Can Everyone Be Happy?

Habits of happiness

We all want to be happier, but it seems like an impossible mission. The media bombards us with the imperative that those who are not happy have not taken advantage of their lives nor have they known how to take advantage of them.

Achieving happiness is not easy, no matter how much the excessive positivity industry says otherwise. However, this does not mean that it cannot be achieved, although it will clearly require some effort.

Can happiness be trained? This is the question to which we are going to answer below. Find out if it is possible to train yourself to be happier!

Can happiness be trained?

Everyone wants to be happy, obvious. The average citizen aspires to have a full, satisfied and happy life. Not achieving it is interpreted as a failure, a wasted life, an experience not achieved. For this reason there is a true happiness industry based on cheap psychology, self-help books and courses that help lighten the credit card that ensure that it is possible to be happy with their method, whatever it may be. They are right? Can happiness be trained?

Being able to train happiness can, now, the way is not simple or fast Because, in fact, in matters of change, in that search towards full psychological well-being and authentic plenitude, nothing is either easy or quick. You can be happy at the moment, but not permanently because at the end of the day, human beings continue to be roller coasters of emotions. And thank goodness! If this were not the case, it would be difficult for us to adapt adequately to the demands of our environment.

Training ourselves to be happier is going to take its toll. As much as the so-called “happiness industry” wants to convince us that complete happiness is within our reach, this is not the case There is no simple formula to be more cheerful and optimistic, but rather a whole set of strategies and attitudes towards life to change our way of interpreting it and receiving the harsh setbacks that it sometimes gives us.

Our own brain doesn’t make it easy for us either. We are going to say it in a very simplistic but quite explanatory way: our brain cares little if we are happy. In reality, the only thing that matters to him is that we survive and, therefore, he gives more value to fears and those mechanisms that place us in the comfort zone. He focuses more on the negative to avoid it than on the positive to continue doing it, and it is difficult for him to change, even if it is for the better.

However, the fact that the organ where our behavior is based is resistant to change does not mean that it cannot do so. Humans have been making important advances throughout our evolutionary history. changes that have helped us adapt better to complex environments These changes would not have been possible without leaving the comfort zone and daring to live better. This can be extrapolated to psychotherapy, which has shown that changes towards balance and healing are possible, but first it takes the patient’s authentic commitment and active effort to achieve it.

Everyone can be happy

Training ourselves to be happier

There are little things that can give us a little satisfaction. Habits that, although they are not going to bring us complete happiness, help us avoid being exactly at the opposite pole, that is, bitterness, dissatisfaction and torment Some actions such as eating better, being more active, playing sports and other healthy habits can make our mind more optimistic and happy.

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Everything we have discussed can help us be more satisfied with life, but it does not necessarily translate into being happy. In fact, happiness has more to do with the way we face life and value it than what we already have. Of course, not lacking anything will help us not be sad, but if we have serious problems managing the adversities of life, we get stressed easily and we have bad relationships with our social environment, we are not going to be happy.

As the Hungarian-American psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (1934-2021) said, easy recipes do not work to achieve a happy life. Happiness is a path, an individual process where each person must invest efforts being creative and original to see what helps you best. But, although this path to happiness is different for each person, this does not mean that there are not some general guidelines to train our brain to achieve it. Let’s look at a few.

1. Train the mind in realistic positivism

Neuroscience shows that Thoughts are the mere product of brain activity They are the result of the activation of electrical connections. Something similar happens in the opposite direction, with thoughts that can change the way the brain is configured, generating new connections and even molding it.

Thinking negatively repetitively and even obsessively affects our performance. Negativism exhausts our brain, something that has been seen in neuroimaging in the form of less activity in the prefrontal area. The result of this is a difficulty in searching and finding solutions to life’s problems, something that frustrates and stresses us, negative emotions that feed negative thoughts. A cycle of negative and dysfunctional thinking is generated.

If we want to be happy, we have to change this thinking pattern A key to this is to make a conscious and constant effort, trying to have greater control over these types of mental processes. We already warned that it is difficult, that it is difficult, but controlling what we think and stopping looking at life from such a negative perspective is gaining mental health. Every thing we say and think matters.

We must stop negative thoughts and apply realistic positivism. The objective is to reflect on our thinking, be less rigid with what surrounds us and try to see the positive in life. There are things that, no matter how small they may seem to us, can brighten our day in one way or another. Its power is cumulative and if we manage to make it a habit, the day will come when we will be happy by inertia.

2. Set goals regularly

One of the situations in which we can feel the most happiness is when we manage to fulfill a purpose that we have set for ourselves At the brain level, achieving a goal translates into an increase in dopamine and serotonin; our brain is bathed in neurotransmitters that bring us happiness and satisfaction. Not all goals are the same: there are some that are met in the long term, while others can be achieved throughout the day. Depending on how ambitious they are, the greater or lesser satisfaction they give us will be.

