“Life is what happens whilst you are busy making other plans” John Lennon
So many of my clients tell me they just want to be happy; and yet think they have to wait to find happiness.
People all over the world put happiness at the top of their list of goals, consistently looking for happiness.
Yet they feel they have to wait, until they lose weight, move, have a baby, find their perfect job. Millions strive for more money, fame, power, beauty; all thinking if only I had x and then I’d be happy.
Yet if they acquire the thing that they think will make them happy, does it really make them happy? They may be happy for a while and then they need something else to make them happy.
Things are not the key to happiness. What makes us happy doesn’t cost money, it involves how we think and act in our day-to-day lives.
A study recently asked children between the ages of 9 and 11 to perform acts of kindness for 4 weeks. It was suggested they spend time with their grandparents, helping at home or helping classmates with their homework. The children who performed these acts said they felt happier and became more popular at school.
A similar study amongst adults asked the adults to do something nice for their colleagues at the office. The recipients of the acts of kindness became happier just as the givers did. In face everyone in the company became kinder and the whole environment improved, fuelled with good feelings and positivity.
At the moment there are so many people stuck waiting for Covid to end to be .. happy, healthy, safe, etc etc
A few of years ago I was asked to work with some women who had low self esteem and confidence issues. They wanted to be able to wear summer clothes, go on the beach and wear a bikini. They wanted to feel good about themselves, they had all been waiting.
1. One had a gastric band and lost 16 stone. Clothed she was happy with how she looked but she was very self conscious of the excess skin that had been left. She felt she would never have a relationship again, as she couldn’t face undressing in front of anyone.
2. A Mum of 4 in her late 30’s; had lost her confidence and did not feel she was attractive anymore. She wore shorts and a t-shirt on the beach and wanted the confidence to wear a bikini.
3. A young mum of 30 who didn’t like her body at all, she was dieting and felt that she couldn’t wear swimwear unless she also had a sarong to cover her up.
4. Another young mum of 27 who also kept shorts and t shirts on; and never went swimming with her family on holiday. She felt she was missing out and the thought of wearing swimwear made her panic.
5. And a young 40 year old who always covered her body feeling very self conscious and wanted to have the confidence to feel good in a bikini. The thought of wearing swimwear scared her and she felt like a freak and just wanted the confidence not to care. Even her boyfriend hadn’t seen her naked.
All of these women felt that they couldn’t go on the beach in swim wear because their bodies didn’t conform to what society expected of them. They had an image in their mind of a skinny model, then looked at themselves in the mirror and felt bad. Felt so bad that a couple of them turned to food to help them feel better. This worked for a while, then afterward they felt worse because of the food they had eaten. Sound familiar?
Our behaviour is the result of how we feel. Love, anger, confidence, fear, apathy, happiness, fascination are all states of mind. We constantly go in and out of these throughout the day, they are all individual and unique to us.
Our state can be described as the total of the neurological processes occurring within our mind at any one time, this leads to the mood we are in. Most of the time our moods are not formed consciously, something happens and we react and our mood at that time is created.
We are bombarded with stimuli throughout the day and all this information is received and processed through our senses. It is then filtered into the thoughts we have. These then create images, words and feelings about the thoughts; internal representations of how we think of the world. They do not represent reality; they are how we imagine things to be.
Our internal representations and physiology are linked in what is known as a cybernetic loop; by changing one you automatically change another.
Building Optimum States:
1. Remember feeling confident (this can be about anything)
2. Remember what you saw, heard and feel when confident. Now imagine any image to be larger, closer, more vibrant, colourful; if there aren’t any sounds what happens when you add them? By changing the visual and auditory representation the feelings are enhanced.
3. When you feel that confidence grow stronger, create an association (squeeze your thumb and middle finger together).
4. Repeat this action at least ten times to reinforce the link. Eventually by squeezing your fingers together you will remember and feel confident.
5. Now whenever you need to feel confident, imagine things going smoothly whilst you squeeze your fingers together.
Each time you complete this exercise you are sending a message to your mind telling it you want to be more confident.
You may be wondering what happened to the women with low self-esteem; at the end of the session, they were part of a photo shot for a newspaper. They were pampered, had their hear and makeup done and were all photo’d wearing swimsuits and bikini’s.