If Happy was a drink, what would it look like?
I bet you secretly nominated your favourite alcoholic beverage… and you’re not alone!
The majority of people turn to something outside of themselves to find Happy.
The most common go – to option is alcohol but then weed or some other drug, food, sleeping, TV or computer games are also favoured options.
…and the thing is they actually work!
Your preferred Go-To behaviour feels good
When you are intoxicated or under the effect of a mind altering drug, you feel good.
When you’ve eaten the whole packet of biscuits or emptied the fridge, you’ve activated the pleasure centre of the brain (because you’ve programmed an association of food and pleasure) and you feel good. That is…until you you stop!
ANYTHING outside of yourself will only give you short term pleasure
When the effects of the binge or shopping spree have worn off…hey presto! Those yucky feelings are back and you want to be rid of them. You go back to your preferred feel good strategy, alcohol, weed, sleep, videos, food…and on it goes…You now have a pattern of not so good behaviour. And it’s ruining your life.
You feel trapped
So what’s the answer?
- Stop running from those not so pleasant feelings again and again and again.
In the long run, it doesn’t work.
There is no happy outside of you…
There is only possible damage to your health and wellbeing especially if those not so good behaviours are damaging your health or if there’s signs that you’re just not getting traction in life.
- Identify your pattern
It’s hard to shift long term patterns of behaviour.
Science tells us when you do something over and over again, it becomes a habituated pattern. Inside the brain there is restructuring and mental associations are made to make your preferred behaviour easy for you. The mental networking is being built all the time.
Your ‘helpful’ brain makes it a challenge
The brain rewires itself to to make it easier for you to act on your preferred method of finding “happy” and if that’s alcohol, drugs, sleep food or something else, that will be the default option that your brain chooses in response to feelings of unease. All you want is to be happy, not drink, sleep, weed or whatever, just happy. But your mind doesn’t have a program that enables you to do something different because your default pattern that is hardwired.
What does help?
There’s only ONE way to find happy and as crazy as it seems, it requires you to DO happy.
Feelings don’t just happen!
They originate as thoughts and are turned into chemicals and neurochemicals in the body that are experienced as emotions – happy, sad, angry, annoyed and this drives your behaviour.
To BE happy Do happy
To DO happy, BEHAVE – take action
And that requires you to know yourself at a deep level.
You need to know what will make you feel really great in the long term. And that requires you to ask some deep questions and a bit of soul searching.
What do you want want from your life?
Once you are clear about the answer, your values and direction will be your shining light and taking action steps toward your goal will get you out of the rut.
3 Action Steps to Happy!
Define your values and goals.
Some people call this a life purpose.
Even if you don’t have any idea, sit down with a pen or open that notepad and just write.
Answer these questions:
- When I look back in 5 years’ time what is it that I want to have achieved?
- Who is one person that I want to be like? That could be a mentor?
- What is it that they have that I want?
What do I like to do that excites me, gives me passion or enables me to lose sense of time while I do it?
Now remember, the answer doesn’t include those things that are detrimental and give only short term satisfaction.
- What is one thing that excites me and creates an internal excitement and passion?
Consider the following areas-
- Spiritual growth
- Add your own
If you can’t think of anything go back a few years, even when you were at school…
- what did you do that you loved and looked forward to?
- Why was it exciting?
Here are some ideas-
- Any kind of sport- tennis, soccer, dance etc.
- Any books that you read- what was the topic?
- The movies you gravitate towards- what is it about them that excites you? What are the topics?
The field of investigation that interests you –
- the environment,
- What am I good at?
Here you can do an assessment or you can tune in to what people have told you that you’re good at.
At school work or amongst your friendship group, what have people said to you about what you’re good at. If you don’t know then ask a few people you trust.
Pick two- three people.
If you want a more in depth answer consider a strengths assessment, there are several on- line or ask me for a strengths coaching session. You’ll discover your innate talent and get help to leverage your strengths into actions and goals.
Contact me for a 15 minute consultation to see how I can help.
About Iman Iskander
Iman Iskander is a Clinical Social Worker with a psychotherapy practice in Sydney. She is passionate about interactional intelligence -between people and within. She specialises in human interactions, mindful relationships and self -mastery.
Iman holds engaging workshops and coaching programs for individuals to take control of their work and life.
Go ahead and take the first step.