But I don't.
All I have is this - my words of inspiration.
In order to be happy, we need to have a positive mindset. For some people, this comes naturally. But for others, it doesn't. For instance, have you ever wondered why some people have the ability to stay happy regardless of what life throws their way ... while others could be billionaires and still be miserable?
While I'm not a happiness researcher, I do know that there are several components to happiness. One is genetics. And another is the environment in which you grew up (nature and nurture). The real question is - which came first? Are some people happy because they were born that way? Or are they happy because they were taught how to be happy? Ahhhh ... that is the age-old question. But I'm not here to solve that mystery. I'm here to write a blog.
Anyway, I was lucky enough to be born into a family of optimists. In fact, as my stepmom (who is a psychologist) pointed out, sometimes we are too optimistic. For example, she explained to me that sometimes my Dad was so positive that he ignored the problems that needed to be solved. I would tend to agree with that. But regardless of whether that trait is good or bad, I still feel like I am fortunate. Whether or not I won the 'genetic happiness lottery', I do know for a fact that from an early age, I was taught a positive way of thinking. I watched my parents' behavior, and I adopted their happiness habits. Don't get me wrong, I have gone through my share of rough times - just like everyone. But I think I have learned some habits to stay happy that I can share with you. Here are a select few:
1. Keep a gratitude journal.
Too many people focus on what they don't have. They are in a perpetual mental state of "I want more ... I want better ... I am not satisfied ..." This is not gratitude. Not that wanting to improve your life is a bad thing. Of course not! But improving your life starts with appreciating what you already have. If you rolled your eyes in embarrassment because you saw yourself in that quotation of "I'm not satisfied," then listen up. If you have a roof over your head, food on your table, and a bed to sleep on, then you are more fortunate than most of the world's population. So get out a notebook and make a habit out of writing down the things that you are grateful for every day - big or "small." I put quotation marks around that word because there is no such thing as small. Even the privilege to breathe air easily or drink clean water are are not "small." I should know about the first one, since I have asthma. Ha. :)
2. Monitor your thoughts.
Most people have no idea how many negative thoughts go through their mind on a constant basis. Are you one of them? When is the last time you paid attention to your thoughts? It's probably been a long time - if ever (for some people). So take the time to recognize your negative thoughts and write them down in a separate notebook (not your gratitude journal). Then ...
3. Re-frame what happens to you.
Take a look at your negative thoughts that you wrote down and then write out why they are not valid. If you said something like, "I'm fat." Well, "fat" is a relative term. You may be "fat" compared to a supermodel, but not compared to a lot of people in the world. Remember, your thoughts are only that - thoughts. Thoughts are not necessarily facts. When you understand that, then you can re-frame life a in a positive way.
4.Choose positive people to spend your time with.
You have probably heard the statements, "Birds of a feather flock together" or "You are who you spend the most time with." That certainly can be true. So if you find yourself surrounded with "Energy Vampires," spend less time with them - if you can. You know who the Energy Vampires are ... they suck the life out of you and contribute nothing positive in return. Some of the Energy Vampires might be family members, so that is a bummer. And a lot more difficult. But as much as possible, choose to surround yourself with positive people.
Like I said, I don't have the patent on the magic potion of happiness (I sure wish I did!). But if you are someone who was born into a family of pessimists, or if you think that you were born with a set of genetics that predisposes you to negativity, try these things. Nothing is hopeless. You can always adopt new habits to make your life happy if you want it badly enough!
I will leave you with a link to one of my new ventures - my "Mini Motivational Message." It's a short, 1-2 minute podcast with a quick thought to help you be happier! I have videos coming soon as well ... :)
Here is my first Mini Motivational Message about 'Negative Payoffs' ... https://soundcloud.com/carol-morgan-ph-d/negative-payoffs
And follow me me on Sound Cloud for more ...
Cheers! To your happiness!! :)