People don't often pay attention on how to be happy in everyday life. Or rather - they expect happiness to be a wonderful moment that comes to them from the "outside" - an Event of good luck that lifts them to a state of bliss and happiness. A dream job being offered, winning the lottery, getting that car, or that house.
Have you noticed? That to many happiness equals a material achievement?
I listen with interest how people discuss with each other. Mostly they complain. It is called realism. They wallow in negative stuff, talk about it constantly, and try to make others agree with them in their misery. And they pay no attention to the most important thing: what kind of an emotional response their words create in their own minds.
Because that is where true happiness lies. In one's own emotions at any given moment. Happiness is a feeling. Shouldn't we then concentrate on how to create such a feeling? Can you learn how to be happy on purpose?
It is hard to many - we are so used to our negative mind set that we don't even recognize it anymore. And so our mind, used to its own negativity, looks at the world through the eyes of misery. And what does it see? More misery, of course.
It simply isn't in a place where it could receive positive emotions. Even if an event occurs that we know is labeled as happy and positive, we cannot find the emotion of pure joy, because we think of negative things. If nothing else, then at least that "this will soon be over".
This certainly happened to me. I was in my twenties when I first paid attention to my own negative self talk. I was sitting in a bus, looking out of the window, letting my mind wander where it wanted. And then, suddenly, I felt like I was observing my own thoughts from a distance. It was a shock. All my thoughts were negative. I looked at the sunny skies, noticed the clouds and found myself thinking that of course, rain was coming, and the beautiful day would turn grey and miserable soon.
I was going to work, and my thoughts about that were negative too. I felt miserable for having to go to work when I would have wanted to be outside and enjoy the beautiful spring day. I began to think about my coworkers and boss, and my mind was picking up all the things I did not like about them. Yet - I had a job and salary and because of that I could pay my bills. And my coworkers weren't all that bad, really.
This was some kind of an epiphany to me. I realized how just about everyone around me was behaving the same, and that we saw nothing strange in it. Because of this we kept on thinking how we had always been thinking - negatively. We simply did not know how to be happy.
I think this was the moment when my journey to positive thinking started. I bought books about the subject (didn't have a computer or net connection then), and in time learned how we create our own reality with our own thoughts and emotions. I'm still on that journey, and will be for the rest of my life.
I cannot stop bad stuff from happening, but I have built (and will continue to do so) tools in my mind that help me go past these events, and find the proverbial silver lining in each cloud. (My mother actually said this to me when I was a small girl, and now I understand its meaning: "There is a silver lining to every cloud".)
The way to do this is not to expect some major event in the future to make us happy. The road to happiness is exactly that - a road, and in the here and now. Happiness is a string of short moments, and in each of those moments we have the power to choose our own response to them, and through each choice direct our emotions. We can learn to think on purpose instead of letting our thoughts think us. And with purposeful thinking we learn to create wanted emotions, which will help us find balance in our life, and even happiness.
We should not try to close our eyes of "negative" thoughts. We should recognize them for what they are - signs that tell us what we don't like - and then it is our job to direct our mind towards what it is we DO like. After that it is about deciding what are the steps we can take to go to that wanted direction.
Life is a string of moments and decisions. We need to learn to listen the most important language of all - the language of emotions. Our emotions are telling us every moment, are we going to our wanted direction or not. They are our road signs on how to be happy.
I have written here things that I feel might help in trying to reach awareness, mindfulness, in our day to day life. Twelve months, 365+1 days of things to concentrate on. If you wish to read and try these, please do. And when reading these pages, listen to your emotions. Pick what feels good and right to you - you don't need to go through all of them, but of course you can, if you wish. You may also skim through the pages and take the thing that speaks to you at that very moment. Remember these are just my own thoughts, and methods, and I am no professional councellor. Still, I hope they help you to understand how to be happy.
I'll add the articles here one by one - return often to see the latest ones.