By Jordan Britton, Wood’s Homes Youth & Family Counsellor
Happiness seems to be the thing everyone looks to chase, one way or another. Catching it, however, is impossible due to the emotion naturally washing in and out of our lives, similar to the ocean’s tide and its cycles. Like the ocean, controlling this emotion is met with the same futility. Understanding what control we have, and don’t have, over our emotions is crucial in our own self well-being. With this in mind, it’s important to understand that there are ways in which to manipulate more positivity into your life, by which happiness is a pleasant by-product.
One of the most basic aspects about happiness itself is that many people don’t realize how much of a habit it is. In the same way someone can be completely negative, it’s possible for someone to be positive. I’m sure when given the chance to reflect on it, everyone can think of a person continuously cheerful and lucky, and someone who is relentlessly negative and down on themselves. We, as humans, are creatures of our own habits and, as much a cup of coffee in the morning to start the day, other habits have a way of dictating our emotions. While it’s nearly impossible to just suddenly declare “from now on I’m just going to be happy,” magically transforming into Mary Poppins, implementing methods of positive habits can make being happier simply easier. Similar to how practicing over and over again in something such as a sport, driving or in my grandma’s case, quilting, it is possible to become more skilled at being positive.
Positivity has always spilled out of a friend of mine and, I must admit, sometimes it was just flat-out annoying. When I was presented with some of the more challenging phases of my life, this guy always seemed to be riding out life in the luckiest of ways; however, after beginning my own quest in self-growth, understanding part of what makes him tick ended up being incredibly interesting. This guy does not have a negative habit in him. He is so deeply entrenched in overlooking negativity and reinforcing positivity that he just appears to be the luckiest guy in the world. This made me realize just how important perception is to luck and happiness. Luck is an entirely real thing and people possess either bad luck or great luck. The truth behind it is what ‘events’ you choose to perceive. A person who chooses to focus on all of the unfortunate events will reflect that in how they view their life. On the same token, someone who overlooks such things and chooses to gravitate to all of the great happenings in life will undoubtedly present as someone who unexplainably has a ton of good luck. Practically adding this into your life is as simple as making a concerted effort to brood on anything positive that happens to you or those around you. Over time, the possible changes are remarkable. As humans are creatures of habit, you’ll start to realize how effortlessly natural this becomes. Eventually, respectfully blocking out negativity will become second nature and soaking in all the good around you happens automatically.
Gratitude is a habit that can help create a happy frame of mind. This trait is hugely important in developing satisfaction, which easily translates into increased well-being and positivity. Look at gratitude as a vehicle for happiness – it allows everything around you to be converted your own happiness. You could be the wealthiest, most privileged person in the world, but without a presence of gratitude, you will be less satisfied and happy than a family with minimal necessities in life who show an incredible appreciation for one another and the world they share around them. Additionally, understanding the relationship of gratitude and happiness is profound. It is difficult for depressive moods to exist in the presence of gratitude. Implementing this in your life is as easy as compiling a list of things you’re grateful for. Making this a habit is as easy as thinking about anything you’re thankful for every day. Whenever you’re driving, in the washroom or just have a minute to yourself, make a simple list in your head of three things you’re grateful for. This can be anything! From family and loved ones, to the person who held the door open for you this morning when your hands were full. Gratitude can be found everywhere.
This a relatively short article on the practical side of happiness, and there is a whole host of other aspects comprising its body. Utilizing these habits can aid in harnessing the good in your life, which in turn is very effective in raising your overall well-being. Challenge yourself to notice the positive aspects in your life and study the happy-go-lucky people around you. Take note of their habits, but most importantly, always be in tune to the things that make you happy.
Ask for help. Don’t be afraid to reach out to your friends, family and community – let’s work together!