Cultivating Happiness with CBT

Cultivating Happiness

Like many, if you’ve been sitting around waiting for happiness to happen or show up somehow, well you can stop waiting. It’s not going to show up. The good news is that science and research tells us that happiness is cultivated, meaning you can do something about it.
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What does science say about happiness?

The research shows that happiness is not due to circumstances, like wealth or stature. Rather, it seems happiness is mostly related to one’s perspective and disposition. And more specifically, our thoughts and behaviours. This is key because one can cultivate happiness by  changing thoughts and behaviours. If you can do that, then your CAN change your degree of happiness.

CBT Based techniques that increase your level of happiness

The one thing happy people know intuitively is that satisfaction and happiness is more about the sum of their life choices. Focusing on key areas, that all add’s up to a sort of “happiness-formula”.

And this really starts with a deliberate decision to make an “attitude-adjustment”. All the practices and ideas herein call for a general shift in perspective. A note to add here is that for some, this shift will feeling awkward, artificial and superficial. Just try it, give it a week of honest effort and then make a decision on their value.

The 5 foundations of cultivating happiness

Invest in your relationships and you will gradually cultivate your happiness. Surround yourself with happy people that “fit” who you are. This will take major effort for some, but challenging yourself to become social will pay dividends in both your social calendar and mood.

Family too is important. These relationships are different than friendships. With family, significant life benchmarks are celebrated and acknowledged. Weddings, births, deaths, careers, etc., provides family members relationship’s with more meaningful emotional qualities and characteristics. You ‘travel-through-time’ together.

With family and friends, be kind with your words, and tone down any tendency to critique.

Be appreciative, show gratitude

Showing gratitude is more than saying thanks. It’s a bit of an attitude, one of noticing and becoming more aware with yourself. Try this, for ten minutes, try deliberately noticing and focusing on good things, no matter how small. For example, the sound of the wind, or kids laughing. Notice how your mood may have changed, feeling perhaps a little lighter.

Maintaining Optimistic Outlook

Get in the habit of noticing the good and positive things that are occurring all around you, they just need to be noticed and acknowledged more often. This is not to dismiss bad things happen. This is simply to suggest amplifying the positive stuff, just like turning up good music, it’s got a strong presence and effect.

Sense of Purpose

People with some objective, from taking care of a dog or garden, to volunteering in your local community somehow. A purpose, whatever it is, provides meaning, and likely increases social connections. It is our relationships that provide the strongest purpose and meaning, and so need to be cultivated and nurtured.

Living in the Moment

Look for the chance to savor and relish a moment. Again, this is a habit that will form with some practice, and it pays off. Focus on the positive, countering the negative self-talk. Simply be in the mind frame to deliberately to slow yourself down and begin to ‘tune-into’ the simple satisfying moments of life.

More to follow.