What it's like dating happiness.

Years ago I sat in my church, knelt in the pew and begged God for peace from the agony of the sadness, grief, anxiety, judgement, and torment my daily life felt. I didn't feel like there was anywhere to turn. To the world it probably didn't seem like I was that bad. There were probably some people that knew I was in rough shape but I doubt many knew just how bad it was. I tried to tell some, but people just couldn't seem to reconcile that I was a person that could have journeyed so far down such a dark path.

In that moment I decided that I had to do whatever it took to be happy. I've talked before about choosing happiness. In my blog post Can You Choose Happiness, I mention that I hated it when people would say, it's just a decision to be happy. I thought they meant you just decide and one day you are happy.

Dating happiness requires sacrifices. It means putting yourself first, sometimes sacrificing other relationships because happiness is sacrificed in the long run if you stay in them. It means learning to love yourself unconditionally, being willing to move from having a goal of happiness to loving the process of finding equanimity, which is what I've come to define happiness as. That definition will probably change as I continue my journey. For now, equanimity is my happy place!

It means the deep dive into the muck of your psyche, as you grow, in order to transform the sticky mud of previous hurts, into the beautiful lotus flower that shares its blossom with the world.

Dating happiness is not for the faint of heart, and I know that if you are on the path, or it's called to you, you have the courage to travel it.

Now, if you are like I was and you don't know what to do to make the little choices every day that move you towards happiness I'm going to give you a little happiness hack. There's a loop. Your beliefs, either conscious or unconscious, lead to your conscious thoughts thoughts, those in turn lead to the feelings

you have, which in turn lead to the actions you take. This in turn impacts your beliefs, either reinforcing or changing your beliefs. And so goes the feedback loop. This is the based on the premise of the

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy feedback loop (https://www.simplypsychology.org/cognitive-therapy.html) and some aspects of Schema therapy (http://www.schematherapy-nola.com/what-is-schema-therapy) as I have found that the thoughts originate from somewhere. In my work with clients, the original model from CBT did not fully explain the dynamic of the feedback loop.

So what's the hack? You can at any point in this loop disrupt it! In fact the easiest way I've found is not to try and think your way out of it, as so many of us Type A, scholastic, types try to do. But rather to take the active, action oriented route out of it. What does this mean? When you are in a funk, or sad, or anxious, or need to be creative, or whatever you need your emotional state to be, think about what your physical state would be like if you were in that emotional state and mimic it physically, even if you don't feel it emotionally.

Ever hear of Laughter Yoga? So, If you are depressed, look up more. Can't get motivated to do your work? Sit up, don't slouch your shoulders. Open your chest, breathe properly (google this), do jumping jacks, dance to a happy song, smile, put your shoulders back, go for a run, whatever it is you do when you feel happy.

The next time you are in an emotional state that you really enjoy, take a couple minutes to notice how your body feels. How are you breathing? How are you standing? Where are your shoulders? Are you sitting? Standing? Where are you? The next time you want to recapture that feeling, put your body back into those positions and in your mind, call up those memories. Your emotions just may follow. If they don't fully, you may be pleasantly surprised to find that you are in just a little less of a funk than you were before.

Also, sometimes you need a reboot. Kind of like a computer, before you try to call up a new state. To do that, just stand up and shake off the old feeling. Ask happiness out on a date, the relationship may require a lot of effort, but it's the most fun and rewarding one I've ever been in.

Now go out and conquer your world.



The Holistic Accountant

#happiness #hacks #anxiety #depression

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