Patterns and conditioning are major influencers on our happiness. Conditioning or a pattern is a learnt response to a specific trigger.
Research suggests that as much as 95% of what we do occurs on autopilot. Most of the time we act in an unconscious, habitual way.
One antidote to this, of course, is mindfulness. This means intentionally paying attention to the present moment, non-judgmentally. This is John Kabat-Zin's working definition. As you nurture your own mindfulness you can embrace a definition that resonates with you.
Simultaneously, we can use this subconscious wiring to our advantage. With the light of awareness, we can shine away negative patterns and replace them with new positive ones.
Here are some reflections to get you started:
What things keep repeating themselves (patterns) in your life?
The usual suspects here are: how you behave in relationships, how you handle major life changes, how you respond to stressful events/period, how you behave among new people, etc.
On a more mundane level: habitual food choices, habitual responses to everyday questions like "How are you? How's life?", habitual leisure activities, etc.
Why do they keep repeating themselves, and how could you change it?
This is one for you to explore but to get you started here are a few suggestions ...
"Because I am not aware as they happen." "Because, that's who I am." "Because I've always responded that way."
Next, ask yourself...
What are some of the triggers that create a negative emotional response in you?
Look for specific words, phrases, body language, foods, actions, people, environments, smells, your own moods, situations.
Now you have identified some of the patterns that may be undermining your happiness.
The next step is to:
Make a list of at least 5 things you can do or think at any moment to give yourself a joy boost.
I'll give you 5 only to challenge you to think of 5 more so that you have an arsenal of 10.
1. Smile: You can smile to yourself but it is better to smile to another. That way you both enjoy the positive physical and emotional reactions triggered by a smile.
2. Say or think: "Now is the only time in which I experience life, so I chose to be happy now."
3. Do a random act of kindness: Hold the door for a colleague, make a genuine compliment to someone you admire, etc.
4. Be grateful: Write down at least 3 things that you are grateful for in your life.
5. Take a few breaths with attention: Stop for a moment and observe your in- and out-breaths for a few cycles. Notice how calmness and joy begin caressing your whole being as you rest your mind on your breath.
Finally, explore the following categories and determine which of items in each trigger positive emotions for you: songs, places, people, memories, videos, activities.
Now you can do an audit and identify some of the usual suspects - patterns sabotaging your happiness. You can also, give yourself a happiness boost wherever you are with your own joy triggers. Additionally, you can prioritise time devoted to people or activities that naturally bring positive emotions to you.
The value of happiness
Happiness influencers: Desires
Happiness influencers: Beliefs
Happiness influencers: Identity (roles)
Happiness influencers: Time
Please share your thoughts in the comments section.
Martin S Petkov helps people master their super power - mind, body, and heart in balance and alignment. This naturally brings more happiness, health, and harmony into their lives.
He uses the Japanese system for relaxation and gentle transformation Reiki. It facilitates growth and healing by naturally harmonising and strengthening mind and body on a deep level. Martin also offers courses dedicated to happiness or life purpose.
Martin Stefanov Petkov