“I’m so unhappy!” This is some thing I often say because I battle depression. I wake up in the morning with a low bottom line and I take it upon myself to lift myself from the basement to the lobby. A frustrating process to work so hard to get to a place where some people start. I had my blood tested and I have fine tuned my hormones, minerals and vitamins. I work out regularly and I meditate, but this isn’t enough to make me happy. Some people are perpetually unhappy and if that is you, it is likely your fault.
Happy people are not the ones that have the most. They are not the richest, they are not the most successful, quite the contrary in fact. The happiest people I’ve seen in my life are the people that have very little and find joy in the small magical moments in life. Ladybug landing on their finger, a good cup of coffee, or a stimulating conversation with a friend. These are the people that gravitate towards happiness. And sure, some people are just lucky and they have a positive disposition. They don’t have to put in the work. They are just happy. That is not you, you have to put in the work.
Happiness is attainable with a shift in your perspective. Are horrible things happening every day? Yes, life can be an absolute shit show. That does not mean that good things are not happening as well. Earlier this week a friend of mine had been complaining how difficult it was to find work in her field. Another group of friends came to sit at the table and I introduced them to my struggling friend. She was a bit drunk and lashing out at the world because her job interview didn’t go well that day. Ironically, she was a school teacher and one of my friends was actually a principal at a public middle school and had just received word that a teacher was leaving and the position needed to be filled. Of course, he wouldn’t take my friend into consideration because she was angrily cursing at a salt shaker. Her focus on the negative didn’t just create more negative (like a broken salt shaker and a hangover), it kept her from a positive outcome. The way we feel has a domino effect.
You might feel frustrated reading this. What can we do? Our brain does not come with a remote control. The thing to remember is you are an adult. You have to parent yourself. You can not eat an entire cake at 2 AM and you need to redirect your thoughts when you are beating yourself up for your recent failed relationship all night long. Could you have been better? Did you take them for granted? Were you falling short in bed? MAYBE! But no amount of obsessing about it is going to make that any better.
Positive things came from the relationship. Perhaps you learned something, had beautiful moments together, or it’s just great that it is over. As you shift your focus your mind will boomerang and you will go right back to where you started. It is up to you to toss that boomerang right back and do not get complacent. We know how boomerangs work.
The more times you shift your focus from the negative to the positive the more natural it will seem. Your brain likes routine. If you have been a pessimist your whole life you can not wake up tomorrow and decide to be something else. You are training your brain the way you would any other muscle. Gradually, overtime. It is a combination of knowing what you need to feel physically healthy and doing what is required to be emotionally healthy.
Do not get discouraged. People tend to force themselves to think positive for a day and when nothing magical happens they give up. Redirecting your brain to the positive puts you in a position where you are open to positive things happening to you. That opportunity doesn’t always exist. Your state of mind should be consistent for it to pay off. A positive thought is more powerful than a negative thought. If you’re trying to think positive and your brain hit you with the worst case scenario simply push the thought aside and think of a positive thought or two.
Gravitating towards negativity could contribute to keeping you in destructive patterns. If you believe you only attract bad people how surprising is it when all your dates are bad people? What self-fulfilling prophecy’s are you reciting? If I constantly think my partner is going to cheat on me I’m going to look for things that prove me right and likely end up accusing my partner of cheating over something I misinterpreted. A partner is more likely to cheat if they are already being treated as such. Sure, you might drop your guard and get cheated on anyway.
But, by acting like it is going to happen from the beginning you are skipping the honeymoon phase and going straight for the explosive break up. Intuition and anxiety often feel the same. Be mindful of the fact that an an anxious thought is not a vision for the future. Sometimes it is your intuition and other times it is just pesky anxiety coming to keep you on your familiar course of unhappiness. Your mind wants to keep you alive. It is up to you to make it a life with happiness. You have the steering wheel.
What if you can’t think of a positive thought? You need to look around you. A hummingbird drinking from a flower, your pet, your nephew, or a funny YouTube video. You’re able to breathe, your coffee was perfect today, or it’s finally Spring! When everything is doom and gloom you need to shine a light. It doesn’t eliminate the gloom but it allows you to see the rainbow. Life is good and bad. Life is magical and life is devastating. It’s up to you what you choose to focus on. Choose accordingly.
Erika Jordan is an internationally acclaimed love and relationship expert, NLP practitioner, author, and media personality, and a leader in the field of digital romance and online dating.
First published on YourTango