Right now, in this moment, are you happy?

 In Better Life, Focusing on the positive

Right now, in this moment, are you happy? Here’s an interesting concept –

Happiness only happens in the present moment.

And our ability to be happy right now is influenced by our current thought.

If we buy something, let’s say a new car, we may think it will bring us more happiness, but that’s only true when we’re thinking about it. If we’re driving our fabulous new car but focused on a frustrating conversation we had, it’s not adding to our happiness in that moment. 

I’ve been experimenting with this fascinating idea this past week. For example, I love to go for walks. But my ability to enjoy my walk can be ruined if I spend that time focused on something I’m worried about or something that’s made me upset. On the other hand, if moment by moment I’m noticing the scenery, enjoying being outside, or even thinking about something that I like, my happiness level is much higher.

Your brain is a lot like your other organs. Just like your heart, lungs, and liver, it functions without any input from you. You don’t need to tell it to think. It’s constantly churning out thought after thought. There are estimates suggesting we have anywhere from 20,000 to 80,000 conscious thoughts per day. But similar to your lungs, where you can control your breath, slowing it down, making it deeper, or even holding it, you can also control your thoughts. It may not always be easy, and it requires attention and effort.

If you leave your brain to its default mode, it will likely spend most of its time thinking about problems, worries, past dramas, and things you don’t like. Although this is an important part of our survival instinct, if you want to be happy in this moment, you may need to intentionally choose a thought that makes you feel good.

This week, use a trigger that will help you notice your current thought so you can decide if you want to change it. You can –

  • Set alarms on your device reminding you to tune into your thoughts, 
  • Create a password that will remind you, 
  • Use a common activity as a reminder (such as every time you open the refrigerator door . . . )
  • Use a visual reminder such as a note on your mirror, stop signs, etc.
  • Use a physical reminder such as a piece of jewelry or a coin or stone in your pocket
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