Do you consider yourself happy? Yes, just like all those annoyingly optimistic people. Have you ever wondered how they do it?
Who argues, life is not a resort, and staying on the bright side is not easy, especially if you just missed the last bus to get to work on time, or you are taking your beloved (and screaming) cat to the vet on duty at half-past one in the night, or suddenly realize that a moment ago someone stole your phone.
“Even when we are experiencing a joyful event like winning the lottery, the level of happiness does not stay at the highest level for long, but rather quickly returns to normal levels,”. For example, the joy of a wedding lasts on average for a couple of years, and a new job evokes positive emotions for about a year. The short-term euphoria is explained by “hedonic adaptation” – a tendency inherent in a person to stay in a stable state and return to it after experiencing a severe positive or negative event. “
Hedonic adaptation is evolutionarily trained to reduce the affective impact of emotional upheavals. This is our “psychological immunity,” a protective function of consciousness that protects from too strong an effect – in a similar way, the work of the sweat glands protects from overheating.
Scientists also refer to this phenomenon as the “hedonic treadmill theory,” comparing the pursuit of contentment to running on a machine. Each of us has a “happiness checkpoint” and must keep moving to stay close to it – this skill can and should be trained, by the way.
How exactly? Sincerely welcoming positive emotions, striving for self-realization without fear of possible sadness, anxiety, or anger, and regularly making sure that you are happy with how you fit into this beautiful world is not bad.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself from time to time to adjust your level of happiness according to your inner urge.
What worries me, and how can I get rid of it?
Learn to forgive yourself and others – events cannot be reversed, even if not everything turned out as you expected. Do not waste your inner energy on meaningless worries about the past; time heals any negativity. Take a deep breath, exhale, repeat several times – and let go of the situation, forever leaving in the past.
What am I constantly putting off, and why?
Are you familiar with procrastination? Well, that doesn’t mean forever either. Go back to your unfinished email right now, call your mom back, plant the flowers on the balcony, or clean the bathtub. And remember, you will feel better the moment the job is done.
Did I get enough sleep?
Try a sleepy detox: give up coffee during the day, turn off the lights no later than 23.00, leave your smartphone outside the bedroom – and so for at least a week. This is divine, although the everyday routine inexorably stifles good intentions. However, do your best to practice good sleep patterns and hygiene, which is guaranteed to increase your happiness levels.
What did I try for the first time recently?
Look for happiness in your desires and believe that they are realizable. Have you dreamed of trying your hand at design or mastering a potter’s wheel for a long time? Dare, why postpone! Sign up for a dance studio, sign up for a marketing course, or start with dinner at that Vietnamese restaurant that your colleagues are praising.
For what am I grateful to fate, and how can I express it?
Appreciate the good, celebrate what you are used to taking for granted, and do not skimp on feelings and emotions. Joy, excitement, thrill, surprise – show genuine feelings about experiences and accomplishments, no matter how large.
When was the last time I did something for myself?
It’s nice to devote yourself to others, but it is equally important to be alone with yourself sometimes, to reflect, to pamper yourself with something pleasant. Set aside time in your schedule to hang out at the spa, go to the exhibition, read in the park – and don’t look for reasons to delay.
How can I simplify my life?
Multitasking is certainly a valuable skill, but do you need to exercise it right now? If you don’t need to, focus on one specific task. Do not complicate your work and everyday life; learn to value personal time – live not for the sake of the word “must,” but for pleasure.