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The Key To Happiness – It’s All In Your Head

happinessIn recent years, psychologists have increasingly focused their attention on finding out what makes us truly happy. The research has found one fundamental concept to be true – that our happiness is a state of mind that comes from within, and is not necessarily dependent on what is going on in our lives. In other words, we can choose to be happy, regardless of our external circumstances.

Stop thinking, start living

At first glance, this may seem overly simplistic and somewhat delusional. How can you be happy if you have been unemployed for 6 months? Or if you haven’t met that special someone yet? How can you be happy if you are overweight? The truth is, you can be happy whatever your circumstances. In his book “Stop Thinking, Start Living“, psychologist Richard Carlson gives numerous examples of people who have found happiness, even though on the surface their life situation may appear to be unbearable. I’m sure you know people who seem to be happy most of the time, even though their life looks to be a mess. Equally, you will know people who are sad, but whose life looks great to the outsider!

If you put conditions on your happiness, you will never be happy, because there will always be something else that you want. “I’ll be happy once I buy my own house”. “As soon as I get that promotion, I’ll be happy”. “I’ll be happy when I meet someone special”.  Set goals, work hard, and achieve success, but don’t make your happiness conditional on anything.

You can choose to dismiss unhelpful thoughts

I’m not saying that when bad things happen, such as a relationship break-up, losing your job, or a loved one dying, that you shouldn’t feel sad – in fact it would be concerning if you didn’t. What I am saying is that you don’t have to live in hopelessness and despair just because of your current circumstances. You can choose to succumb to your negative thinking, and so get caught up in an endless loop of trying to analyse your situation and “think” your way out of it. Or you can choose to habitually dismiss your pessimistic thoughts, opening the way for you to enjoy the present moment, and therefore, your life.

This doesn’t mean ignoring your problems, or living in denial. Your problems are still there, but when you are able to rid your mind of unhealthy thoughts, your sense of calm and happiness will take over, and you will be able to address your issues in a more constructive, rational manner.

Practise mindfulness

Life coaching can help you to understand that your unhappiness comes from your thinking, and not from what happens to you. You’ll begin to realise that the only thing making you unhappy is your thoughts, and when you know that your thoughts are just thoughts, and are not “real”, then your mind is free to dismiss the unhelpful or destructive ones. Then you’ll be ready to embrace the present moment, and start enjoying your life.

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