What is Happiness?

We were all born happy.
We were all conditioned to be unhappy.
You can change this.

Okay, now we have that understood, it’s time to reprogram yourself to your natural state. It’s not easy, but with just 28 days of planned action, it is possible, and well worth the effort.

You are in control of your “happiness” mechanism, whether you like it or not. The settings you apply to this “control” are determined solely by you.
Just as unhappiness is a factor in mental illness; happiness is a factor of mental wellness. Happiness has been the underlying premise of much Greek philosophy. Such dialogues were used as catalysts to help clarify beliefs and thinking processes and eventually precipitate new choices.

It is also the foundation of modern advertising; if you buy this product it will make you happy, if you don’t, your life will be difficult, lonely, unhealthy or whatever, and you will be unhappy.

But we can choose whether we continue to support the conditioning we have experienced in the past, and how we interpret communications in the future.


Controlling Your Belief System

Our happiness is linked to our belief system. Our beliefs are judgements, freely made and maintained, yet alterable. Each of us has the freedom to choose and change.

We can be happier and more effective in getting what we want NOW, for "now" is all we have. We learned to be unhappy; we can unlearn unhappiness and reclaim happiness. As we become happier, we become more loving and accepting.

Understanding your current beliefs, and learning how to control your internal belief system can be one of the greatest life enhancing journeys of your life.


Current Beliefs

During childhood we are burdened with a load of expectations. We are expected to earn a good living, raise a family, support our community and country, be nice to everyone, be kind and generous to those less fortunate, so on and so on. We are programmed to believe that if we do not achieve these things, we will be unhappy or less happy. Nonsense! Some of those things make some people happy – but they do not apply to everyone.

The first thing to understand is – YOU are the ONLY expert on you and your world. This is your life and only you can decide what makes you happy and only you can deliver those things that make you happy. Too often we rely on others to fulfil our expectations. IF they don’t, we are unhappy.

This sort of belief system programs unhappiness as a planned outcome if we don’t get what we want or expect. Too often this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. We end up spending most of our life fulfilling the expectation of others, and effectively choosing not to go after our own goals to avoid the unhappiness deemed to engulf us.


Changing our Beliefs

We need to change in perspective to alter our conditioned responses. Changing what you “need” to what you “want” can help you move towards your goals without having your life or happiness dependent on them. Just like you have the choice to choose to way you age, you have the right to choose the way you live.

Some may feel that changing from ‘needs’ to ‘wants’ reduces motivation towards the goal. For many, the opposite happens. Having to do something is often linked with childhood experiences – if we don’t achieve the task, unhappiness results. By making this subtle change from needing something to wanting it; it removes the necessity to reach the goal, and any unhappiness associated with the outcome of the attempt. This has a relaxing effect on the psyche. The more comfortable you became with yourself, the easier it will be to want more and dare to pursue more. You feel more worthy of reaching out for your goals, and less traumatised if you don’t reach them exactly as planned.


Happiness Breeds Action.

Life is a journey of choosing or rechoosing, accepting or discarding. As our beliefs change, our choices change.

The interesting thing is, once you start to change, you will notice that the environment around you changes. People are happier to see you, more eager to spend time with you. Fear, tension, discomfort and anxiety all effectively short-circuit our systems. Ridding ourselves of these limiting emotions removes barriers to action.

Have you ever noticed that happy people do not stop moving. They always have something to do, they plan their lives to learn, to experience things and to achieve what they want. They make the effort to have the best relationships and they learn tolerance and acceptance of others and most importantly, of themselves.

Unhappiness does not support achievement, which in turn acts as a barrier to happiness. It’s a vicious cycle. An unhappy person has difficulty processing the information they need to accomplish actions because their energy and focus is diverted to deal with their discomfort.

Happiness is not a goal in itself; it is a by-product of achieving many other goals


Maintaining Your Happiness in Relationships

Unhappiness in each of us is the product of our own beliefs. You have the freedom to choose and change.

The trick is to separate rational belief from irrational conditioned belief. Rational belief is jumping out of the way of a moving car – because you believe if it hits you, you will be injured in some way. Irrational belief is getting married, because if you don’t find someone to marry you must be an unlovable or unloving “reject”. So too is expecting that someone else will make you happy.

Too often we are made to feel selfish if we pursue our own dreams and don’t devote every waking minute to making our spouses and children happy. Bollocks!

You don’t have the right or power to control other adults. You don’t have the power to determine their desires and behavior. You create your own feelings and behavior from your own beliefs, the only person I can possibly control is yourself. What you decide to do is your decision. And what others decide to do is their decision. It is a myth that others make you unhappy or you make them unhappy.

Each of us is responsible for ourselves. Whilst we are unhappy and attending to our fears, we are not loving. People love in direct proportion to which they are happy.

Each of us can only do our best to share a life path with someone else. As each partners beliefs change, their wants change. If these stay aligned with your wants and goals – great! If they don’t, there is absolutely no failure by either party if the ‘relationship’ is no longer supportive of a happy life for each person. We tend to beat up on ourselves when relationships don’t last forever. Worse, we defend our unhappiness by blaming the other person.
We create reasons [beliefs] to give a rational basis to our choices. Having some sort of rationale gives us comfort, a basis for our action.

Everything you do represents a choice. Choosing is either consenting to wants or deciding to go against them. In choosing beliefs and activities, you either move in harmony with yourself, and with others, or not. This is a highly creative, highly evolving process. Choices involve trust, happiness, and actions. And they are all made on the basis of what you ‘believe’ the outcome of the choice is going to be. If those beliefs are ill-founded; problems lie ahead.

It is only by dispelling past conditioning and aligning your belief systems with what you want in life, will you have a reliable basis to make choices. Simplistically, decisions can be made by asking yourself – is this choice or this action moving me toward my goal or away from it.

So take time to free the real you from societal norms and incorporate mind development exercises into your lifestyle, just as you do physical exercise. You deserve it.

Two areas of our lives that deserve a brief glimpse are sex and money. The reason I have included these is that too often they are used as measures of self worth.

Next: How Sex Contributes to Happiness

Stress Index | Happiness | Sex | Money | Stress | Burn-Out | Affect on Health | Stress & Performance | Managing Stress | Action & Stress | Emotion & Stress | Anti-stress Nutrition | Quick Fix | Tools | Stress Response Methods | Depression | Midlife Crisis | Life Coach Series


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