I am definitely the happiest that I have ever been in my life, despite not much out of the ordinary happening to cause my happiness.
If anything, life has had its difficulties over the past year. I’m not going to sit here and list my personal life (but just to clarify, it hasn’t been horrific an it has actually had some amazing parts too), but to put things into perspective for you guys, according to the Holmes and Rahe Stress scale (explanation of this can be found here: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newTCS_82.htm), my stress score is 476/600. I could easily be unhappy and mentally stressed, but, although I do have my down moments (I am only human with the added feature of being female after all), I am happy and the most mentally relaxed I have ever been.
The reason why I’m so happy? It’s because I make the effort to be so. Okay, so that makes it sound like I’m forcing myself to be happy, right? Wrong. It’s just that I live in a society where we allow negative things to dominate our brains and forget to focus on the good in our lives. I don’t know if we’re psychology programed to let bad emotions and negative vibes dominate our thoughts, it’s something that I will further research and then maybe do a follow-up post or edit this one, but it’s what everybody seems to do. There could be 100 things to be happy about but people let one bad thing overshadow every single one of them. I’m no different, this has been the way I have functioned for many years. It’s the way a lot of the youth I know think today and because of it my generation is becoming an extremely unhappy group of people to the extent that this unhappiness is developing into depression.
So what I mean by making an effort to be happy? Well, despite the fact it seems impossible to a lot of people out there, it’s actually quite simple. I focus on what is good in my life and remember that for every negative life event, there is always going to be a positive one happening alongside it. I was reading a book on psychology tonight and I came across the finding by a psychologist named Wolpe that a human is not able to experience two contradictory states of emotions at the same time. It is just not possible. An example used in the book is that you cannot feel anxiety and be totally relaxed at the same time. This goes for everything. So when given the choice to let negative emotions or positive emotions take over my brain, I nearly always choose the positive. This is effort because I’ve spent my life letting negative feelings be the dominant ones in my brain, so it does take work to eliminate them.
Another reason why I am happy is because I don’t see negative life events as setbacks anymore. They are experiences from which I grow, and nearly every one of them has a silver lining.
But despite making the effort to be happy, sometimes, negative emotions do take over. I realise that this is because they need to be sometimes be felt. Pushing bad feelings away and not dealing with things is a dangerous thing to do because it’ll burst out of that psychological cupboard that you’ve hidden it in when you least expect it. I don’t live in a permanent bubble of happiness, I let that bubble pop when it needs to. I give myself the day to be as miserable as I need to be, I feel the hurt and pain and stress, but then I get into bed at the end of the day with the mindset that tomorrow is a new day. I leave any negative vibes in the past and stay present when I wake up the next day.
The last reason for my happiness is the fact I’ve let, for the most part, go of waiting for external factors to make me happy. Don’t get me wrong, my mood can be altered by external factors, but I do not depend on them to determine my happiness. You’re never truly satisfied if you depend your happiness on external factors because nothing lasts forever. You end up wanting parts of your past back but at the same time you wish for the future to come and hope something will come along and make your life seem better. The present moment is never enough. Therefore, you’re never happy. I literally just go with the flow. The future is uncertain and the past has disappeared so it’s pointless dwelling on either of them, and if I were to rely on external things to make me happy, I would never be happy. The present moment is all that we’ve got. This life is an illusion. You don’t get a say in everything that happens in this world, but you get a choice in how you deal with it.
So, the reason why being unhappy is easier? Because all it takes to be unhappy is to let things bring you down and not fight it. Fighting it is hard, so hard, but also so worth it. Happiness isn’t always easy in a such a negatively formed world who is forever craving more, but it’s hard to not be happy when you’ve found the key to happiness.
(I am not referring to depression at all when I speak of unhappiness. I am aware of the fact that depression is a mental illness that can be caused by factors pretty much beyond your control. Depression isn’t a choice, I want to make it clear that I am a firm believer of that and that it is totally irrelevant to this post)