Our internal state is directly correlated with how we age, our health and success in life. Happiness is a relative term and it is unique to a person’s personality, desires and values in life. Unhappiness comes from lack of self-awareness in knowing what you truly want in life and therefore bouncing all over the place living conditions others live because you think living them will make you happy as well. This is the scenario where you compromise or give up your dreams in order to fit in with the majority. The unpleasant surprise you discover afterwards is that you just created responsibility and complications in your life with situations you don’t really want and that will make even more hopeless and depressed.
Unhappiness also comes from you knowing what you want but feeling powerless in getting those life circumstances.
With every negative though we have we’re releasing chemicals into our body constantly changing our cell’s genetic information which will then show up as wrinkled and dull complexions, hollow eyes, illnesses and pains in the body, addictions and poor performance at work.
On the other hand, when we are happy, we look younger because our internal state reverses and erases the usual marks that come with biological age. Our skin glows, is elastic, resilient and tends to repair itself more easily. Because we feel good about ourselves we are full of energy, there’s a sparkle in our eyes, we smile and laugh a lot and look for opportunities to enjoy every moment to the fullest. We tend to make healthier choices for our body, mind and soul, and excel in our careers.
Positive emotions lower blood pressure and cardiovascular disease, undo the effects of stress and make people playful and smart. Happy people are concerned with what makes them joyful, set priorities and get everything they want at the right time through focus, positive expectation and determination.
Passion for what they do in life brings them inner knowledge and generates positive emotions such as enthusiasm, wonder, excitement and joy of living. All of these emotions expand their awareness and thinking abilities, their creativity soars and their mind opens up with curiosity integrating new intellectual abilities.
Harvard positive psychologist Shawn Achor in his book “The happiness advantage” shares his research results: “We found that optimism is the greatest predictor of entrepreneurial success because it allows your brain to perceive more possibilities. Only 25 percent of job success is based upon IQ. Seventy-five percent is about how your brain believes your behavior matters, connects to other people, and manages stress.”(1)
Moreover, contrary to mediocre beliefs that happiness is not in our control, he shows that happiness can be cultivated: “Genes are really important to happiness, but that’s based upon the cult of the average. What that means is that the average person doesn’t fight their genes. So if you’re born with genes for obesity or for pessimism, and you don’t change your behavior then your genes win. Happiness comes easier to some people, but happiness is a possibility for all if we change our behavior or our mindset”(2)
Spokeswoman for Google, Jordan Newman Ph.D. in industrial and organizational psychology says the company’s philosophy is to create the happiest, most productive workplace in the world. Why? Because Google knows that happy employees outperform unhappy ones, and that the emotional fitness will generate creativity and problem solving abilities for their software developers.
Google was one of the first corporations to create a wonderland labyrinth of play areas for their employees in order to increase productivity. They have massage chairs, kitchens or sunny outdoors cafeterias with chaises that serve free food and beverages at all times, free yoga and Pilates classes, football tables and slides, vintage subway cars or Lego play stations and secret doors that lead to private reading areas. All these amenities are meant to change the neurology of the employees so they can engage better and become more creative. There have been studies done and the discoveries show that our brain absorbs information at a much faster rate when we are having fun (3) Think back of one of your favorite professors and remember how you got to like the subject so much more because of their personality and teaching style.
As your SI, NLP and EQ coach I am here to help you easily change your mind set so that you can become aware of what you truly want and learn to produce empowering emotions which will be used as fuel and become a catalyst for behavioral change. You cannot change your external life conditions if you don’t stop to look inside, figure out what you truly want, and then change your mindset, emotional make-up and behavior to create those life conditions. We are very much programmed by our parents, teachers and society at large to believe and value certain things, to fit in with the norm. But there comes a moment in life when you see that even though you have been following all the rules and you might have all that you should, you don’t feel happy or fulfilled. Every great idea or innovation in the history of human kind has been considered crazy, dangerous or impossible until one person believed otherwise and made it a general accepted truth. Anything is possible and in your power as long as you have a clear mind, use your emotions to empower yourself and have fierce determination for what you want.
From personal experience I can tell you that even though by society’s standards I was a successful person in every area of my life, I was not happy and I had to completely give up all security and start fresh. Coming to US after going for Law School in my native country, I decided to switch fields and do Business Administration and then Positive Psychology because I always dreamed of having my own business and helping people live better lives. At 26 I had a great job working in the Finance department of a large corporation and married my high school sweetheart. Even though by society’s standards I was an accomplished person on the rise, inside I felt like a stranger in my own life. I did not like my job, I only liked the money I was making, and I did not feel connected to my husband anymore, even though he has always been the most loving man I could have asked for. Maybe to blame is the fact that we met at a very young age and have been living together since I was 16 and he 19, or maybe the fact that we did not know how to meet each others needs as we matured.
There was a war going on inside of me with one side saying you have everything a woman can ask for, and another side saying you will have a safe life but there is so much more beyond that.
So I started my training in the field of coaching and told my husband I want a divorce. Even though I regretted hurting him with my decision of getting a divorce, I felt it was wrong for us to stay in a safe marriage where I didn’t feel alive and he didn’t feel appreciated. The passion was always there and that is what kept us together for 14 years, the only problem was that of not listening to the other without losing our patience, and starting a fight out of nothing. Both of us having fiery temperaments, we unconsciously drained ourselves with fights and that created a disconnection. It wasn’t easy and I faced a lot of criticism for my decisions, even from my own family, because nobody understood leaving a good paying job for an illusive dream career as they called it, or leaving a marriage without having the usual reasons of cheating, abuse or whatever else for the sake of find a partner that will be better for me.
I won’t lie, change is scary and leaves you vulnerable a lot of times because all your fears will have to come to the surface, but the rewards are worth it. Once you face your fears you become stronger and a deep knowing that you can be, have or do anything you want starts settling in. Once that empowered outlook in life is achieved you start living authentically the life conditions you desire and your life gradually changes for the best.
You cannot trick your brain and emotions. If you’re pretending to everyone else through your words or behavior that you’re happy when in fact you feel discontent with your life choices, that will not help you change how you feel inside. What you feel inside will still show up outside, no matter how much you try to lie to yourself and others.
That is why finding your path and making life choices that are meaningful to you is much more important than following what everyone else is doing. Most people live circumstances they don’t really want because they feel pressured to compromise and fit in with the lifestyle of your regular Joe or Jane.
If you know what you want is something different from what most people around you live, go for it, break the rules and make your own rules. Have the courage to be your own master and live the life that brings you happiness regardless of what lifestyle others say you should be living. Live life on your terms and believe in your dreams if you want an extraordinary life.
1-Achor, Shawn: The Happiness Advantage. Virgin Publishing. September 1st, 2010
3- Hanson, Rick Ph.D. Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science Of Contentment, Calm and Confidence. Harmony. Oct 8, 2013