Monday, September 28, 2015

How to Make Happiness Last

Have You Made The Decision 
To Be Happy?

Lasting happiness is a choice. It's YOUR choice. It may seem like lots of things stand in the way of having a life where happiness reins, but it's not true. Stress is the biggest obstacle. It plays a huge role in our moods and emotional state. Read More to learn simple ways to lasting happiness. Read More . . . 

Listen to Podcast of How to Make Happiness Last


 In other words, if you are stressed, you are not happy.  You can argue this point but your physiology is going to tell you, me and everyone around you what’s really going on. When you eliminate stress you totally transform your entire physiology from a negative, depressed, fatigued existence to a joyful, positive abundant enthusiasm for life. 

The bottom line is that stress does a major number on our bodies, our minds and our emotions. When we are in a stressed state, cortisol, the stress hormone, is being released in our bodies along with 1400 other chemicals to help move us through danger. When we experience one stress response after another, after another and another, it does tremendous amount of wear and tear damage to our nervous systems.

When we are stressed, we aren’t happy. We may think we are but that’s because we’ve made the “stressed state” our “normal” way of being. And “normal” is different from our “natural” state of being, which is happiness. When we are stressed we implement a lot of coping behaviors to help us get through whatever is causing us stress, whether we are aware of doing it or not.  We use food, alcohol, sex and even relationships as coping mechanisms or escape tactics.

So let’s have a look at happiness. There are 2 different kinds: the kind that lasts and the kind that doesn’t.  It’s that simple. We’ve all experienced some of both. The kind of happiness that fades usually appears to be good in the beginning but always ends in misery of some sort. The kind of happiness that lasts doesn’t always appear to be pleasurable in the beginning but in the end it always leads to joy.

Fast food is a good example. When we eat fast food it gives us immediate taste pleasure because of the salt, the chemical flavors and the deep fried oils. Yum on the surface, yuck on the inside! We are so happy to have the instant convenience of a meal that’s ready-made in under 5 minutes and feeds our hunger. But it’s not long before we have a stomach ache or feel like we weren’t satisfied or shouldn’t have eaten it at all. We often end up feeling tired, bloated and mentally dull. Any happiness we got from fast food is gone pretty fast.  It’s just instant gratification with no value.

Whereas a home cooked meal involves preparation and time before we can enjoy it. There are a lot of steps between buying the groceries to chopping the vegetables to eating the meal. And the process of making food can often seem like a chore. But in the end we experience greater pleasure that lasts longer. The food tastes better, it satisfies our nutritional needs and doesn’t give us indigestion or leave us wishing we’d made a better choice. And, if we are feeding our kids, we feel good knowing they ate something healthy.

Take a minute right now and find examples in your own life of a time when happiness was short-lived, and what you were doing, eating, drinking, thinking or saying . . .  and another time when happiness lasted.. . . and what you were doing, thinking and saying.

Lasting happiness comes from devotion. And devotion comes from having a discipline.  A discipline means sticking with something we know is good for us even though it might not be a lot of fun. A discipline needs to be done regularly or it won’t yield results. Like brushing your teeth and showering every day. Those are disciplines we started early in life and I’m sure if we ask our moms, they’ll tell us we didn’t always want to brush our teeth or take a shower. But our moms knew that making this discipline part of our daily routine was going to yield happiness that lasted well into our adult lives.

The first step in having happiness that lasts is making a DECISION that you are going to be happy! Then start making choices that add value to your life in all areas. And make that your discipline.

WANT MORE OF HOW TO MAKE HAPPINESS LAST: Check out my radio show and podcast

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