Is it possible to become happier?

There is so much talk about happiness. You could probably fill the Grand Canyon a hundred times over with the books, news articles and social media posts on the subject and yet we don’t seem to be getting any happier so is it even possible?

In this episode, I explore that question.

It’s not much of a spoiler to tell you I believe it is possible to become happier. The trouble is that, although the answer is simple, the practice of becoming happier is not easy.

In my experience, it requires discipline and effort to build happiness. For many, that’s a counter-intuitive idea. Surely happiness is light and breezy and it just appears? For some, that’s probably true but those people are rare. The majority of us have to work at it.

We have to work at it because our lives are no longer set up in ways that lead naturally to happiness. Anyone wanting happiness these days has to be intentional about it.

What do you have to do to become happier?

Here are the things I had to do:

  1. Respect ALL my emotions, even the negative ones. They all have something to say and they often point you towards the change you need to make in order to experience something better. Listen to Seasons of Happiness for more on this idea.
  2. Overcome “Negativity Bias” – we’re hard wired to focus on the negative. Becoming happier requires effort to override those natural tendencies.
  3. Separate pleasure from happiness – culturally (at least in the west), we’ve ¬†been sold a lie: that money, status and things make us happy. We’re so busy scrambling for those things we leave no time for the things that actually make us happy.

In the next Episode:

The next episode sees the start of the Intentional Living series, a 6-part series, helping you shape your thoughts and life more deliberately for happiness.

If our lives were shaped in ways that naturally led us to bolster our mental health and boost our happiness, we wouldn’t have to be intentional about it. As that is not the case, happiness becomes a matter of intention.

To experience it, you need:

  1. Clarity – what’s happening within you and around you and how do those things affect your experience of happiness?
  2. Commitment – choosing to stay focused on your priorities rather than allowing yourself to be “thrown around” in your life, constantly reacting to things, people and negative emotions.
  3. Strength – since genuine happiness comes from inside us, we need strength and discipline to cultivate it. Some of that strength comes from within us, some of it comes from around us and some of it comes from the things we do. Building up as many sources of strength as possible is the best way to keep going when life throws you a curve ball.

The next episode focuses on clarity. You’ll have a chance to think about your life as a whole and consider how the various elements of your life fit together. There is also a free, downloadable worksheet to help you map out your thoughts and look for patterns you may have missed in the past.