Sometime in the mid 20th century psychologists began to realize that what makes a person happy or feel good about themselves, is just as important as what caused their problems in the first place. While mental health practitioners have still, for the most part, focused on dysfunction and its causes, many other practitioners in the personal growth field have emphasized the importance of what makes us deeply and profoundly happy. These practitioners have been anyone from spiritual leaders to life coaches. This article focuses on what you can do to use what you already know to make your life more full of joy!
Sometimes people think that feeling joy or being happy is easy and that it does not require work, this is not true. It can be just as challenging to increase our joy as it can be to decrease our anxiety or depression. It actually takes diligence to open our selves to more positive ways of being and to learn to see and accept the joy and love that is a part of our lives. Below are six questions you can ask yourself in order to increase your positive feelings on a regular basis.
When did it work? If you find yourself in a sticky situation and it seems as if there is no way to make it into a good one, think about times in your life where you were successful. What was it that you did or didn’t do that might be useful to this situation now?
When were you happy? Even if you are suffering from depression this question can be helpful…Was there a moment in your life, however brief when you were truly happy? What was it about that moment that made you feel this way? Don’t be content with a surface view; look for little nuggets of joy that created this great situation.
What do you love? This is a great place to start when you want to increase your joy. Make a list of at least 10 things that you love to do. Make sure that each day contains one of these joyous activities.
What are your values? Time and time again it is proven that if we live out of integrity with ourselves we suffer. Make a list of what you deeply value about your behavior, relationships, and activities. See if there are ways your can bring yourself into a better relationship with your core values.
What are the top 5 things in your life that bring you stress? It is always helpful to do some judicious pruning. See how you can decrease the amount of time you spend engaging in activities or with people that are not healthy for you.
Why not? If you have the tendency to create rules that keep you from feeling the joy and pleasure in your life and you find yourself debating whether or not you “have time” or “really should,” try asking yourself “why not?” If you don’t have a really good answer for it, then go for it. Sometimes, you are only as happy as you let yourself be.
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