Unhappiness, whether learned in childhood or adopted over the course of a lifetime, is a mindset. It’s a mindset with a few distinct characteristics and beliefs that people who are unhappy insist on:
- Their go-to belief is that life is miserable and hard.
- They think most people can’t be trusted.
- They concentrate on what’s wrong instead of what’s right.
- They constantly compare themselves to other people and then feel all kinds of jealous.
- They try to control life (hint: we were never in control and will never be in control. That makes it fun.)
- They worry about and fear the future.
- They misuse their words through gossip and complaining, both to other people and to themselves.
I think we can all relate to parts of that list at one time or another. But the trick is pulling ourselves out of those negative thought patterns as quickly as possible once they start. Being strong, happy, stable, and successful isn’t about never falling down. We’re human. Being down some times is part of our beautiful, fragile, finite human experience.
Instead, strength, happiness, stability and success come from how fast we can pull ourselves back up once we do fall down, because it’s going to happen. That’s just part of the game.
Our ability to bounce back is our resiliency. Happy people tend to have more of it than unhappy people. It’s just a fact.
And resiliency can be strengthened like a muscle. The more it’s used, the stronger it gets.
So, how do we do it?
Ah ha! Therein lies the answer to today’s puzzle.
What is one thing unhappy people refuse to do?
Live. In. The. Present.
Practicing mindfulness, or staying grounded in the present moment, is what works to keep us positive about life.
We can think back and remember times when we felt embarrassed or ashamed, and those memories might darken our mood for the entire day. Or, we can think ahead, consuming ourselves with worry about the future, and create so much anxiety we ruin our entire day, or week, or month, or year.
But what if we caught ourselves and asked this question instead, Is there anything wrong right now?
Nope. Probably not. Nothing wrong right now. Lots that went wrong in the past, lots that could go wrong in the future, but in the present moment I am sitting in a comfortable chair with an orange tabby cat purring on my lap and life is pretty darn good.
Live in the present = be happy. It sounds so easy, but sometimes it can feel so hard.
Happiness, joy, hope, peace, and love live in the here and now.
Letting go of the past (it’s done), and not worrying about the future (you got this! it will be amazing!) keep us grounded in the present–where everything is okay (purring kitty on lap).
Practice embracing life with hopefulness, curiosity, and the sense of optimism happiness requires. Workout your resiliency until it ripples.
What are you going to do to stay happy today?