A little while ago I decided to take some time out with the intention of getting back to happiness. I realised that some of the things on my ‘things that make me happy list’ had been neglected. I’d been focusing on so many things at once that I wasn’t able to give them my full attention.
Physical pain is my particular tell tale sign.
Being present with each moment would mean I would notice these things sooner, giving me the opportunity to prevent the pain. My natural impatience means that mindfulness and meditation do not come easily to me. Though I have a renewed commitment now!
How do you know you need to get back to happiness? Examples include:
- Feeling generally anxious with no specific reason
- Disturbed sleep
- Vivid dreams that leave you feeling uneasy
- Lethargy and exhaustion
- Feeling consistently low
So What is Happiness?
My description of happiness is that feeling you have when you are totally in alignment with yourself.
In other words when those things that make you happy are whole and present because you are at peace with your part in making it so.
What I mean is that it doesn’t just happen. A bit like a garden, you need to take the time to tend the soil and add a touch of TLC to make it look beautiful. A quick whizz round with the lawnmower and the occasional sprinkle is not enough.
I invite you to come up with key indicators that when they are present, go towards making you happy; your happy list.
Some of the things that are on mine are:
- having a loving relationship with my husband
- happy children
- having purpose & direction
- a sense of ease and flow with life
- my inner world feels peaceful
Go ahead, write your own.
Deep Dive Into Your Emotions
I decided to look at the physical pain I had been having and what it was telling me. Physical pain is harder to ignore than a general feeling of unhappiness! This took the form of diving into a deeper state of emotional awareness. As suggested by Dr John E Sarno in The Mind Body Prescription, I quietly listened to the pain in my body and felt into what emotions were underlying them.
Whatever your presenting symptom, I invite you to sit with it and ask yourself “what am I feeling?” With each emotion that pops up, name it, and ask the same question until you get to a core emotion. Examples of core emotions are:
Note that stress is not an emotion. Stress is a presenting symptom of an underlying emotion.
Take a few moments to be with that core emotion. It might be uncomfortable, but it won’t get any worse. In fact you will find that meeting it head on quietly and calmly is way less painful than all the avoiding you’ve been doing.
If the emotion relates to a trauma of any kind, or you are clinically depressed, then don’t go there. Seek the services of a specialist. I can recommend some great counsellors and psychodynamic therapists.
Getting back to happy
Once you’ve labelled your core emotion, you’ll start to get a sense of the best way to relieve it. You might need to put some big girl/boy pants on to do what needs doing, but if you can find the courage to ask someone you trust to support you, it will be easier than you think. They will be honoured, and you will feel relieved.
Once I knew what the core emotion was for me, I was able to more easily tap into the right resources. I checked in with some wise friends, I read some personal development books, and I did some processes. Within a really short space of time I feel freer, and more at ease with the flow of life rather than feeling like I’m wading through treacle.
Interestingly, acknowledging the role of emotion is revolutionazing couple therapy. Dr Sue Johnson, founder of Emotionally Focused Therapy says “Forget about learning to argue better or analyse early childhood, instead be open, responsive and attuned to each other’s emotions”.
No-one’s a mind reader though are they. If Dr Johnson is right and you are in a relationship, then becoming aware of your emotions is a must. This is where the practice of mindfulness and meditation comes in.
I have a number of free resources available on my website that you can tap into. I also offer an online Monday morning meditation at 9.30am. I guide you every step of the way, so if you’ve never meditated before, don’t worry. Contact me if you would like the dial in details.
If you haven’t worked with me before, you can arrange a free 40 minute call where we talk about your specific situation and I will provide some guidance.
A Clarity Coaching session will help you get clear about what you want, and create a plan about how you can move forward.
To your happiness,