A simple strategy to get Happy!
You might be feeling optimistic and that you are on track with what you want to experience. Or you might be feeling frustrated, discouraged - even overwhelmed with questions of where to start – “it’s all too hard, you’ve heard it all before and nothing works”.
I would like to share with you how you can rekindle a feeling of happiness and with it, an opportunity to invite new experiences. You can be happy and experience what you want in this life. The aim of this information is to provide you with insight and a starting point.
As an NLP Life Coach, it has been really exciting for me to hear about many of my friends and clients having new experiences – starting new jobs, taking well deserved breaks both in Australia and Overseas, catching up with people they haven’t seen for a while – even creating opportunities to stop and take in vistas that they love and make them feel good. They are experiencing life and seem happier.
Having experiences in our lives seems to awaken something in our souls. Great experiences spark an invigorating energy within us that we want to hold on to for as long as we can. Kind of like a rush of adrenaline, but better. It is a rush of endorphins called joy and happiness.
We are beings that live our lives using our emotions as our radar, our gauge, our barometer. Having new experiences invites the opportunity for us to experiment with our emotions – “did I like it? Did that feel good? Did it make me happy?”
But what happens when the experience we have is the reverse of these positive endorphins? Where the experience induces feelings of sadness, guilt, fear, pain or anger? It is often harder to move out of these not so good feelings. We forget momentarily what joy and happiness feel like inside us.
We recognise that we don’t want to feel these not so good emotions, but how do we climb back up the emotional scale to feel happier? Sometimes it is easier to stay for a while, sitting in these not so good emotions – sitting in a kind of “funk”. We avoid new experiences to protect ourselves from experiencing more “funk”. We might find ourselves sharing our “funk” on social media, with friends and family – all in the hope that others will reach out to us, identify with us, make us feel OK and just maybe throw us a lifeline and help us out of it.
When you have felt stuck, bored or in a rut in the past, what have you done to make you feel better?
What actions have you taken that have lead you to experience something new that has resulted in feeling happier?
Would it be fair to say that it might be a good thing to have these not so good feelings / emotions through our experiences because they remind us of how we don’t want to feel? Just like when you try food that you really don’t like. You spit it out and might say, “Yuck! I hate the taste of that! I will never put that in my mouth again. I would rather have something I enjoy.”
Wow! Do I feel alive after eating something that tastes horrible in my mouth! I grab for any food or drink close by to try and get rid of the taste!
In the same way, experiencing not so good feelings might just help us to feel alive. They might remind us that we would rather feel better and encourage us to reach for more positive emotions.
So in knowing what we don’t want; negative emotions that we don’t want to feel and want to change; the quest becomes searching for ways to stretch and reach for emotions that feel better, happier emotions.
Clients will often come to see me when they are feeling stuck in their lives or in their jobs. They are looking for something more in their lives. Searching for a feeling of happiness, freedom and fulfilment. Curious how not enjoying your job seems to infiltrate every aspect of your life. More often than not, I see and hear people that are not happy at work are often not happy at home. We are all so busy in our lives, reaching for what we feel will give us happiness or sense of relief from the mundane like paying bills, keeping a roof over your head, budgeting and balancing finances, exercising, planning and cooking the next family meal, shopping and keeping the house clean. When your job is taxing on you mentally, emotionally and physically, there sometimes isn’t a lot of energy left inside you when you get home to your family and friends.
Life can feel like it is caving in on you and as an act of self-preservation, we start to move through life on autopilot. We lose our sense of self and what truly makes us happy.
When we continue doing the same activities day in and day out on autopilot, we seem to have less time in each day, we keep ourselves busy with routine and mundane activities, we become more tired, more bored. We are no longer having fun and appear to lose a sense of happiness within ourselves. Our happiness in there somewhere, it comes out occasionally but most of the time it has become consumed by everything going on around us in our attempt for self-preservation and existence. Occasionally at first, we start avoiding new experiences because we don’t have time with everything else going on, or because we don’t feel like doing something new. The next thing we know, we are avoiding new experiences all together. It might have been so long since we tried something new that we become gripped with fear. We might feel that doing something new is out of routine and if you’re out of routine you will lose control and if you’re not in control you might just drop all the balls you have up in the air.
So we try and keep life as simple as we can. Life becomes predictable, boring and habitual which can often lead to feeling numb, sad, frustrated, restless and even angry. Or worse, we become bitter, jealous or angry. Eventually we stop reaching for anything new. “If I can just get through this day.”
The question remains. If life is a constant quest for freedom, joy and happiness, how do I get back there when you are on autopilot and feeling so far removed from happy? Where do we start?
Wouldn’t it be great if we could flip a switch and just do something new without fear, worry or concern? There are many stories about teenagers who have turned their lives around from being really wild to becoming extremely successful in their lives. Did they wake up one morning and just knew that they would be happier if they went after what they were passionate about? And stories of people that have been branded “having a mid-life crisis”. Really? Is this what it is? Or did they just find their switch that lead to their happiness and flipped it on? And stories about people that are just happy all the time – their switch is permanently on and they appear to have all the “luck” in the world flowing to them.
How did these people discover their happiness “switch” to flick on in the first place? One thing is certain, and that is that the “switch” of happiness couldn’t have been flicked on by these people unless they knew what made them happy.
Through observation and being curious, I have come to learn that one of the keys to being happy all the time is to spend time thinking about what makes you happy.
When was the last time you actually stopped and thought about what it is that truly makes you happy? The sensation of happiness that resonates within your soul and being, all the way from your head down to your toes?
Thinking about what makes you happy wakes up your subconscious mind like magic. Your subconscious mind then starts searching for things that make you happy.
The subconscious mind is an intricate and complex network of active brain cells that stores and retrieves data from every memory, experience and emotion you have ever had. It is kind of like your own unique “master program”. It responds in the exact way that your conscious mind programs it to.
An example of this programming at work that many people have related to is to think about the first car you ever purchased. For me it was a bright yellow Honda Civic – no judgement please! I loved that car! When I was shopping around for my first car, I looked at a lot of different makes and models. To help with my decision making, every opportunity that I got I was looking at cars as they drove past, assessing my friends’ cars as well as scoping out cars in parking lots and reading the newspaper car guides. (There was no internet when I purchased my first car!)
After I had seen the bright yellow Honda Civic, I started to look around again at the cars on the road and in parking lots. I was surprised to note that there weren’t many yellow cars on the road – or the make and model of the Honda Civic I was looking at. I became excited about the prospect of being unique. I would never misplace the car either – it was so bright!
I made the purchase. My very first car. The freedom it would bring me and the convenience. I was so happy! I bought covers for the seats, a steering wheel cover, new floor mats, a sun visor and a brand new keyring to keep my very own car keys on! All mine. I was so proud.
With sheer pride, joy and freedom, I started to drive my car. The very first week that I was driving, I started to notice other yellow cars on the road – there were a lot more than I had remembered from when I was actually looking to purchase a car. “Maybe yellow is the new black” I told myself. I also started to notice a lot more Honda Civics (in the same make and model as mine) on the road as well! What? They weren’t on the road or in parking lots when I was trying to make a decision either!
Have you ever noticed that when you purchase a certain product such as a car, you start to see that product or that car everywhere??? It’s like magic!
What I learned years later is that this experience did not happen by default.
While I was looking around at cars and deciding what to purchase, I was using my conscious mind to make decisions. These conscious decisions were actually programming my subconscious mind.
By the time I had made my purchase and was driving my Honda Civic, I was so conscious about my car that my brain sent all my feelings, emotions and experiences straight to my subconscious mind and stored the memories. My subconscious mind now knew to look for yellow cars and Honda Civics on the road at all times. I had successfully programmed my subconscious mind to seek out these cars everywhere I went! As a result, I was seeing more of them on the road.
Wow! The power of the mind.
