Is Happiness A Choice

I seem to wonder if it’s inaccurate and perhaps unfair to the millions of people that then presume they’re doing something wrong because no matter how hard they try they can’t seem to simply up their happiness levels at will.

Latest research suggests that about 50% of your happiness levels are predetermined by your genetics.

Article: Happiness Levels Research

Therefore, if you are genetically predisposed to be a worrier, it’s going to take a lot more work reversing that trend because that will always be the easiest route for your unconscious to take.

The good news is that it can be done and there is enough room in the 50% that you can influence to make you as happy as a pig in shit.   However, to achieve that, it takes perseverance, commitment and a belief that you can change.

And the last part, belief, as is often the case, is probably the key.  A brilliant blog which Mark Tyrell wrote on “steps to self belief” using the Dumbo story.  I highly recommend reading this: Self-Belief

Snippet from the article: Timothy mouse desperately, frantically tells Dumbo:

“It’s not the feather, it’s you! You can fly. Forget the feather. It’s time to dive.”

He falls. The crowd gasps. But just as he’s about to smash into the shallow water, Timothy’s words come back to him: “It’s you, Dumbo, not the feather!”

At last he flies! He doesn’t need the feather. Finally truly believing in himself, he escapes the captive circus.”

Some people believe so strongly that their map of the world is the map of the world that they never try and change because they think change is impossible, and so to try would be a waste of time.

If you’d really like some more happiness in your life and believe it’s possible. What can you do?

The starting point is purposefully monitoring everything that enters your body.

  • I am without doubt one of those people that has a predisposition to being overwhelmed (not often), when taking on too much that I suppress my real feelings sending me on a spiral of self doubt and everything is too much which puts my mind shift in not a happy place. I really have to work hard at not letting that get the better of me and I do it by trying to remove as much toxicity as possible from my life.

Toxic People

I actually dislike this phrase and I am guilty of it as well. Let’s be honest…. ‘toxic’ people are struggling with their own lives and are dealing with their own circumstances and insecurities in the only way they know how.

Unfortunately, their way of dealing with things often manifests as a desire to undermine others in an attempt to feel better about themselves.

For the most part, and presuming you cannot help them, it’s best to slowly phase these people out of your life.

Unfortunately, sometimes the people that fit into this category are family or close friends and they’re not easy to remove from our lives, even if we wanted to. The only advice I can offer if you’re trapped in such a relationship is to take control of the way you view it.

Be curious and empathetic as to why they are how they are rather than being judgmental about their behaviours and actions. Be thankful you’re not like that and learn to re-frame any of the rubbish that comes your way.

Toxic Food

When I said monitor what you put in to your body, I did say I meant everything.  Articles on eating poorly and the negative effect it has on our mood.   Toxic Food Article

If you put diesel into a car designed to run on petrol it’s going to cease up.  Yet millions of people every day do something similar with their bodies and the results are no more than to be expected.

Toxic News

TV news deals in fear.

It wants to scare and intimidate you into watching and hopes you’ll cling on to the belief that you need to watch to be well informed.

Think about it.  You can start feeling cheesed off even angry about something that was completely and utterly out of your control.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be well informed. But if you want to up your happiness levels, and you tend to get upset, angry and negative with your surroundings, I doubt a diet loaded with news in any of its guises will help up your happiness.

Toxic Thoughts

These are tricky suckers to spot and almost a decade into my own self development journey I still catch myself thinking toxic thoughts from time to time.

The specifics will vary from person to person, but any repetitive thoughts you have that put you down are toxic and need to be erased forthwith if you are going to maximise on your happiness levels.

It’s a cliché I know, but you shouldn’t be saying anything to yourself that you wouldn’t say to a loved one.

Toxic Lethargy

Exercise is probably the best mood enhancer known to mankind that isn’t going to cost you a fortune.   Exercise doesn’t just help you get fit, look good and keep the weight down, it also floods your body with beta-endorphin’s that raise your mood and self-esteem.

I start Tuesday walking with a friend while the weather is good here in Cape Town (practice what you preach Karin)

If you really can’t be arsed to exercise you could try meditation, so I have been advised from a friend, (or better still, double the benefits and do both!). Whereas you wont develop a 6-pack, meditation can supply similar mood enhancing effects as well as lowering stress levels which leads to an improvement in health and thus happiness.

And finally .…

We know that helping other people lights up the same part of the brain that taking stimulant drugs like amphetamines and cocaine does, so why not increase your happiness levels by giving back.

I’d love to hear your tips on happiness. Have you done any of the above? Or maybe something completely different that I missed off? Please let me know in the comments.