Yes, I’m the same Michael Mantell who promotes “the link is what you think” and who believes, OK, thinks, that every emotion we ever have, ever, is first conceived and then anchored in the way we think. It’s ALL in your head. Simply put, you not only won’t – but actually can’t- ever have an emotion unless you first think about an event, person, place or situation in a way that creates that emotion. Think otherwise? Try it. See? The link IS what you think!
Happiness is important enough that the General Assembly of the United Nations declared March 20th as “International Day of Happiness.” http://www.dayofhappiness.net/#join This day is designed to promote healthy relations worldwide. But happiness increases positive emotions within each individual first. It decreases depression, anger, anxiety, stress, heightens well-being and promotes, positive moods, improves physical health – not bad for smiling more, huh?
Research suggests that happiness is possible through mindful, purposeful positive habits. Data informs us that 10% of our happiness is due to our external circumstances and 90% is based on our inner lives, with 50% of our happiness level coming from our genes and about 40% being accounted for by our intentional daily activities and the intentional thoughtfully guided choices we make.
So you want to be happy? It’s the highest form of health we know. We’ve long known that creating a good feeling inside of yourself with pleasurable physiological and psychological sensations, being fully immersed in and flowing with an activity you enjoy, and doing good for others are three wonderful pathways to contribute to your happiness.
We also have long known that buying lots of things, being young and physically attractive and even having children – though a definite source of fulfillment and enjoyment — things many think bring about happiness, don’t, according to science.
How do you know if you are really happy? You exercise including time outside, you get enough sleep, you enjoy spending time with your family and friends and voluntarily help others (science tells us that the ideal amount of time is 100 hours a year helping others), and you even meditate and mindfully maintain a sense of gratitude. Sounds like you are doing it perfectly!
So we add mindfulness, focus and a positive mindset to gratitude and expressed appreciation for others, along with physical activity and other forms of self-care, a heavy dose of self and other compassion and altruism, authenticity and forgiveness, social connections and vulnerability from strength, and faith and we have the perfect formula for happiness.
I want you to create a 30 second “elevator speech” all about you. If you only had 30 seconds to tell someone about you, what do you say? What’s your credo, the essential set of guiding principles by which you live your life? If your credo includes not sweating the small stuff, looking forward with positive anticipation, celebrating the success of others, taking care of mind-body-spirit, dedicating yourself to continuous learning and being filled with gratitude, then undoubtedly you are on life’s happiness track.
When you genuinely understand that happiness is an “inside job,” that you are the only person who can “make” you happy, the choice for you to make is clear, isn’t it?. It’s time to stop blaming our feelings of unhappiness on external things and take responsibility for them ourselves.
Acknowledge the good in your life every day. Imagine not having some of the wonderful things and people in your life – that turbocharge your gratitude and love for them? This will help you connect with others in a positive, altruistic and compassionate way.
Someone treating you poorly? When you come from happiness, you are able to walk away, smile and continue being you.
Someone not acknowledging your talent or contribution on a project? When you come from happiness, you understand that your value is not based on their evaluation, but rather yours.
Someone telling you that you are living life incorrectly? When you come from happiness, you understand that it’s all about spending the time you have on earth the way you want.
Someone not living up to your expectations? When you come from happiness, you understand the less you expect the better life is.
So if it’s longevity you are after, know that positive emotion is highly correlated with longevity. If it’s marital fulfillment you are seeking, happiness is linked to that as well. In fact, the science is clear and compelling: all things being equal, happy people live longer and experience better health than unhappy folks do. As has been observed, there is no true health without happiness.
Take the United Nation’s pledge: “I will try to create more happiness in the world around me.” See? It’s already working. Let’s create a happier world together!