is just around the corner when the reality is, as Lennon said, happiness is what happens as you plan for the future. Avoid getting old and saying, happiness was there, happiness is inside you, now in the story, you tell yourself every day about your life. So make sure your story is positive and above all grateful.
Be thankful for your day
Be thankful for your day, for the morning coffee, and be thankful that you can walk or feel the smell of wet earth. Be thankful for every minute of your existence when you feel down. Find a purpose that is bigger than your navel, help others, stop and get to know your neighbor, and take an interest in the lives of others. Touch people, touch, hugs, and kisses are necessary to release oxytocin, the hormone of happiness. Move, your brain needs oxygenated blood to function properly. A daily walk in nature will bring you more benefits than a few thousand euros in your bank account. Be permissive with the people you live with, understand that they also have their backpacks full of challenges, struggles, and disappointments, and be compassionate with others but first of all with yourself.
Be kind and supportive
Remember to do something good every day for someone. It doesn't have to be anything too big, help the neighbor with her bags, ask an untalkative or unintegrated classmate what they did last weekend. Stop your car even if you have the right of way and kindly let someone pass. You will see your mood change immediately. It's the little things that change everything.
Identify your IKIGAI
Identify your strengths, what you are good at doing, and what you do easily and naturally. Identify your IKIGAI, your “reason for being”, and your purpose. And put your gifts and talents at the service of humanity. If you are good with computers, develop a collaborative website or help a friend open an online store. If you like to write, start a blog or write daily on Instagram. And don't worry about likes; do it because you like it and because it makes you grow. You never know when you can be an inspiration to others.
Wake up with a goal in mind
Get up every day with at least one task in mind that you want to accomplish. And I am not talking about tasks that you must carry out, but a goal for that day that makes you happy or that contributes to your state of well-being or personal improvement. Sit down five minutes before the day starts to define your daily goals and your medium and long-term goals. Redefine them as many times as necessary.
Set fixed hours for Excercise and Sleep
Finally, remember to do some sport or some excercise every day, and move your feet, your brain needs oxygenated blood to function. Sleep at least 7 hours in absolute silence and darkness, your body is forever and it is the only one you have, do not mistreat it with drugs, alcohol, junk food, or sedentary life. Your body is your temple and if your body is not well, your mind will not be well either.
Do not fall into the trap of helplessness
We have come to erase and rewrite ourselves every day until we have perfected our best version. Do not fall into the trap of helplessness, there is always a way out, there is always an inner narrative more positive and above all more compassionate to what happens to you. Do not cling to things that can no longer happen, do not cling to the past or to people who do not want you in their lives. Turn the page as soon as possible. We are made of the present, of the here and now, of the most current moment. If something goes wrong feel your breath, place your hand on your chest and listen to your heart, it is there, beating for you, you are alive, and there is hope, live and be happy.
Want to know more?
Many books discuss the science of happiness and well-being, but I only recommend you these:
"The How of Happiness" by Sonja Lyubomirsky: This book presents a comprehensive overview of the research on happiness and proposes activities that have been scientifically and rigorously proven to make you happier.
The Happiness Project" by Gretchen Rubin: This book is a memoir of the author's year-long experiment to increase her happiness by following a set of rules she created based on scientific research and ancient wisdom.
Don’t miss this video about Happiness from Sonja Lyubomirsky, (Auto translate in English is available for this video).
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