How to Awaken the Happiness Inside of You
Far too many people are suffering from unhappiness right now, and I want to get to the bottom line of why and offer a solution. Fortunately, happiness is within our control.
I’m here to share how to attain true happiness from my own experience, and from years of extensive research by some of the world’s foremost professionals.
If this sounds like it might be you, I hope you read the information below, where I explain the chemistry behind our emotions and how we each have the power to control them, and truly feel better.
How to Awaken the Happiness Inside of You
Are you unhappy? You’re not alone. The pandemic has created an epidemic of stress, anxiety, depression, and a whole bunch of people who simply don’t feel happy. Many would say that all that unhappiness is totally warranted. Life pretty much stinks now in far too many ways
But while there are many, many, many reasons to feel bad, frustrated, and fearful, what if I told you that happiness is within your control?
No, I haven’t lost my mind. The truth is that, for many years, I have watched people give away their happiness every day – not only during times of great challenge but also when life wasn’t nearly as difficult as it is now.
For some reason, we all think that happiness occurs “out there” and that something or someone makes us happy or unhappy. This would suggest that we have no control over our happiness, rather than putting us in control of our lives. This externalization gives away all the power over our emotions and outcomes to occurrences “out there,” – leaving us as victims.
Here’s what happens.
If something good happens, we are happy.
If something bad happens, we are unhappy.
If someone is nice to us, we are happy.
If someone is mean to us, we are unhappy.
If someone says “yes” to us, we are happy.
If someone says “no” to us (yup, you guessed it), we are unhappy.
Do you see the pattern? We’re letting circumstances outside of ourselves control our happiness.
This isn’t how happiness has to work.
What if I told you that you have control over your feelings of happiness? Because, aside from those with serious chemical imbalances, happiness is a physiological reaction resulting from the interaction between mind and body. That’s right – happiness is generally controlled by the thoughts you think and their effect on your body’s physiology. Specifically, your body releases hormones in response to your thoughts and experiences.
Four of these hormones make us feel good, and one of them puts us in panic mode.
Dopamine is the hormone that rewards us when we achieve or reach a goal. Author and inspirational speaker Simon Sinek describes dopamine as the feel-good chemical released when your phone chimes. Hooray, I have a message! Hooray, someone responded to me! When you reach for something and achieve it, your body rewards you with dopamine.
Oxytocin is the hormone of human connection. It is released when mothers breastfeed their babies, when adults make love, and when we connect with others physically or emotionally.
Serotonin is considered our primary mood stabilizer. When doctors diagnose a patient as depressed, they typically prescribe antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). The problem is that antidepressants only work 50% to 65% of the time on average and can cause unpleasant side effects. The interesting thing about serotonin is that it is produced in the digestive tract and the brain. There is a high correlation between people with depression and those with digestive issues – which raises interesting questions about which comes first, the depression or the digestive issues.
Endorphins are often referred to as the body’s natural painkillers. They are the hormones that athletes get “addicted” to because they make us feel good after physical activity.
And the one “evil” hormone? Cortisol. Cortisol protects us in many ways by providing energy, regulating blood pressure, and managing blood sugar during times of stress. When we perceive danger, our bodies create it during the “fight or flight” survival response. But in modern-day society, many of us perceive everything to be an affront, reacting with stress and emotional intensity far too often. The result? Our bodies are bathed in cortisol. A little cortisol is good, but long-term exposure to this hormone creates inflammation throughout the body and overtaxes your system. When this happens, your ability to produce the feel-good hormones can become impaired.
What does all this science mean?
It means your body releases hormones that drive your emotions in response to a thought. So, if we change our thoughts, we can feel differently in many cases.
Motivational author Louise Hay said, “It’s only a thought, and a thought can be changed.” In my opinion, these are some of the most powerful words ever spoken. Consider this, you can just as easily have a positive thought in response to a situation as you can a negative one.
Now take a moment to reflect on your day.
You release happy hormones with nearly every positive thought and action. Think about how many positive thoughts you have versus negative ones. You may have many more negative thoughts – minor frustrations, self-criticism, fear, and anxiety. With almost every negative thought, you release cortisol and suppress your body’s natural happiness system. When someone cuts you off in traffic, you flip them the bird; when you don’t receive the delivery on time, you get annoyed; or when you have an unreasonable work deadline or work in a hostile environment, you live in stress.
We simply don’t need to react with such venom to everyday occurrences – it’s quashing our joy.
The sad thing is that as adults we have spent many years practicing these fearful and frustrating thoughts. We watch bad news, not good news. We binge-watch movies and television programs about sad stories, life crises, and criminals. We surround ourselves with inputs that feel bad rather than good, so much so that we “practice” reacting with stress rather than joy every day. We’ve gotten really good at spending our days complaining and blaming.
But what if you realized that you’re in control of your life instead of being the victim?
You can appreciate that your spouse or child prepared dinner without being frustrated about the messy kitchen or that the recipe wasn’t followed. You can have patience with the slow sales clerk who is likely trying the best they can despite being new to the job, having received inadequate training, or covering a second shift for a friend. We are so quick to be affronted, yet the truth is that the only one we hurt with these frustrations is ourselves!
Fuel your happy hormones!
If you want happiness, you need to flip that practice by engaging in behaviors and thoughts that fuel the parts of your body that release the feel-good, happy hormones. Physical activity. Social interaction. Quality foods. Positive thoughts and reactions. Physical touch. Smiling. Noticing the good rather than the bad.
Think happy thoughts and the happy hormones fire. Think negative, angry thoughts, and the stress hormone cortisol suffocates your happiness. Yes, this is an oversimplification of an incredibly complex physiological network, but the truth is that the high-level concept is genuinely not that complicated.
Our bodies react to the inputs we give them.
Discover that happiness is right in her own backyard. Once you stop giving the power to “them” (the external factors causing your unhappiness) and understand the Chemistry of Happiness, you are free to awaken your happiness and live the life of your dreams.
Have a Wonderful day!
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Contributor: Sarah Hiner, President, Bottom Line Wellness and edited by Cliff Locks, Investment Capital Growth, Managing Director and Executive Coach
Recent Blog Post: Improve Your Mindset, Change Your Life…To Greatness
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