Happiness is a skill

A couple months ago, a co-worker asked me to do some digging and find some info on mindfulness, meditation, and brain development in children. Well, that lead me to a well-known professor who does a lot of work in this area, and I watched a video of one of his interviews.  In it, he talks about how happiness is a skill, which is a thought that’s stuck with me ever since.

I think we’re a society (or at least a generation) that’s quick to find the negative aspects of our day or our life. Obviously this is a general statement – some people are incredibly positive. The main point here, is why? Why do we default to the negative?

This picture has stuck with me since first seeing it.  It's a great way to remember how much we're in control of our own happiness and perspective.  Simply turn around and look at the other side of things - find the better side.

This picture has stuck with me since first seeing it. It’s a great way to remember how much we’re in control of our own happiness and perspective. Simply turn around and look at the other side of things – find the better side.

When you start to think of happiness as a skill, it changes your perspective a bit. Or at least it did for me. Just like any other skill, you have to practice it. You have to make the decision to make it a priority and work at it.

Prep is a struggle, mostly a mental battle.  It’s incredibly easy to get down on yourself, to pick apart your physique and find fault with pretty much everything, to see the negatives. Not being ready in time, feeling exhausted and hungry – it’s easy to point these things out. This prep I set out to be as different as possible in this regard – where does that thinking get me?

Here’s the thing, getting frustrated, stressed, or upset about something never solves the issue. It just makes YOU feel worse. Thoughts spiral out of control quickly, with one negative thing leading to fifteen others. This spikes your cortisol levels, sending your hormones spinning, then suddenly you’re sitting on the floor bawling, scooping peanut butter out of the jar. Wait… no, I woudn’t do that… or did I?

This actually has some truth to it. The other day I read an article that said ingredients in peanut butter impact certain areas of your brain which control emotions.  It truly CAN make you feel better!! One more reason to love it.

This actually has some truth to it. The other day I read an article that said ingredients in peanut butter impact certain areas of your brain which control emotions. It truly CAN make you feel better!! One more reason to love it.

Anyhow, I made the DECISION to practice being happy and halting the negative train wreck in my head. How? By truly stopping. I stop whatever I’m doing, I stop the thought, and I take a few deep breaths. I’ll distract myself with a different thought – either something totally unrelated, or putting a positive spin on the crappy thought.

Overall, life is pretty great and I can’t complain.  Learning to appreciate everything and truly practicing being happy (and allowing yourself to be happy) can do some pretty amazing things for you mentally and physically. Suddenly, it’s easier to see the good things and you don’t automatically default to the negative.

happiness

Remember – you are the one responsible for your happiness. If someone is making it hard for you to be happy, really evaluate if you need them in your life – a tough decision to make, but important if it’s hindering you in any way. I always think, if I’m letting someone make me feel bad, they’ve won. And I like winning too much to allow that to happen 😉

Do something that makes you happy this weekend!!

 

About Ashleigh

I'm passionate about health and fitness. I work as a Health Promotion Specialist, a group fitness instructor, and also a coach for physique competitors / weight loss clients. I grew up as a competitive athlete, and have continued with this passion as a Women's Physique competitor. Research and writing is another interest of mine, which I use to share my knowledge with the general public.
This entry was posted in Competition Prep, Education, Health, Lifestyle, Mental Health, Motivation, Personal, Uncategorized, Wellness and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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