Happy. Hap-py...the state of being "...happy."Can we break this down?! Do me a favor. Read this paragraph to the end and then follow the instructions for the biggest life hack.
Sit down. Close your eyes. Take one, deep breath in through your nose, and purse your lips and slowly funnel your breath out. Come into your body. Feel your seat, your hands' weight on your lap, feel your shoulders relax, your skin soften. Feel your chest rise and fall with your breathing. Now, recall a moment, event, time when you were happy. Picture what you were doing, what you looked like. Are you smiling, laughing? Are you comfortable in your body? What does it feel like to be in your body? What is your experience of being? Extract some words to describe this state of being.
Let's collaborate. Some words that come to my mind when I recall a "happy" moment: pleasure, contentment, joy, connection, silliness, comfort, spaciousness. A perceived sense of "safe," relaxed. And you just created it. OK, you might be thinking, so?! How exactly am I going to just be happy all the time?
Because it isn't outside of you. And it isn't some other time. It's every. Damn. Moment's. Observation. And choice. How are you being? What is the state of your being - confused, exhausted, irritated, lost? When we consciously or subconsciously create a state of being, our lived experience will match our state. Ever lost your keys in a rush to get out of the house? In a state of urgency, frustration, confusion, and fog, we feel stress. We clench our jaw, our heart races, our palms sweat. We think, "how could I do this again?! I'm such an ass. Of course this would happen to me right when I need to get out the door." Think the experience will ease into you finding your keys swiftly? No. Your memory and creative thinking is blocked as your body experiences stress, your thoughts continue to prove your reality "right," and your state of being persists.
Fortunately, keys are a physical piece of metal. Maybe you have your colorful lama keychain from traveling to Peru last fall on it, and you found its bright color cue sooner. Either way, it's a physical item that has to turn up somehow, will likely turn up for you. In response, your neurons may fire a new thought pattern, your nerves relax, and you live into a new story or state of being.
The problem is, this ingenious feedback loop is one in a million options in any single second. Ones that are invisible to the subject, despite being lived ferociously. It's invisible because we don't see the pieces anymore. Perhaps at one time there was a physical piece, say, a partner lying to us and an experience of hurt in a relationship. If you created some meaning around that circumstance and believed it, even that once, you may be in trouble. Think: "my partner lied to me. No one is trustworthy."
Now, that feedback loop uses your current partner or potential love interest to prove the state of being "distrust" in a relationship, which was once experienced but is still firing as a current experience. The memory becomes a possibility, which becomes reality, when we experience any parts of this feedback loop. If you're in a relationship, and a partner forgets to tell you that they're busy and can't answer their phone, you may experience a heightened state of stress which may trigger this feedback loop swifter than you can control. Because if that shit is still firing, and all we have is the experience of this moment, then of course you're going to experience it. Feel it. Believe it. And, see the evidence that it's "true."
How do we overcome this? Ninja that $%&!. Intercept the familiar programming that ingeniously keeps you humming along, because, hey, your brain has to summarize, simplify, memorize, and replay for it to focus on whatever new things happen. It manages survival how it knows best, using backup data to run the experience, and you have the opportunity, the choice, to add more data. Focus your mind and attention on what you want.
I'm here to tell you, if there's a single moment in your life, a particular area of life you are unfulfilled with, use these strategies to create new neural pathways. Your subconscious - a myriad of these neural pathways and programs that run your experience are 95% of your brain activity. You heard me. Ninety-five percent of your brain and experience is generated in a non-conscious matter. If we create new programs with the 5% of your conscious brain to be content, abundant, curious, creative, ecstatic, then we can set the groundwork for our subconscious brain to tell us how we experience the world. Take these tips and use them. Every. Day. Don't wait. And know that results will come with frequent and daily practice.
Your access, your keys:
1) STOP. Take a moment to reflect. If a moment isn't producing the "happy" feelings, what are you actually feeling? What does your body feel like? What are the quality of your thoughts? Racing, scattered. What are you needing?
2) Change. Do something completely different. Take a walk in a direction you haven't taken. Listen to music and shake like crazy. Clap your hands and skip around the house. If it's something bigger, like your relationship, take a completely different approach in how you
3) Journal. If you're having a difficult time making progress, or struggling with negative thoughts, write them down. Then, ask yourself, "is it true?" "Can I know with 100% certainty if it's true?" "How do I feel when I have this thought?" "How would I treat other people when I'm having this thought?" And, finally, "Who would I be if I wasn't having this thought, couldn't have this thought?"
4) Make Art. I don't care if you suck at doodling, or painting. Get a piece of paper out and color it, fold it, cut it into small pieces and arrange them into an abstract or literal object that represents art. This will switch on your right hemisphere in your brain and allow for more creative thinking and open experiencing.
5) Breathe. Intentional breathing can alter your experience in seconds. My favorite is intense, but powerfully changes your state of being, flooding your brain with oxygen immediately. Breathe in very fast and hard through your mouth with pursed lips, and blow it out with the same velocity like you're blowing hard on a fire. And again. And again. Until....you aren't having the same thoughts you were.
6) Talk to yourself. Tell yourself new thoughts. Repeat them over and over. Pick one early in the day and write it out. Practice saying it over and over. Think: "I have everything I need today to take care of myself." Or, "I make a living doing work that I love."
7) Choose. With a bit of practice in our first tip, if you can notice or recognize how you're being, and you can choose a new state. Hell, if you can't even do the first step but practice frequently saying to yourself or out loud, "I'm going to be excited." Or, "I'm going to feel and be generous." This alone, stated or chosen over and over again, will be heard by your subconscious. And your subconscious - 95% of your brain activity (!) will run the show.
You have the power to rewire your brain. You have the choice to create the life of your dreams. Yes, it may take time. But any effort isn't wasted. The more you can practice and intercept your familiar patterns, the neural pathways that have been firing for you for decades, the easier it will get to have choice.