I’m pulling back the curtain to reveal everything about my spiritual journey.
Each one of us may define happiness differently. But we all understand it is a non-negotiable ingredient for creating the life of our dreams.
Happiness is a physical state of the brain. As people, we actually have the privilege of living in two worlds. We experience the physical world, consisting of tangible things that appear as our reality. And, we can have an entirely different experience in our mind and imagination. This second reality, we will call inner reality, can appear and feel just as real if you allow it. The mind and imagination usually create the emotions we feel, so in many instances, it can be more real.
We are taught from a very young age that making changes to your physical world will provide you greater fulfillment and happiness. The truth of the matter is that if you can change your mind and imagination, that will make the lasting impact on your happiness and fulfillment.
When someone suggestions that you find what ignites you, or find what you love, this too will lead you towards happiness, this path is most definitely necessary. However, without changing the perception of how the inner part of your mind that affects your emotions, you can still end up disappointed and empty. It may be difficult to grasp the path to happiness because your mind will coninute to tell you to change your physical world and then happiness will follow.
Almost everyone has heard the saying that money doesn’t make you happy, other people don’t make you happy, and that you have to make yourself happy. Very few people will tell you how to find this elusive happiness. Mostly because they don’t know your path and they don’t have the skills to guide you to your specific path. One fact remains, as long as you are focused on the external world of success and accomplishment the inner part of your mind will not give up the control it has over your emotions.
As you begin to direct your attention to the inner world, the mind begins to lose the power over your choices and thoughts. You become an intentional thinker. As you demonstrate more self-awareness you will begin to be aware of yourself as being separate from your mind that is generating thoughts and opinions.
Take a circumstance such as being fired from your job. This happened to me and in the moment it felt like it was the worst experience of my life. I had feelings that questioned my self-worth and I swam in self-judgment and criticism that I created. I also blamed and was angry at my former employer.
After a few years had passed, I realized that it was a toxic environment for me and I would not have left the situation had I not been forced to. Furthermore, I would not have grown, but because this happened I was able to move on to circumstances that were better for my life. My mind was then was able to interpret being fired as a beneficial turn of events that helped me find a better life. It was an event that was necessary to bring me to my current state of happiness. The story that projected in my mind changed and so did my related emotion about the events.
Did the event actually change? No. I was still fired on that day at that time. However, since my opinions and beliefs about the event changed so did my emotion and perspective. Most people can only change their interpretations over time. This is why hindsight is so valuable. However, with awareness, you can change the opinions and beliefs in your inner reality in any given moment.
Happiness and fulfillment are determined by the opinions and beliefs of your inner reality. They are gauged by how you perceive your accomplishments and failures. After all success and failure are unique perspectives that are projected by the mind. They can and do change with time or experience.
When you understand the significance of how your inner reality impacts your emotions it will become more important to create peace and quiet in your mind. Depending on how important it is to be happy, you might even conclude that changing your opinions, beliefs, and fears are more important than your physical goals.
Numerous studies indicate that wealthy people are not much happier than the middle class. This leads me to conclude that once a person’s basic needs are met there is very little change in a person’s happiness as they gain wealth, which is contrary to what you think would happen. What these studies can’t explain is the lack of difference. That’s because these studies aren’t able to reveal the aspects of fear, judgments, criticisms, and beliefs, that make up the inner reality of people’s minds. These elements of a person’s mind do not change because of a change in their financial status.
As people strive to be happier and more fulfilled they pursue what they believe will make them feel better. Typically focusing on creating the physical reality. However, this does not necessarily equate to happiness in the real world.
The mind is tricky to tame. There are years of embedded pathways of neurons to try to contend with. When you decide to change to a self-aware thought pattern old projections will attempt to describe, justify, judge, or explain why the mind thinks as it does, essentially fighting you every step of the way.
