We as human beings require certain things from life in order to be, yes I’ll say it; happy.
I need to pause here for a sec and explain the word ‘happy.’ For some reason the word gets a ‘that’s delusional’ bad rap response. For example, “Oh happiness is just an illusion.” “What does happy really mean?” “Don’t you mean joy or flow, or some other woo woo name?”
Nope, I mean happy.
We have chemicals in our brain called Serotonin, dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphins that are our happy hormones that promote positive feelings like pleasure, happiness, and love.
Hormones and neurotransmitters are involved in lots of essential processes, like heart rate and digestion, but also our mood and feelings. They are the body’s chemical messengers, and some of them are known for their ability to help people bond, feel joy, and experience pleasure.
Our happy hormones fire up whenever we feel good. However, in order to break through to ‘happy’ we first need to satisfy our most basic needs, food, water, shelter, and security.
Basically, our emotions and feelings are trying to keep us safe. And those emotions are triggered through fear, anger, disgust and sadness.
It’s great that these emotions and feelings can protect us, and yet we’re also no longer hunting sabre tooth tigers. And their lies the challenge, our brain didn’t get the memo despite the billions of years we’ve had to adjust.
That sabre tooth tiger has been replaced with our own fears and insecurities around having and keeping a job, not losing relationships that are important to us, making sure we have shelter, and not in harm’s way. If we’re not aware of this, our nervous system tries to keep us on high alert.
So, the idea of being happy seems like a tough slog.
One way we can seek happiness is to explore where we are this very minute, and ask ourselves; “Am I safe?” Take a deep breath, look around and see if at this very moment you’re, ok.
Happiness stems from what we do in the moment. And it’s not easy for us. We’re always anticipating something, and it’s typically not the ice cream truck.
I ask you to consider where you’re at.
Right now, I’m writing this post. I’m content and pleased that I’m able to put fingers to keyboard and express myself. Am I happy? Yes, right now I can say that I’m happy. Especially as I’m writing about this very topic. Will I be happy 2 minutes from now? I have no idea.
The point being, by worrying, it causes unnecessary stress. Worrying brings on the emotions and feelings of fear, anger, disgust, or sadness, which only get in the way of our potential happiness.
By being in the moment, it allows us to stay grounded in the feeling that we’re ok. It’s the idea and practice of choosing to be happy rather than wanting to be happy.
It’s not enough to “wish that I’d be happy if …” There is no contingency in the moment. There is no “if I do this, then I’ll ….”
The point is that our lives are made up of the here and now.
Sure, we plan, and set goals and create what we want to see and have in our lives, however those are all based on things unfolding and going to plan. What if they don’t transpire despite all efforts? Are you going to crumble? No. I sure hope not.
The idea is to rely on the moment that you have now. And then the moment you have after that, and so on, and so on.
Those moments make up our lives.
You may be reading this and thinking, “no guff Amy, this is life 101.” I get it. And yet, why then is it so difficult for us to live our lives in the moment? In fact, there are many reasons preventing us from doing so. Mostly because we’ve been conditioned to anticipate, expect, schedule our lives for happiness rather than leading by happiness.
And that’s the secret. We have the opportunity to decide whether to be happy, and that, is in the moments.