This article was written by Stacey McBride-Wilson from The Healthy Happy Soul.
Training your brain to experience more happy
Happiness is without a doubt a choice. We don’t always get to choose the situations or circumstances we find ourselves in, but we do get to choose how we react. Sure that choice is more challenging to make than others sometimes, but it’s always possible and it’s always a choice worth making. After all, the quality of our choices determines the quality of our journey.
I just LOVE this quote from Dr Frank Crane. He absolutely nails it for me in saying that ‘People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be!‘
Perspective and attitude are powerful, almost like superpowers. They are truly the only things we have total control over in our life. How we perceive the experiences life throws our way ultimately determines how we receive them. Not only that, happiness is like a muscle; it gets stronger the more we use it. So the more we look for the good, the easier it becomes to experience happy and see the good going on around us.
But this isn’t just some fluffy airy-fairy feel good thought, this is actually a scientific process called neuroplasticity. Basically this is the latest cutting edge scientific findings that has proven we can retrain our brain from our instinctive reactions or choices (eg. yell when something upsets us, or eat an entire block of chocolate if it’s there) to more positive choices over time.
We have pathways in our brain and just like roads they get easier to travel the more we use them. Think about it as though your driving a regular route you take between two points for example from home to work. Often times you’re on autopilot. You make that journey without giving it too much thought. It’s instinctive.
But what if you discovered a new, easier, quicker, less congested way to get from point A to point B, you’d probably make an effort to learn the route and start taking that way instead right? Initially it’d take time to navigate and remember where to go, but over time if you continued to take that new route, it would become normal. You’d strengthen your knowledge of driving that path and it’d become so simple.
The same thing happens in our brains as we experience life. And just like you can make a choice to change the route you take from point A to point B, you can also make a choice to change how you respond to situations. The only difference when your brain is concerned is that you won’t get to the same destination. Instead, you get a whole new positive outcome, like more feelings of joy, contentment and peace.
So how do we practically transform our minds and choose happy? Remember it’s a process, not an event. As I shared earlier, happiness is like a muscle that gets stronger with use. The first step is to be aware of the principle of choosing happy, and then all you’ve got to do is work out your happy muscle each day. How? I’m so glad you asked….
- WAKE UP HAPPY – One of my favourite ways is to decide each and every morning that today is a good day and you’re going to be in a good mood. Seriously, try it for yourself! You can do this practically by setting yourself a reminder on your phone or alarm so it’s the first thing you see in the morning. After a while, it’ll just become second-nature. Your new happy normal.
- DRESS HAPPY – Life isn’t meant to be a funeral, it’s a celebration!! Party each day by dressing in some happy threads. Think bright. Think bold. Think clothes that make you happy to wear!
- MOVE HAPPY – Exercise releases endorphins; they’re the happy feel good hormone. Just get your amazing body moving in some way today!
It’s that simple! So what you waiting for? Get out there and get your happy on today!