I personally struggled with a roadblock of my mind being logical, too logical. My mind was telling me that by trying to think the new way that I was trying to think, that I was being delusional to the facts. In effect, when I attempted to change the process of my mind I was feeding into my old story and making it stronger. To make the necessary changes in the way your mind projects stories and images in your inner reality is challenging. In the beginning, you can not attempt to cut out everything you don’t want. Without using skilled techniques and guidance, it is likely to seem bigger and more difficult than before. To really change your belief system, it requires that you become skillful in slicing it apart in small segments.
To change the patterns of the mind and currents of emotion might seem like a daunting task, at least that is what the mind projects. Whether it is easy or difficult is irrelevant, compared to the rewards. You have the rest of your life to experience true happiness or continue the experience that you’ve had. The choice always remains yours!
The mind is a dynamic and living entity that has an agenda of its own, putting survival ahead of your emotional well-being. If you don’t think this is true I have an exercise for you. Take a deep breathe and close your eyes, are you doing it? Nah your peeking, or reading still 🙂 Okay close your eyes and simply attempt to make all your thoughts silent for a few minutes and see how the voice in your head behaves.
Is is likely to become unruly, telling you to stop wasting your time, this isn’t important, and the person who wrote this article doesn’t know what she is talking about. Everything will be an attempt to change the subject or sabotage the process of quiet. The person that becomes a skeptic of these thoughts and recognizes their automatic reactive nature has a chance to change their world.
What other ways are there to increase your happiness levels that are backed up with fact?
If you frequent the gym, you know that you generally feel a lot happier when you do. One of the most obvious reasons is that you start to look how you want to and this positive step in body image helps you to feel better about more than just your looks.
However, it’s not just looking great that improves your happiness. Studies have shown that just 20 minutes of moving around, regardless of the activity level, produce an increase in endorphin release around the body. So all you need is 20 minutes of exercise to have a happiness boost throughout the day. If you can get this first thing in the morning it will vastly improve your outlook on the rest of your day.
Most people know that dreams are the mind’s way of dealing with things that are happening in your life, but it turns out that sleep is also important for making you focused, productive and happy.
A study conducted by BPS Research Digest proves that sleep affects our sensitivity to negative emotions, showing that those people in the study that had a nap during the day were less likely to be sensitive late in the day to negative emotions (e.g. fear and anger) when compared to those that didn’t sleep.
This shows that getting a good night of sleep is one of the best ways to think more positively the next day, so make sure you’re getting your rest.
There are so many places you can go to enjoy the outdoors; whether it’s the bay, botanic gardens, the mountains or even your own backyard.
A study from the University of Sussex showed that being outdoors, near the sea, on a warm, sunny weekend afternoon is the perfect spot for happiness. The study also showed that urban environments were less “happy” than natural ones, so swap the mall for the beach next time the weather heats up!
Another study has shown that just 20 minutes outdoors – the perfect excuse to fit in that exercise we talked about – is the perfect time to release more happy feelings into your body and set yourself up for a better outlook on life.
Happiness and fulfillment obtained solely from focusing on your physical reality is fleeting and may leave you wondering, “Is this all there is?” To discover greater and more lasting happiness you will have to follow a path of dismantling the ego of the mind.
In the state of a quiet mind, the ego can become silent. When the ego is dissolved so is the voice in your head that keeps you from peace and quiet. Only when you quell the ego of your mind do you have a chance to interact in a new way with the world. In the beginning, this will likely only happen in brief moments. However, with practice, it becomes a normal way of being.
When the mind is tamed and dissolved there are fewer likely bouts of unhappiness, frustration, anger, or a sense of emptiness. You are able to see the physical world as it is, and people as they really are. There is the realization of and perception of beauty as the fog is lifted and your eyes open to this clarity. Only through this spiritual pathway are you assured of becoming free of emotional suffering, despite the changing circumstances of your life.
Happiness is about small everyday things. The only thing that needs to change, for your happiness to change is YOU. A little perspective and gratitude shift has the potential to make you feel content. Get out of your comfort zone, search for work that excites you, be open to connections with new people and notice the auspicious circumstances that can align from seemingly nowhere.
How happy are you right now? Do you have the tools to manufacture your own happiness? I’m simply a click away if you are in need of guidance.
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