This is the next post in the Feeling Your Emotions series. You can read the introduction here: https://fallingpetalsuk.blogspot.com/2017/11/feeling-your-emotions-introduction.html
Disclaimer: I'm not a doctor, so if you're having mental/physical issues please seek medical help in addition to reading this. :)
So far in the series I've covered the so-called "negative" emotions- anger, sadness and depression, fear and anxiety and shame. Then I wrote a "neutral" post about the between point of "negative" and "positive" emotions before moving onto happiness. It's quite a big subject so I decided to split it into a couple of posts. You can read Part 1 here: https://fallingpetalsuk.blogspot.com/2020/01/feeling-your-emotions-happiness-part-1.html
Now I'm going to go deeper into the subject of "happiness".
In the first part I discussed what happiness is, a "feeling or sense of wellbeing, joy and contentment". I also wondered if it's possible to be happy all the time. I've come to the conclusion that since we're human beings and part of being human is feeling different emotional states, happiness comes and goes, just like other emotions. So probably a lot people won't be happy all the time. (Although I can't speak for everyone, I do believe that some people can remain in an upbeat, or more positive, "lighter" state for the majority of the time if they're wired that way.) This may sound obvious but there is so much focus in our society on being happy and everything being perfect, and just brushing sad and bad things (hurt and pain) under the carpet and pretending they don't exist. But of course they do and it helps to acknowledge them. Still I would like to be happier, as mostly everyone would!
I'd like to note also that there is something researchers call the "negativity effect" which is where we tend to focus more on the bad things that happen than the good things. I learnt a bit about it when I've been on anxiety and depression courses, and have also read about it in books. I recently came across this post which explains the subject well, and has some tips to overcome it: https://isntthatcharming.com/the-negativity-effect/
So now let's look more at happiness. This is a good post and video asking the question "What is happiness to you?: https://laleelifestyle.com/what-is-happiness-to-you/
In the post the writer Laura mentions that happiness has two components- one part that is unique to you (the things that you like and your purpose) and another part that is collective, our basic needs as human beings. I've often come across Maslow's Hierachy of Needs before, the theory of basic human needs. They are divided into 5 categories: Physiological (biological needs for survival such as breathing, eating and sleeping), safety (being protected from the elements, feeling safe from threat), love and belonging (need to belong to a community and have relationships with others), esteem (self esteem and respect from others) and self actualisation (realising your potential and "purpose" in life, growth and personal development). They're ranked 1 to 5 on a pyramid with physiological being the most important at the top and self actualisation at No. 5 on the bottom. You can read more about that here: https://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html
So if our basic needs aren't met we will find it hard to be happy. And if you are just focusing on survival (such as if you have an illness, are homeless, if you don't have clean drinking water etc.), then it won't be the most important thing to you. It's also interesting to note that we all seem to have a "baseline" level of happiness, the article says that in studies done on people who have been through a lot of hard stuff or had good things happen (e.g becoming paralysed/losing a limb or winning the lottery), after 6 months their happiness levels return to where they were before the life changing event.
There has also been research showing that 50% of our happiness level comes from our genetic predisposition and the other half is made up of our thoughts, experience and behaviour. You can read more on this and suggestions for "choosing happiness" here:
I like the note at the end of the post saying that if happiness just feels impossible for you right now (because sometimes it does) you can replace it with relief instead. The blogger Janette Dagliesh writes about the Law of Attraction (LOA), so that's what she's referring to when she mentions "conscious creation".
Update 19/7/21: Janette has a new site. I can't find the article above on it, but will link again if I do find it. :)
Before moving on to tips for being happier, I'll take a quick look at the subject of joy.
Joy and Happiness
I've wondered if there is a difference between joy and happiness. They are sometimes used interchangeably but other times differently. I did a search on this and came across varying definitions. Diffen says that happiness is a solid and joy is a liquid as in joy is a sudden burst, whereas this Pyschologies article says that joy is more consistent and cultivated internally. I also came across articles saying that joy just happens internally, whilst happiness is dependent on something outside of you. You can read more about that here: https://www.lifehack.org/829871/joy-vs-happiness
So I've decided that in this post I'll focus on both. :) To start here are a couple of posts about positivity:
Positive thinking: https://laleelifestyle.com/positive-thinking/
The Truth About Positivity: http://spirituallyempowered.co.uk/the-truth-about-positivity/
How to be Happier
Note: Sometimes you may just feel like happiness is too far from you (for example you may be going through a bad period of depression, grieving a loss, facing discrimination in your daily life, struggling financially) and that's ok. You can always take your focus off trying to be happy while dealing with your current issues and come back to it later. :)
Having said that if you're feeling sad, this is a good post about reaching for happiness. It's called A Sad Person's Guide To Happiness: https://cajspirituality.com/2018/01/11/a-sad-persons-guide-to-happiness/
Please note: If you are experiencing clinical depression it's best for you to be under the guidance of a doctor/health professional.
Earlier in the post I mentioned that we all have a certain natural level of happiness.
You can read more about raising your happiness baseline here: https://medium.com/@MaxWeigand/the-science-of-happiness-what-actually-makes-us-happy-78edcc9bdd58
It's divided into two sections, Thoughts and Actions. Suggestions in the Thoughts section include keeping a gratitude journal, forgiveness and meditation. (I am not so keen on meditation as mentioned in the past, but sometimes do guided ones). And tips in the Action section include getting enough sleep, spending time with friends and spending money. We're often told "money can't buy you happiness" but having a decent amount of money to live on certainly helps to give you peace of mind! In this instance though, the article suggests spending money on someone else to treat them.
Here are a few more links with some tips for being happy:
Jasmine Lipska video with tips for being happy and positive:
How I achieve a Continuous State of Being Happy: http://www.everydayloamagic.com/blog/how-i-achieve-a-continuous-state-of-being-happy
The last post is by Ruby of Everyday LOA Magic. I did take her course A State of Happy in 2017 and found it useful. Perhaps it's time to revisit it. :)
There was quite a lot to cover again, so I will either do a third post in this series, or a separate one on positive thinking and gratitude, with more resources. Hope this post helped you in some way! :) Right now it's a very anxious time with the coronavirus and the collective fear and worry over that, so many of us may find ourselves struggling to cope. So as a reminder for myself and others: don't put pressure on yourself to be happy, just cope as best you can and reach for feeling happier when you feel able to. :)
Read the rest of the posts in the FYE series here:
Anger (Part 1): https://fallingpetalsuk.blogspot.com/2018/02/feeling-your-emotions-anger-part-1.html
Anger (Part 2): https://fallingpetalsuk.blogspot.com/2018/04/feeling-your-emotions-anger-part-2.html
Sadness and Depression (Part 1): https://fallingpetalsuk.blogspot.com/2018/07/feeling-your-emotions-sadness-and.html
Sadness and Depression (Part 2): https://fallingpetalsuk.blogspot.com/2018/08/feeling-your-emotions-sadness-and.html
Fear and Anxiety (Part 1): https://fallingpetalsuk.blogspot.com/2018/10/feeling-your-emotions-fear-and-anxiety.html
Fear and Anxiety (Part 2): https://fallingpetalsuk.blogspot.com/2018/12/feeling-your-emotions-fear-and-anxiety.html
Happiness (Part 1): https://fallingpetalsuk.blogspot.com/2020/01/feeling-your-emotions-happiness-part-1.html
*Or how to be happy as much as you can.
Photo: Lancing Beach Green. Moonsparkle 2018.