The holidays are upon us and the stress level is going up, up, and up! If you aren’t careful, “the happiest season of all” can become the unhappiest season of all. The key is to not let the negative aspects of the season dominate your life. This is a good idea to focus on all year long. The trick is to develop a master plan to attain and maintain happiness.
Finding the Silver Lining
As humans, we are wired to dwell on the negative. As discussed in a previous blog, this is called the negativity bias. The negativity bias is the subconscious way we give more weight to bad experiences than good ones. This subconscious behavior needs to be identified and reversed before true happiness can be attained.
A good way to overcome a negative mindset is to conduct a little self-discovery. It is important to note that the definition of happiness varies from person to person. What one person reacts positively to, can cause someone else to react negatively. In other words, dig deeper into what does and does not make YOU and only you happy.
This is where a well-being assessment is useful. It’s a way to step back and take a closer look at learned reactions to everyday situations. Sometimes just acknowledging that you react negatively to a situation can help you reset and turn the negative into a positive. Below are some questions that will help you dig deeper into your psyche, so you can identify what might be holding you back from embracing the positive over the negative:
- Do you have a healthy work/life balance?
- Do you feel good about yourself?
- Do you understand where your emotions come from?
- Can you identify what matters most to you?
These are just a few pointed questions to discover where the negative thoughts may be coming from.
If you are unhappy, the most logical place to start is with yourself. Often, we are the biggest roadblocks to our own happiness. If you take the time and put effort into looking within, you will often find that you are happy in some aspects of life (or you should be). You’ll discover there is a silver lining after all.
Polishing the Silver Lining
Now that you’ve found the “silver lining” it is essential to nurture it on a day to day basis. Just like any worthwhile skill set, “practice makes perfect.”
- Stop yourself when you self-deprecate and turn it around by noting something positive about yourself immediately
- Spend money on experiences with loved ones in place of “things”
- Do something you are good at
- Identify things to look forward toward/work toward
- Practice gratitude by giving back, even if it’s simply holding a door open for someone
- Make someone smile (it’s contagious and will make you smile in return!)
Overall, maintaining happiness is the result of being self-aware, not self-centered.
Focusing upon the positive aspects of life is easy, if you make a conscious decision to do it. Start out by showing gratitude, giving back to others, and always being kind. This will put you in the right mind set and create a positive outlook on life.
Remember, no one can make you happy; you must decide to be happy and do things that will create happiness in your life. Only you can attain and maintain your own happiness. If you don’t, the only person to blame is yourself.
The Pursuit of Happiness, No One Said it was Easy!
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