Did you know that the rate of depression and anxiety is increasing, but the rate of happiness is stagnant? This is tragic! Why in the world is this happening? According to Pascal, "Man wishes to be happy, only wishes to be happy, and CANNOT wish not to do so." How good are you at actually PURSUING happiness?
Happiness CAN be learned, as we have discussed in other blogs, and because of the elastiticity of the amazing human brain, thought patterns can be established which promote MORE positive thinking and LESS negativity. Research has shown that happiness is even contagious, as we are hardwired to "mimic" the attitudes and expressions of those around us. So, what's missing here? Mabye it's YOU.
How much effort are you actually putting into trying to re-train your brain to think more positive thoughts? How many times a day are you actually stopping yourself from complaining, grumbling, or having a little 'poor me' moment? If you haven't taken the pursuit of happiness in your own life seriously, maybe it's time you did.
First, those around you may be relying on you to set the example. Maybe you have co-workers, colleagues, and family members who are stuck in patterns of negativity. It might be YOUR positive attitude that turns not only their moment, day, or week around, you may, in fact, set an example which they could choose to follow for the remainder of their life!
Second, it takes FIVE positive ineractions to counteract just one negative experience. Someone around you is hurting and perhaps even wounded from a recent negative experience, and it may be that your compliment, praise, smile, or kind word might just help to move them a little bit closer towards recovery. Don't we all need that sometimes? Of course we do.
Third, remaining positive in the little moments of life can actually help you maintain your bearings during a stressful and/or negative encounter. The stress response that we are naturally programmed with, and that we need for survival, is very powerful. It is so powerful, in fact, that it can actually inhibit the ability to see any option other than fight or flight. In contemporary society, neither of those options is typically helpful or necessary, and so having a brain that is LESS responsive to negative thoughts can actually help maintain rational thought even during a stressful event.
Happiness doesn't come naturally, and it's not something that just happens. Happiness must be cultivated in your thought patterns, in your word choices, in your responses to negative experiences, and in your thought life with regards to yourself and others. Cultivating happiness in your own life can set you apart as a leader and an example for those around you. Happiness is worth pursuing.