“Most folks are about as happy as they make their minds up to be.” – Abraham Lincoln
Have you ever had one of those days where you have woken up feeling like you were ready to take on the world? The sun was shinning, the kids were actually getting ready for school instead of throwing food/each other around, and you felt like you could accomplish anything the day brought your way. You felt calm, yet energised, loved and happy.
Then there are those days where you wake up feeling like doomsday. Nothing has really changed from the day before, but your emotions are telling you that “everything will go wrong today”; the world is a dark and dreary place, the kids are misbehaving “again”, your partner is unsupportive and you feel like you are alone in a dark hole with no one to save you.
Unfortunately, days like these show us how powerful our emotions and thoughts can be. So powerful, that at those times we cannot see beyond the negative emotions to see that we may wake up tomorrow feeling completely different. We just can’t see the rainbow through the storm clouds!
People often believe that the feelings and emotions we experience are caused by external events, situations and the behaviour of others. How often do we say things like, “my children are driving me insane!”, “I just need a good glass of red to help me relax”, “my husband is making me so angry”… sounds familiar doesn’t it? All of these statements give the power of our emotions to someone or something external to us – but does that mean we are powerless over our own emotions?
What really make us feel and think the way we do, is not the words or behaviours of another person, or a specific situation, but how we perceive our world. In today’s society we are bombarded with ideas of what SHOULD make us happy. How many times do we think: “If only I was … taller, sexier, slimmer, richer, smarter, stronger, more successful, a “better” mum … then I would be happy”.
What is Happiness?
But what exactly is happiness?
Everyone talks about it – in fact there are wall to wall sections in bookshops trying to teach us how to get it – even the Dalai Lama said: “The very purpose of life is to seek happiness”.
The trouble with the word “happiness” is that it means so many things to so many people. Also, our idea of happiness changes across the lifespan. I remember when I was younger, that “happiness” was running around with my cousins having a waterbomb fight, or eating a piece of mum’s chocolate cake with sprinkles on top. As we age, we tend to think less about what ACTUALLY makes us happy, and focus more on what we think is SUPPOSED TO make us happy.
Happiness is Individual
In addition, what makes us happy will differ with each individual.
A psychologist can help you to explore your own individual happiness. What makes us happy? Why do we struggle so much to feel happy? What goals can we set, and what steps can we take to make these positive changes?
If you would like some assistance in the pursuit of happiness, please feel free to make an appointment with me.
Author: Lauren Brockie, B Beh Sc, PG Dip Psych, M Psych (Sport & Exercise), M Psych (Clinical), MAPS.
Lauren Brockie is an experienced psychologist, working with adults, couples, adolescents, and children. With a warm and practical approach, Lauren enjoys supporting and challenging her clients, to assist them in reaching their goals.
To make an appointment with Loganholme Psychologist Lauren Brockie, try Online Booking – Loganholme or call M1 Psychology (Loganholme) on (07) 3067 9129.