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A good way to be happier is precisely to set goals with some regularity, preferably every day. Although advisable, you should also be careful with this type of goals, as they must be affordable, achievable within a period of 24 hours. If we set ourselves too ambitious projects to accomplish every day, there is a good chance that we will not accomplish them and, as a consequence, we will feel disappointed with ourselves, just the opposite of what we want.

Each person must know themselves and be aware of their limits and capabilities, setting goals according to them. This does not mean that our limits and capabilities are immutable, but it does mean that we cannot cover more than what we are currently capable of. If we set daily goals, let them be affordable, easy to achieve or small steps that lead us to a more ambitious long-term goal.

Whatever we want to achieve, let’s set goals. Not doing so, not having goals or objectives in life leaves us suspended in an existential void, an abyss in which we wonder what the value of our lives is and what we are for. Not having anything to do or accomplish can plunge us into nihilistic thoughts which can be a breeding ground for the emergence of not only unhappiness, but also mood disorders such as anxiety and depression.

3. Build self-esteem

As we have mentioned before, you cannot be happy every day. It is one thing for us to consider that our lives are happy in general and quite another for us to be immersed in the most absolute and resounding joy every day. We are humans and we live ups and downs. It is impossible to always maintain that mental, emotional and attitudinal state every moment because in one way or another things are going to happen to us, although it is our responsibility how they affect us.

There is something much more important than being happy: being good with yourself. Lack of self-esteem not only prevents us from being happy, but also negatively affects countless areas that make up our lives. Dissatisfaction with oneself is evident in our studies, work, with family, with friends… we do not see ourselves as capable, we become frustrated with how we are and we do not respond adaptively to life’s adversities.

Within self-esteem are self-respect and self-valuation, fundamental aspects in the life of every person. It is also within it to value the positive things we have achieved and identify the negative ones to overcome or improve them, this being the most important point to take into account to improve self-esteem. If we motivate ourselves to achieve our vital goals and improve what we lack, we will be able to increase our self-esteem and we will be happier.

4. Practice gratitude

The power of gratitude is enormous, which makes it all the more surprising that we forget to give thanks for everything life gives us. Forgetting to be grateful does not allow us to appreciate and value what we have, what we have experienced, what we are. Things that we take for granted like having a house, being able to buy food, or having a job are something that other people really want to have.

This is why it is highly recommended to give thanks to something every night, be grateful for the fact that we have a minimum of 3 important things for our lives This small gesture, this small daily habit can increase our levels of happiness in a matter of a few weeks, making us see how much we have compared to less fortunate people.

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5. Analyze and question complaints

It is said that people who do not complain are happier. Complaining can be exhausting and all it does is make us see things in a more negative light. The ideal is to know how to value all the good things we have in our lives, be grateful for them and not complain so much.

However, sometimes it is inevitable that we complain, either out of habit or because we have not thought to avoid it. If we have missed a complaint, the best thing we can do is analyze it Let’s look at our complaints, see what they are based on and what argument they use to make us see how very unhappy we think we are. How do they make us feel? Let’s make a list of those thoughts and start questioning them.

If we achieve this, every time we miss one of those malicious complaints, we will immediately know how to come up with a counterargument, something that delegitimizes them. And there will come a time when they will not dare to come to light, because one can hardly complain about what one already feels happy about.

6. Let go of resentments

Something fundamental when it comes to being happy is to let go of resentments. Envy, grudges, arguments from the past… The associated emotions hurt us, more than the people we had these bad experiences with did It is certainly something difficult, but if we achieve it we will be happier and it is a step that cannot be missed on our path to training happiness.

7. Be kind to others

Happiness is trained by first training kindness. It costs us nothing to be kind, pleasant and friendly with the people around us, both family and acquaintances we may pass on the street. A few good words help make the planet a better place, do it without expecting anything in return.

Treating others better helps us be happier, while it will be more difficult for others to say something ugly to us If we are good with others, others will be good with us and, therefore, the more difficult it will be for there to be bad friction with our social circle. Less conflict is equivalent to more happiness, which is why you have to train kindness.

8. Mindfulness

A classic when talking about happiness is Mindfulness. While it has its critics, this technique may be helpful to some people. It is nothing more than working to be able to pay attention to the present and prevent our mind from wandering down dark paths, feeding very negative thoughts, memories and hypothetical scenarios. Internal dialogue is useful for planning our lives, but when it becomes toxic it traps us in a maelstrom of bad emotions and harmful thoughts.

What Mindfulness aims to do is control the attention of our mind The objective is to be able to tell ourselves “right now I am doing or thinking something that doesn’t feel good to me”, stop paying attention to it and focus it on something more positive such as the landscape, a painting in the room, the music we are listening to or the friction of clothes with our skin.

Conclusion

As we have seen, happiness can be trained, but it is not a simple or quick process. It is a mixture of good attitudes towards life, investing effort and knowing yourself, as well as respecting yourself and valuing what you already have. It is also the ability to set realistic goals and achieve them that brings us closer to happiness, both by feeling that one gives value to one’s life and by achieving these goals and feeling the boost of dopamine and serotonin that their achievement brings.