Very small changes can have a very big effect on your emotional outlook.
There’s a lot to be said for being happy. It makes you better at your job, healthier, likelier to have good relationships, and can even extend your life. Plus, if you’ve tried both being happy and unhappy, then you already know being happy is much more fun.
Knowing that happiness is good for you won’t make you happier, of course. If you’re unhappy to begin with, thinking that you’re missing out on all the benefits of happiness can just make you feel worse.
There are times in our lives when it’s normal to feel sadness, and we shouldn’t try to talk ourselves out of it. If you’ve just lost a loved one, are going through a breakup, have lost your job, or have suffered another adverse life event, feeling sad is healthy and natural. Conversely, if you’ve been unhappy for a long time and don’t know why, or you think you may be battling depression, it’s smart to seek out a professional therapist or counselor to help you sort things out.
But for many of us, happiness is a habit that we can cultivate. That’s because, thanks to evolution, the human brain is designed to pay more attention to negative thoughts and stimuli than positive ones. It’s worth learning how to pay more attention to the positive thoughts in our brains and stimuli in our lives because our natural tendency is to downplay them. That makes us unhappier than we should be.
In a thought-provoking post on the Psychology Today website, Tchiki Davis, PhD, a consultant and expert on happiness technology, offers several simple techniques that will get you thinking positive and increase your general happiness. You can find the full list here. These are some of my favorites: