Finding Our Happiness Mindset
“Happiness is a how; not a what. A talent, not an object.”— Herman Hesse
What Is Happiness?
What is happiness? Is it a mood or an emotion? Happiness is a mood, joy is the emotion caused by happiness. Emotions are temporary, transient states of mind. Moods are a state of mind, also temporary, but longer lasting than an emotion. This means that happiness is a state of mind. In the article, Psychology of Happiness, the author states, "Psychologists often refer to happiness as positive affect - a mood or emotional state which is brought about by generally positive thoughts and feelings."
“Being happy is something that each of us determines, it is not something that we find outside of ourselves, it is within us and our choice.”— Catherine Pulsifer
People are always searching for happiness. They think there are many paths to happiness, but most are illusions. Love, money, and power are some of these illusions. Many feel that if they can get this ONE thing, they will find happiness. This is a misconception. Lasting happiness does not happen in response to something else. Lasting happiness involves a certain mindset.
“Folks are usually about as happy as they make their minds up to be.”— Abraham Lincoln
Happiness is not something to search for, it is within our control. If we want happiness, we should change our mindset. Happiness is not the by-product of a goal. Yes, we are happy when we complete a goal, but, were we happy doing the tasks? Probably not. Not unless we realize that happiness is a daily attitude.
“Being happy doesn't depend on any external conditions, it is governed by our mental attitude.”— Dale Carnegie
How do we find our happiness mentality? Understanding ourselves, practicing gratefulness, living in the “now”, and finding beauty are all good ways to find and maintain our mindset of happiness. Here are ten tips on how to find happiness by maintaining this mindset in our lives.
"Know thyself"— Ancient Greek Adage
1. Understand Ourselves
Use self-reflection. We need to reflect on our actions and think about what in our character gave us motivation to do a thing. Most often we tend to reflect on instances of unhappiness. We try to understand what went wrong and how to avoid it in the future.
Self-reflection helps us avoid previous mistakes by understanding what individual small actions led to these. Repeatedly making the same mistakes in life decreases our ability to be happy.
"Emotionally, self-regulation is the ability to calm yourself down when you're upset and cheer yourself up when you're down."— Steven Stosny, Ph.D.
2. Emotional Self-Regulation
Emotional self-regulation is important in maintaining our happiness mentality. Usually, emotional self-regulation involves managing and controlling destructive impulses. This skill is very important to keep us from feeling embarrassed. It also helps us control our anger. Emotional self-regulation assists in keeping our actions socially acceptable.
We use emotional self-regulation to cut down on our reactivity. Reactivity occurs when we feel an emotion, such as anger, and we immediately react with anger. It is much better to process our emotions and control them or let them out as we wish. Emotional self-regulation increases the ability to use emotions instead of being used by our emotions.
“The art of being happy lies in the power of extracting happiness from common things.”— Henry Ward Beecher
The practice of gratefulness is a requirement to staying in the happiness mode. When we are feeling resentment or jealousy about what we do not have, it is best to remember all we have that is right. This is not to say that, when we are happy, bad things won’t happen, they do. But to get back on the happiness track we need to fill our minds with all we love, all that is good, everything we have to be grateful for.
“I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn't arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I'm going to be happy in it.”— Groucho Marx
4. Live Now
Live now, not yesterday, not tomorrow. We need to focus on what is happening to us now. The here and now is the only time we can affect.
Stop replaying past mistakes in our minds. Things in the past have no power over us, unless we decide to learn from them. We can use self-reflection to learn what led us to this mistake. But, other than learning what not to do in the future, the past has no place in our daily lives.
We need to stop worrying about the future. Accept that there is only so much we can do to get ready for the future, and then let it go. Today is the day we live in. Now is our only time.
“Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow. It only saps today of its joy.”— Leo Buscaglia
5. Find Beauty
Find beauty every place we go. Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. I think that for us to keep happy we need to appreciate the beauty of small, random things and events. We can find happiness appreciating a smile, a flower, even a good smell. There is beauty all around us although sometimes we have to look harder for it than at other times.
“Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.”— Anne Frank
6. Stop Being A Victim
It is hard to be happy when we think we are victims. We must believe we have control over our lives. I understand that there are times in childhood that we were the victim, but as adults we need to take control of our own lives. We need to see how our decisions affect our lives.
Doing this involves self-reflection, mind training and determination. It is hard to change how we think, but we need to do this. Victims are never happy.
“The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realize that you control your own destiny.”— Albert Ellis
7. Train Our Minds
Changing our thought patterns is another way to obtain a happiness mindset. We need to train our minds to recognize when bad thoughts are running through it. Often we allow depressing and/or degrading thoughts go through our minds. We need to recognize these thoughts and change them to more accepting thoughts. Changing damaging thoughts to thoughts of self affirmation will help us to be happier.
We should train our minds to think about happy things, things that bring us pleasure, not about all the bad of the world. We need to stop thinking about all the bad things and start focusing on good things. If we fill our minds with bad stuff, we will never be happy.
Training our minds takes conscious effort. It is not something we can just do in a day. Mind training takes time. It should be an ongoing task throughout our lives.
“You can never be really happy if you keep holding on to those bad memories which makes you sad.”— Anurag Prakash
8. Help Others
We always feel better about ourselves when we help others. Helping others is a great way to assist us in finding our happiness mindset. There is something hard-wired in the human race that allows us to like ourselves better when we give to others.
Helping others also can give us a comparison to judge our lives by. Most often we will find many good things in our life that less fortunate individuals may not have. It is interesting to find that many people with less than us are happy.
“Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.”— Booker T. Washington
9. Want What We Have
So often we get caught up in wanting what we do not have. In doing this we often lose sight of all we do have. We need to be grateful for what we have while we are attending to our goals. We must not think that we need a certain thing to be happy. Having this thing may make you happier, but being happy is not reliant on a thing, a person, or an experience. If we cannot be happy while achieving a goal, chances are we will not be happy once we obtain it.
So much about happiness is in managing our expectations. When we decide to be happy with what we have, we will be. It is extremely hard in this world of "pins" and Facebook posts. People are always posting pictures that make their life look better than ours. However, those pictures are staged, not real life. Their real lives are probably just as filled with uncertainty and chaos as ours.
”The ‘good life’ begins when you stop wanting a better one”— Nkosiphambili E. Molapis
If happiness had one expression it would be a smile. When we smile, people are nicer to us and like us better. It is hard to think damaging thoughts with our mouths smiling. Things look better when we smile. At least it does in my world.
“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”— Thich Nhat Hanh
These tips will help us find our happiness mindset. Just remember, happiness takes a little daily work on our part. I know happiness is hard to find when we are depressed, but practicing these tips will enable us to find some. If your happiness does not improve immediately, keep practicing, keep training your mind and keep your mind filled with good. It may take time, but it will come.
The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts: therefore, guard accordingly, and take care that you entertain no notions unsuitable to virtue and reasonable nature.— Marcus Aurelius
More Quotes About Finding Happiness
Here are a few more quotes on happiness to ponder:
There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will. - Epictetus
“Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose wisely.” - Roy T. Bennett
“It isn't what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.” - Dale Carnegie
“Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it.” - Elizabeth Gilbert
“Stop comparing yourself to other people, just choose to be happy and live your own life.” - Roy T. Bennett
“The greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.” - Martha Washington
“The secret of happiness is not in doing what one likes, but in liking what one does.” - James Matthew Barrie
Questions & Answers
© 2019 Kari Poulsen