How to be happy

Today is my first day back after spending two wonderful weeks in Bali with my family. My boys and I love Indonesia and I believe a big reason behind this love is the people. How amazing it is to be surrounded by such a happy, generous and genuinely loving culture. Smiles and laughter came so easily to many of the people we were fortunate enough to meet. People who, on the surface seemed to have very little and worked so hard but still managed a positive outlook. It was a beautiful thing!

It reminded me how easily we can get caught up in the negative.

Now look, the thing is – it’s not entirely our fault. In fact, scientists believe we inherited this neurological artifact from our ancient ancestors who, due to their constant survival mentality, had to always be on the lookout for danger or anything that would put their lives at risk. A beautiful sunset or a good meal was overshadowed by the more pressing needs of safety and shelter. So, unfortunately we still carry this tendency within our nervous system. This means it often inhibits our ability to see the good in a situation, even when it’s right in front of us.

So it’s difficult I get it! Not only are we faced with day to day stresses, it seems we are almost pre-programmed to often look towards the negative. Why is this not a good thing? Well as you probably know, negative energy can be contagious and pollute the internal dialogue with fear, anger, and other dense mental states. While we can’t avoid all negativity, being consciously aware of refocusing our attention away from the negative and toward the good can have a powerful effect on our internal dialogue. It not’s easy but many believe it is something we can train our brains to do. So this week at least, be aware of the negative thoughts and where possible, stamp them down.

If you are interested in looking more closely into this subject and you have a spare 12.46 minutes, check out this inspiring Ted Talk, Robert Waldinger – What makes a good life? Lessons from the longest study on happiness https://www.ted.com/talks/robert_waldinger_what_makes_a_good_life_lessons_from_the_longest_study_on_happiness

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