Do you want to feel happy? How many people are going to answer ‘No’ to that question? So why would anyone sabotage their own happiness?
The truth is you might be sabotaging your own happiness without realising it.
Things happen every day that create good feelings; a small accomplishment on a work project, you or your team winning a game, anticipating and eating delicious food or feeling a warm connection with someone else.
Once the good feelings are there you can focus on them, enjoy them and increase that sense of positivity and wellbeing. Or you can deflate and dampen them with negative thoughts, minimising the good and sometimes crushing those positive feelings altogether. These are automatic responses coming from your subconscious mindset and known as up-regulation and down-regulation.
Research indicates that if you want to feel bad and crush your positive feelings you should try out some of these 7 dampening thoughts.
Any of those sound familiar? The more you agree with and think these 7 thoughts in your day to day the more trouble you will have finding joy in life. People who think such thoughts often are more likely to be vulnerable to depression or other mental health issues.
Negative mindsets are powerful and contagious but NOT immovable. It is within your power to change your mind, rewire your brain and stop sabotaging your own happiness.
Catch your thoughts and get curious about them. Observe from a neutral place, notice when your mind wanders away from a positive experience you are in. Watch out for your versions of the 7 thoughts. If you become aware of a negative thought, practice consciously bringing yourself back into the experience of the present moment. Use your physical senses to focus on what you can see, hear, smell. Find a positive detail and be curious and interested in it. Staying consciously aware in the moment will dispel the power of the negative.
Check and challenge the thoughts you are having. Ask critical questions; is this thought realistic and accurate? Practice being rational and logical about the validity of your thoughts. Take it further; ask yourself how is this thought ridiculous? If you say, ‘This is too good to be true’, what do you mean by true? Is it happening now? If so is it true or untrue? Our negative thoughts are often laughable when we start to analyse them and laughing makes you feel good.
TOP TIP: When you smile it’s more difficult to feel unhappy so when a negative thought or feeling pops up challenge yourself to focus on someone or something that makes you smile. As little as 20 seconds of smiling can make a positive difference.
Create a new thought with the intention of being kind to yourself. Imagine the negative thought you are having is being expressed by someone else you really care about. If a close friend had something great happen and then said ‘I don’t deserve this’ what might you say to them? How would you reframe their thought in a positive way? Show yourself the same level of love and respect. If it feels uncomfortable or unconvincing to turn the thought on its’ head then modify it to a less extreme form. Instead of ‘I so deserve this!’ go for ‘I am realising how much I deserve this’ or even ‘I’m beginning to realise how much I deserve this’.
If you want to create happiness rather than sabotage it you need to get tuned in to your thoughts, take control and learn how to up-regulate them naturally.
TOP TIP: Follow the 3Cs principle for 21 days and keep a journal of what happens. Start with an assessment of your overall happiness on a rising scale of 0 to 10. Each day note the negative thoughts/ feelings you have, the action you took and the outcome you got. Every 7 days review your progress. Does the process get easier? How does your overall happiness rating look at the end of the 21 days?
© Jenni Hallam www.jennihallam.co.uk