For far too many of us, we view happiness as an ellusive emotional state rather than a conscious choice. The positive benefits of inducing and enjoying a happy internal state plays a vital role in maintaining mental health.
As someone who has struggled with mental illness for 2 decades now, I’ve learned how to take control of my internal state and induce happiness and joy on demand. Like anyting else, on our journey to health and healing, exhibiting a happy demeanor takes time and effort. All good things do.
“Happiness is a habit – cultivate it”– Elbert Hubbard
A frequent refrain here on my mental health blog is the concept of radical ownership for things within the realm of our personal control.
I frequently say, “Life isn’t something that’s happneing TO us, it’s something happening THROUGH us.”
The most empowering outlooks and mental states are the ones that increase personal responsibility and accountablity for our personal well-being.
Take Responsibility for Your Happiness
Many of us spend our lives at a happiness deficit because we make the mistake of outsourcing our level of personal happiness to external circumstances. Doing so, leads to toxic relationships and unstable emotional states.
Our level of happiness is fully our responsibility and ours alone.
As hard as it may be to believe, we can be just as happy as we choose to be. Obviously, a bold statement from someone who is bipolar.
In most cases, I begin to experience depression when I get loose with the activities that increase my emotional intelligence and help me maintain my mental health. When I don’t get quality sleep. forget to take my medication, or eat crappy food.
When I take personal responsiblity for the different factors that play a part in coping with and dealing with my mental illness, I give myself a “fighting” chance. I think better, feel better, and take meaningful action.
There’s No Magic Pill
Over the years, I’ve learned that there’s no magic pill that will make me happy all the time. Medication plays just a small role in many other factors that contribute to my personal happiness.
When I sleep well, hydrate, feed my brain healthy fats, get natural vitamin D, take walks, read, and write/journal consistently, I’m happier and healthier if I were to rely solely on medication.
This is what I mean by giving myself a “fighting” chance. It involves taking responsibility for all the areas of my life that I can postively impact my mental health and find happiness.
Most of Us Have it Backwards
Practicing happiness as a habit is an internal game that bleeds into every other area of our lives. A more happier us is the answer to improving external conditions. This is backwards from what most of us do.
Most of us focus on trying to influence the material world outside of ourselves so we can be happy. As long as we view happiness in this way, happiness will remain mystical and ellusive. If we want to experience happiness in greater measure, we must view happiness as a personal choice – A habit.
This is the path to health and healing. It starts with self-awareness and a dedication to taking personal responsibility for things within our sphere of influence. We can’t control others and circumstances, but we can dictate how we interpret and respond to others/our environment.
The key to practicing happiness as a habit, is to take back your power! Reconcile within yourself that you will no longer be a slave to circumstance and give others authority of your happiness.
Take Back Your Power!
Focus on all the areas of your life that rest within arms reach of your personal responsibility. What activities/changes can you make to your current routine that will have a positive impact on yourself, your relationships, and envoronment. Do this in both your personal and professional life.
It has been said that we’re the sum total of the people we spend the most time with. To a large degree, this is probably true (outside of our genetic make-up we inherited from our parents etc.).
You may have to cut certain people out of your life in order to prioritize your mental health and be happy. Continuing to try and control toxic people who have no desire to change is a fools errand. So, make your circle smaller.
Does Your Circle Need To Get Smaller?
Surround youself with people that push you to reach your maximum potential and pull the best out of you. If you want to be happy, befriend happy people, and spend more time in happier environments.
It’s better to have a couple really close friends that prioritize your/their happiness than to have a bunch of fake friends. Obviously, there’s nothing wrong with having acquaintances, just make sure you don’t spend too much time in “swimming” in those circles.
Also, don’t underestimate the power of having a good laugh.
Have a Good Laugh!
“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”-Hebrew proverb
Go to comedy shows, or rewatch your favorite comedies. Make sure to consume good/light hearted content that inspires you.
I personally love the movie Patch Adams starring Robbin Williams. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend that you watch it!
I’m a big fan of entertainment therapy. I use both movies and music as therepeutic mediums to have a postive impact on my mood.
Innertainment: Movie/Music Therapy
I refer to this as innertainment. Rather than, mindlessly consuming media I make conscious choices about what I allow to enter my eyes and ears.
My favorite music platform to listen to music and create playlists is Spotify.
On spotify, I created a “Good Vibes Only” playlist that I listen to each morning and while I’m doing my work througout the day. It helps keep my energy/spirits up.
Let me know in the comments below what your favorite happiness habits are. If you like this kind of content, make sure to subscribe/follow to receive more content like this directly to your inbox.
Don’t Be Shy!
I’d love to hear from you! If you have questions, would just like to say hi, or have a good joke to share, feel free to reach out to me at email@example.com. When time permist, I personally respond to each and every email I receive.
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