Happiness is a skill
In a chaotic world, we still have choices. In fact, in a chaotic world you may have even more choices than in a stable one. In a chaotic world, the old rules, hierarchies and traditions have little or no authority.
You have a choice.
The trick is to always be responding, riding the wave, creating your own world, own reality (if you must). As with many things in your life, career, relationships, money. Happiness, largely, is a choice, but even more than that, happiness is a skill.
First Choose happiness.
The first step is easy (sort of), choose to be happy. If you make this your goal, same as losing weight, getting fit for a triathlon, taking a self-defence class, learning French or whatever, it will take priority in your life.
What will make me happier?
Make choices and create habits that will make you a happier human being. Go for counselling, see a psychiatrist if you must, get on medication if that is what you need, but don’t stop there. Get moving, go for a run. Eat better. Meditate. Choose better friends. Control your calendar.
Happiness is threefold.
I have learnt in my live that my happiness is directly related to three things. My biology, the way I react to stressors, and my general lifestyle.
Happiness and Biology.
I have been on anti-depressants for a while, I have a natural inclination to severe depression, and taking my meds every morning helps me get out the gate. This is not for everyone, and to be frank, in my opinion, people tend to grab the pill bottle way too quickly.
That being said, what we put into our bodies affects greatly how we feel. Often feeling cranky and anxious is just because you need a glass of water, not because everyone at the office is out to get you.
Garbage in, garbage out. My food mantra is ‘eat fresh, mostly plants, not too much’. Sugar, carbs, caffeine, alcohol can be killers when it comes to managing your mood.
Happiness and lifestyle
Second on the list is lifestyle. Yes, that’s right. We are talking exercise. 30 min of pushing your heart above 60% will release serotonin and other feel good chemicals, but only for 24 hours. So you have to move every. Single. Day.
Sleep, we wear our lack of sleep as a badge of honour, as though there is some kind of accomplishment sleeping 4 hours a night. You need sleep to be happy. End of story. I try to get to bed every night at the same time and get in a good 7-8 hours, and if I’m feeling tired during the day, I take a quick 20 min nap. How will you create your best work if you can’t keep your eye open?
Get some rest.
Be around happy people, choose your friends wisely. They will greatly influence your mood, complaining, angry, negative people will suck you dry. So be careful of getting too close, or at least wear gloves.
Happiness and reaction.
Your and my happiness is directly connected to how we react to stressors and triggers in your life. Training yourself to react better is the best thing you can do. The mindfulness trend, seems every second website is advocating some sort of mindfulness at the moment, is actually super helpful here.
Mindfulness practices, like meditation, will help you stay in the moment, while at the same time detaching you from the situation. In short, it helps you not fly of the handle, or go into a downward spiral worrying about the future.
Happiness is important, as are all emotions. Happiness moves you forward and towards, while other emotions such as fear move you back and away. All are necessary for you and me to survive this chaotic world. Joy, sadness, fear, anger, disgust (yes the inside out movie). Each emotion is a skill that needs to be honed into a strength, when coupled knowledge and experience.
Have a happy day.
My name is Pierre and I battle the black dog, aka depression.