Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Want to be happy? Watch your language!

Speaking in language that keeps us focused on what isn't going right, comes in the form of words like never and always.  "I never get what I want."  "This always happens to me."  The words always and never mean 100% and nothing happens 100% of the time.  Using the word unfair and looking for all the unfair things that happen in life also keeps us wanting and unhappy.  So when the bad things in life happen, acknowledge that whatever it is has happened and then move on.  Easier said than done you say?  Yes, this change in language takes time to develop.  We have already had years of practice speaking negatively and focusing on what is unfair. That is why it comes so easily.  We have brainwashed ourselves negatively so we can brainwash ourselves positively with practice.

If we practice changing the way we describe situations we can decrease the length of time spent in an unhappy state.  When something bad happens we can say, "This is bad! I hate that this happened!"  We can spend some time being irritated, angry, sad, embarrassed.  Then it is time to move into problem solving.  We ask ourselves, "What can I do about this situation?"  The answer to this question leads us to action steps for moving on from the negative situation.  Try it because just stewing in the negative situation doesn't change it or help us feel better. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Money Can't Buy You Happiness

Like the Beatles' song, Money Can't Buy You Love, money can't buy you happiness.  So about now you're thinking, "Yeah, right!"  If I only had more money, a nicer car, a better job, I would be happy.  Studies conducted on happiness indicate this is the case only on a temporary basis.  Initially, when you get a raise, win money or buy something new there is a spike in happiness.  Then it drops off and you return to your usual level of happiness.  So if all the things you think will make you happy, won't do that for the long haul,  what will?

For happiness that lasts try helping others.  If you commit random acts of kindness your mood will lift.  Finding small ways of helping others is easy in daily life.  Keep your eyes open.  Hold the door open for someone, help someone with carrying groceries or picking up something they dropped.  Challenge yourself to find a small way to help someone everyday.  If you find a way to help that is a grand gesture that is great,  but you only have to help in some small way to benefit.  Observe somone else helping and your mood will also benefit from observing kind acts.  These are lessons from the happiness research.  Let me know what you have done to help someone, send in your comments.