There has been something weighing heavy on my heart the past few days so, I figured I should write it out. If you're like me, you regularly come across inspirational quotes and literature stating that happiness isn't something that can be acquired, but is simply a frame of mind or a decision. One of the more common quotes by Abe Lincoln states just that, "Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be". While I absolutely agree with this, I also feel a bit guilty for being one of those people who posts these things on social media, making it seem like being happy is so simplistic.
When I read these motivational quotes, depending on my mood, it can either help me immediately snap out of a rut or it just pisses me off. Some people require a little more than a change of tune or getting up on the "right" side of the bed. As a highly sensitive person, this is something I've dealt with my whole life. Since I was a small child, if I was experiencing internal hardship, which usually resulted in my acting out or falling into a slump, people would frequently tell me to essentially get over it or, my least favorite, "this too shall pass". This coffee cup advice seemed to work for so many people that I began to think that I was a defected human because I just couldn't shake it that easily.
Sometimes, if we are experiencing an imbalance, it isn't so easy to just snap our fingers and get happy because there is a correction that needs to be made. While this imbalance can inconveniently get in the way, it is wise to shift your perspective and be so grateful for it because it's your body's way of saying, "there is an area of neglect"! If we avoid this area or dumb it with a vice, it can manifest into a lot of mental and physical burdens, ten times its multitude. While it isn't always easy to get to the land of happy, it is SO important to point out that it is possible to get there and rise above!
During my 6-month program, my clients and I focus on goals. One of the most common things discussed is their goal to achieve a state of well-being, peace, and happiness. It's always a difficult subject, only because there are so many components to this weighted issue. Happiness is a product that has to be broken down into the many actions that we identify this feeling/ emotion with. Perspective is absolutely everything because while newlyweds think financial freedom brings "happiness" and think they will acquire joy by way of money, the single entrepreneur who is sitting on a large sum of money and has a comfortable cash flow thinks they could achieve happiness, if only they could get married. The interesting part of all of this is that through many studies, one Deepak Chopra performed, it has been proven that the amount of money someone acquires does not improve long-term happiness. The only time money does affect long-term happiness is when you worry about not having enough of it, which then reduces your state of well-being.
Touching on this point a little deeper, while being goal-oriented is invaluable, there are some people who are constantly focusing on their horizon/ future. "When I reach this level of success, I'll be happy." I think big picture goals are great, but if you don't make note of daily and weekly accomplishments and celebrate the mile-markers, you are selling yourself short. By the time you get to your end goal, or "destination", you won't get to reap the oh-so-nourishing sense of achievement because being a "future seeker" means you will already have your sites set on that new horizon. Being in the present will allow you to see your success and enjoy it. Staring at the horizon means you will keep going and finally stop once you've "arrived"... when you're dead.
I recently listened to an amazing lecture Deepak Chopra gave about something called the Happiness Formula. I found this extremely interesting and probably the soundest self-help I've come across. This formula is: H = S + C + V.
"H"- happiness, "S"- set point in brain that depicts if you're happy or not, stemming from how you received loved and were cared for in the first three years of your life, which can be changed with some mindfulness (50%), "C"- economic conditions of living/ how often you think about money (12%), and "V"- voluntary choices you make every day to receive pleasure (38%). Not only does this formula go much deeper in detail, Mr. Chopra has also developed a "well-being test" that is said to be a very solid predictor of what's going to happen in your future. The results are based on the calculated scores in areas of well-being including: social, career, physical, financial, and community.
So, on to rounding about this jumbled mess I've created. For anyone experiencing days of sadness, depression, fear, or, "analysis paralysis", please know and consider that there are things that you can do to alleviate this pain that doesn't come in a prescription bottle. While I am not a doctor and don't aspire to be, I have seen countless founded studies and have personally experienced the outcome of the many actions humans can take to rise above a rut and diagnosed depression.
So, is achieving happiness as easy to receive as simply subscribing to it? Yes and no. I think making a decision to make the necessary steps to obtain happiness is the golden ticket. What steps am I talking about? The ones Deepak Chopra touched on, the "primary foods" that are emphasized throughout the teachings at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition, where I received my certification. Not only has exercise proven to be hugely effective in fighting depression, diet is the ultimate whammy in the world of rebounding from mental and physical ailments, along with meditation, proper sleep, and spirituality/ religion. Supplementation like omega-3's, L-5-MTHF, and SAMe are gaining a lot of popularity and acceptance, even in the medical field, in assisting to help alleviate depression. There are also a handful of amazing authors, specialists, and doctors who have created some lovely soul food in the form of books! Please know that you aren't defected because bumper sticker "words of wisdom" aren't enough for you.
Probably one of the largest factors that influenced my personal journey was learning about the importance of gut health and the major role it plays in your body's ability to cope and create your "happy" hormone, serotonin. "Gut bacteria creates 95% of the body's serotonin." To read more about gut health, Donna Gates is an amazing source of knowledge. Another enlightening condition that can affect your state of well-being full tilt is adrenal fatigue, which can be caused by something as ordinary as excess caffeine, but can result in depression and/or very similar symptoms to depression.
So, in conclusion, if you're trying to acquire happiness, I am a firm believer that you can achieve it because it is already within you. While state of mind IS everything, sometimes, it isn't as easy for everyone. We are all built differently, we all require different levels of self-care, and supplementation. Lifestyle plays a HUGE part and so does being mindful of the way we listen to and nourish our bodies. Please entertain the many holistic ways you can actively work towards tapping into your internal happy. Again, while it isn't always easy, it is within your power.