Why happiness is like sleep

If you follow my advice in an earlier post you will be writing a gratitude diary. By looking for anything positive outside of yourself - in others and in your environment your mindset will change for the better.

Many people say they just want to be happy and they search for 'happiness'.
Happiness is a little like sleep.
You may crave sleep, you may feel deprived of sleep, you do all you can to get sleep you make the environment suitable, you prepare your mind and your body for sleep but when sleep comes you are not aware you are experiencing it. When you wake, however, and have had a restful night you know this and you feel refreshed.

Seeking happiness as an entity in itself just won't work, there are certain factors which must be in place for happiness to happen. According to leading psychologist Martin Seligman, in order to be happy you need a mixture of three elements:

- Be happy about the past
Nurture positive emotions associated with the past. Look for these emotions in your memories - satisfaction, contentment, pride, serenity.
If this is hard for you, with timeline therapy, EFT, NLP and Hypnosis negative emotions can be released from painful memories, phobias and trauma and you can be shown how to add positive emotions in other areas.

- Be happy about the future
Create compelling goals for your future.
Nurture positive emotions of optimism, hope, confidence, trust and faith.
As for your past memories, events in your future can be seen as 'future memories' and treated in the same way.

- Be happy about the present
In the present happiness comes in two ways: pleasures and gratifications

Pleasures - things that give short bursts of pleasure like buying a treat, eating chocolate
They can be bodily and are momentary, sensory, subjective 'scrumptious'
Or they can be higher, more complex and learned but still momentary - offering bliss, thrills, excitement, fun, comfort and relaxation.

Now, these should be savoured as the pleasures are not long lasting and cannot be relied upon, or the temporary burst of pleasure will be sought over and over again with diminishing returns of pleasure. This spiral of behaviour can become compulsive, produce cravings and withdrawal symptoms, leading to addictive behaviour in anything from watching TV, browsing the internet, to shopping, eating, smoking, drug taking, gambling and even exercising. Addiction and all compulsive behaviours begin when certain emotional needs are not being met and can be 'busted' given the right help.

Gratifications - achieved through activities rather than feelings: rock climbing, reading, dance, good conversation.
Gratifications are activities that are absorbing., your self-consciousness id blocked and you actually feel no emotion while you are engaged in the activity, time flies by.
This state is called 'flow'.
Looking back at the activity you may think, 'Wow!' and feel positive emotions as you reflect on what you have done, while using and developing your personal strengths and resources.

Using your strengths in your life and work, recrafting your roles in both if necessary; ideally in the service of something larger than yourself and savouring the positive feelings from pleasures is how you can derive abundant gratification and authentic happiness.


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