Sometimes I forget that I’m doing this Happiness Experiment. Hours go by and then suddenly I wake up and remember: Oh right, I promised myself I’d choose happiness!
Back to work I go, and yes, it does feel like work sometimes, I must admit. There’s part me that doesn’t want to make the effort. Happily, the part that made the promise is stronger. Also happily, I’ve found a number of ways to increase my happiness quotient. Last week, I wrote about how thoughts of appreciation and gratitude lifted me out of the bathroom-cleaning funk. If you missed that, it’s HERE.
This week I’ve been using a different strategy: I intend to feel happy, I say to myself. I choose to feel happy. I do! I feel happy, right now….”
And there it is, that delicious, fizziness in the chest, like I’m filled with the very best of imaginary champagnes. There’s the smile. OH, how I love this feeling! I am vibrating with bubbly delight.
I wonder if it works this way for everyone? Can we just say, “I choose to feel happy, right here and now, in this very moment,” and it's like drinking champagne? We feel the fizz and our mood levitates? Does it work for you? Can you just say, “I feel happy,” and there you go, smiling?
I’d like to think it works that way for everyone, but who knows? I’ve been working at this for a few weeks now, perhaps it comes with practice?
For that matter, I’ve been working on this art of deliberate emotional-control for several years. Funny, isn’t it, how we usually think of “emotional control” as the tamping down of our feelings, rather than the deliberate choosing of how we feel? Here’s a story for you:
A few years ago, I got fed up with the anxiety I habitually felt around money and finances. Even though I could manufacture LOTS of good reasons to feel anxious in this area, I knew my life would be much pleasanter if I could foster different feelings. Anxiety didn’t really serve me, it was just a habit I’d picked up from my Mom. It took several years, but I eventually taught myself to feel comfortable, rather than anxious, about that particular area of my life. What a relief! My circumstances hadn’t changed, but I sure felt a lot better without all that self-inflicted stress!
During those years of moving from anxiety to feeling comfortable around money, I backslid a lot. Consequently it comes as no great surprise, now, when I find myself falling off this Happiness wagon. As soon as my attention wanders, the wonderful fizziness of the happiness champagne evaporates. Well, rats-a-frat! Here I am, flat-lining again.
Put the smile back on, I remind myself. Choose to feel happy. Repeat the exercise …. Repeat … Repeat again. This is how to become a happier person, by being happier as often as I can.
How about you? If you tried that business of saying, "I feel happy", let me know how it felt for you. Did it work? Yes/No/Maybe? I'd love hear about your experiences with Deliberate Happiness.
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