So, your conscious mind is programming your subconscious mind. Your subconscious mind is storing information. It is doing what your subconscious mind tells it to do. What has this got to do with being happy! (Besides the fact that I got to relive my joy of driving a bright yellow Honda Civic?!)
Everything! If we have not experienced extended periods of happiness in a while, then it is time to reprogram our subconscious mind. Wake it up and remind it of what we are looking for!
We need to bring what makes us happy back into our conscious mind. The more we know what makes us happy, the more we are programming and storing in our subconscious mind. Eventually, just like the analogy of the car, your subconscious mind will start to seek out all of the things that you have programmed into it. It will seek out all the things that make you happy!
Let me take you through a simple way to begin reprogramming your subconscious mind to seek out everything that makes you happy.
The first step is to really get in touch with that feeling and sense of happiness. You know, that sensational feeling of happiness that resonates within your soul and being, all the way from your head down to your toes?
Aim: to recall clearly what happiness feels like.
- Give yourself some uninterrupted time.
- You can write down your experience if this helps you immerse yourself in the feeling.
- You can close your eyes to help really bring that experience back into your conscious mind.
Recall one time in your life that is clear to you of when you felt complete happiness, joy or freedom.
One time that is clear in your mind of you feeling really happy.
It might have been yesterday or back when you were a child. It might be a time that people remind you of. A time when you felt complete happiness.
Your subconscious mind will find a memory of when you experienced happiness and joy. Your mind is wonderful like that. Your mind is going back into your subconscious mind and locating all the data it has stored from when you experienced happiness.
Take yourself back into that moment. Immerse yourself in that experience.
Relive that moment in time like you are there.
What are you doing? What are you seeing? What are you hearing? What are you experiencing?
Feel that experience of joy and happiness. Remember that sensational feeling of happiness and feel it resonate within your whole being, all the way from your head down to your toes.
Have you got that feeling of happiness? (It is normal to want to smile or to feel warm and fuzzy!)
Note: If you find yourself unable to find a time when you experienced happiness, this is OK.
You can search your subconscious for other feelings of wellbeing such as: feeling good, enthusiastic, passionate and hopeful.
Great! Now that you have recalled what happiness (or another wellbeing emotion) feels like for you, we will move onto our next activity to program our subconscious mind to seek out happiness for us.
Aim: to capture as much data as possible to program your subconscious mind
- You will need a pen and a paper for this activity to capture your data.
- Writing it down affirms the data is going into your subconscious mind.
- Telling your subconscious mind (no matter how loud) is not enough.
- It is like a computer that needs physical input – in this case, writing your data down is the physical input your subconscious mind needs to receive new data.
- On the page in front of you and starting with number 1.
Draw on the feeling of happiness that you recalled in the first activity.
Write down 3 things in your life that make you feel this way right now. Things that you have or experience right now that makes you feel happy.
- After you have written down 3 things that currently make you feel happy, continue with the next number down the page. (number 4)
Continue drawing on that feeling of happiness. Really bring that emotion into your whole being.
Now, capture everything around you that makes you feel the sense of happiness.
Anything in your life or in that world that makes you feel that sense of happiness.
Continue adding to the list until you find it challenging to recall that sense of happiness.
Wow! You have started to reprogram your subconscious mind! You have inputted data of what makes you feel happy!
I wonder what’s on your list.
Some of the things I have on my list include my family and pets (I have named them all separately), watching the sunset, observing wildlife in nature, warm showers (totally make me happy!), watching a flower in my garden open…just a few examples!
Continue to grow your list – add to it every day if you can.
Start searching for the things around you that make you feel happy. Add this data to your list and into your subconscious mind.
When you add to your list, read over the previous data you recorded.
See if you can get to 50 things and then to 100 on your happiness data input list.
I have a lot of fun with clients completing this activity.
Keep programming your subconscious mind with what makes you happy by adding to your list.
Send me an update with how you are going.
I am curious to know the impact that this activity has in your life. I know it changed mine.
You can rekindle a feeling of happiness and with it, an opportunity to invite new experiences. You can be happy and experience what you want in this life.
Program your subconscious mind to know what to look for!