Have you ever wondered how to be a happier person? I certainly have! Over the years, I noticed a very common pattern within myself, my clients and my loved ones. Human beings tend to have intense outbursts of happiness but they don’t seem to be able to carry joy, peace and contentment through their days. It is short-lived as our rational brain and survival patterns kick back in after a couple of days. Suddenly, joy, peace and contentment let place to fear, doubt and worry.
Have you noticed that too? Not only to feel happy more often but also to be able to make it last?
In this blog post, we’ll look into the truth about happiness, common patterns that make it hard for change makers to be more joyful and concrete examples to be happier.
Why is it difficult to be happy?
Our brains are wired for survival. We are programmed to pay attention to risks and dangerous situations to survive, so we constantly over focus on them to avoid any life threatening situations. It’s great and super important for us. However, it also keeps us from noticing what is going well and taking risks to be happier.
Society has shaped us to always want more, so we keep on running after money, stuff, and success. We believe we never have enough, we never are enough, so each time we hit a goal or a milestone, instead of feeling contentment, we set another goal. We never let pleasure in.
What’s keeping you from being happy?
As I explained, our brains are wired to be ultra-cautious and negative. However, as you probably know, joyful moments happen and we experience blasts of happiness more or less regularly.
Unfortunately, these bursts of joy are often too short-lived or too infrequent. Here are five common patterns that I have noticed keep changemakers from being happier:
1) Being constantly busy
Some changemakers tend to keep busy all the time, overachieving and not slowing down. This is a trick of the mind to distract them from deeper issues and discomfort that arise when they stay still. If you want to learn more about why you can’t slow down, you may read this past blog post.
When activists feel unworthy, they need to prove to themselves and the world that they are worthy. Thus, they keep on chasing goals and fighting full-time.
Feeling anxious, whether it’s for the planet, humanity, or your own condition, keeps you from experiencing true joy and sustaining it. While you might feel happy for a short time, you are addicted to anxiety that becomes your emotional baseline.
4) Over Responsibility to change the world
I have witnessed many changemakers (some clients of mine) carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. No matter how happy they are in their personal lives, no matter how many activist goals they achieve, or how many sustainable living shifts they make, they never feel like they do enough. They worry about the future of the world and feel responsible if it goes south.
Some changemakers feel guilty for being joyful when the world goes mad. Thus, they sabotage their own pleasure over what is wrong.
As mentioned, the above are only a few examples of patterns that can hinder happiness. There are many more inner obstacles to overcome. I’d say that there are as many as there are conscious human beings. Later in this blog post, I’ll share with you a way to dive deeper and find your own truth.
Meanwhile, here are a few tools that I offer my clients and my peeps on IG to bring more joy into their lives.
How to be a happier person? A few tools to help!
To cultivate joy in your life, try practicing gratitude, celebrating yourself, keeping a joy journal, catching negative thoughts, and tuning into your emotions. It’s important to take care of yourself and find happiness within, especially if you want to make a positive impact on the world.
Your brain is wired to focus on the negative, but you can train it to see the positive by practicing daily gratitude. Take a few moments each morning or night to name three things you’re grateful for. Celebrating yourself and keeping a joy journal can also boost your happiness.
If you’re feeling low, try catching the negative thoughts that are running through your mind. Write them down and ask yourself if they’re really true.
Then, focus on tapping into your internal sources of joy. You can generate happiness from within.
Finally, you may reflect on what brings you happiness and keep a journal to track those moments.
With practice, you can train your brain to focus on the positive and cultivate a more joyful outlook. If you want to learn more about each of this pratices, I invite you read my blog post : how to add joy into your life.
The truth on how to be a happier…
Quick practices and quick fixes won’t be a sustainable solution if you’d like to be a happier person. Indeed, we all say that we want to be happy but we are not ready to let go of what keeps us stuck in an alternative state. We believe that happiness will just appear in our lives and remain there forever. But it could not be further from the truth.
Happiness is a choice and we gotta be brave enough to make it!
You’ll have to work towards happiness. You’ll have to fight to not going back to what’s familiar: hustle, stress, running after the next thing and shutting your heart. The path to happiness is pleasurable but hard as you’ll face some wounds and gaps between your present self and your desired state of being. It’s a daily conscious choice to focus on happiness.
It takes emotional risks, lovingly push back the thoughts that hurt, breathing into new uncomfortable sensations, leading from your heart (not your brain) and uncovering unconscious beliefs about yourself and the world.
Sometimes it hits hard. It takes an incredible amount of strength to go this deep but it’s incredibly rewarding. You should already be proud of you for being willing to become a happier person and reading this blog post until the end… By taking action on what I have shared here, not only will you radically upgrade your life, but you will also become a better activist.
Wanna go further?
Would you like me to support you in the process of uncovering what keeps you stuck in places you do not enjoy and bringing more happiness into your life? Learn more about my work as a life coach for changemakers or join my email community here.
Blog post by Marine Leclerc, founder of Attitude Organic