The Process Of Creating Happiness
in current circumstances
Table of Contents
Do The Best You Can In The Current Moment
We live in difficult times. The coronavirus outbreak (COVID–19) has been labelled a pandemic by the World Health Organization. I live in Northern Italy and as you probably already know, here in the Italian Peninsula the situation is difficult, to say the least. The whole country has been put under a dramatic total lockdown due to a large number of infected patients. About 60 million people (me included) were placed under quarantine. I cannot even go for a walk around the block. And don’t get me wrong, I completely understand the seriousness of the situation and I respect the government’s decision but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s really hard to accept that. And I can’t believe I’m about to say this, but I am extremely grateful for the crazy world of social media because without it I wouldn’t have any contact with my family and friends. So I guess, for me right now the advantages of the online world win over the drawbacks. I currently feel like I am living in an action movie and I am sure I’m not the only one thinking it. I just hope that this pandemic will end soon and we will be able to get back to normality. I pray for this. I pray for everyone affected by COVID–19. This is a serious situation and we should not underestimate or ignore its gravity. Many people still live in denial constantly repeating that it’s not a bid deal. It is a BIG DEAL. We already know that this coronavirus pandemic will change the world, society, and economy. And the best we can do is to educate ourselves on what is taking place so we can better deal with the situation. We need to stay calm and focused during this crisis. We must support each other more than ever. We need to keep a positive mental attitude to be able to get through these trying times. Because I do believe that we can and we WILL become stronger after this pandemic. We will get through this together! And you know what? I also think that instead of just sitting and waiting for this pandemic to end we should put that time to good use and try to make the most of this strange, scary and extremely unpredictable situation.
”’I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy – I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.”
So, I’ve been sitting at home for a couple of days now trying to figure out how can I make this situation not only more manageable but also more enjoyable. And believe me or not, I completely redefine my idea of what happiness is. And this is what I’ve come up with:
What Happiness Is NOT
- Happiness is NOT having but being
- Happiness is NOT a pleasure
- Happiness is NOT a goal
- Happiness is NOT lack of pain
- Happiness is NOT perfection
What Happiness IS
- Happiness is a state of mind
- Happiness is balance
- Happiness means being responsible for your own life
- Happiness means being an active participant of your own life
- Happiness is a choice
- Happiness means working towards your goals
- Happiness means being grateful for what you have
- Happiness means being humble
- Happiness means living in the present moment
- Happiness means making the most of every situation
- Happiness means being focused on inner development and personal growth
So, I’ve redefined my idea of happiness. Well, I got… I did more than that, actually. I’ve come up with a 5-step guide to create your happiness right now regardless of the current circumstances and your life situation. And let me tell you something it works. I’ve had a major panic attack triggered by this whole lockdown situation about a week ago and now I am focusing on what I can learn from this whole situation and how can I use it to my advantage. It may sound weird but in a way, this a great moment to challenge myself, shape my perspective and put myself in a positive headspace once again. So, if you’re interested in the process of creating happiness in unfavorable circumstances here is my approach!
5-Step Process Of Creating Your Own Happiness
1. Stop Causing Your Own Unhappiness
Happiness is a choice. You choose to be happy regardless of current circumstances and your life situation. In other words, your happiness depends ONLY on you and your “state of being”. Because let’s face it, if you make your happiness contingent on outside sources you cannot control such as other people’s feelings, the weather, the exact outcome of your actions or the political and economical situation of the region you live you’re setting yourself up for a life filled with unhappiness. External factors are uncontrollable hence we cannot predict them, just look at the coronavirus situation in Europe… It’s so easy to give in to fear and go into full-blown ‘panic mode’ over this pandemic but it does not help our situation. Trust me I know exactly what I am talking about. I had a major panic attack a couple of days ago and it took me a whole day to calm myself down. Yeah, I know… but at least I can tick that off my list…
Anyways, what I’ve understood was that I can use my fear as motivation to achieve better things. I can use this quarantine period as an opportunity to learn, improve and grow as a person. I don’t want to waste my time and energy sitting and creating worst-case scenarios because it won’t help anyone. What I want to do instead is to focus on things that I can control and leave what I can’t. So I took a piece of paper and a pen and I’ve made a list of things that are causing my unhappiness at this particular moment. Then I divided those things into three different categories:
- things that I can change immediately to boost my well-being
- things I can change but I need help with it
- things that are completely beyond my control and I just have to accept them to stop causing my own suffering
And you know what? It turned out that there are plenty of things I can fix, improve or change immediately to improve my life and boost my well-being. And this is exactly what I am asking you to do right now. Take a piece of paper and a pen and write down things you can change immediately, things you can change in the next future and things that you cannot control and you should accept them for your peace of mind. I am telling you, you will be amazed by how many things in your life you can control, change and improve immediately.
Identify What You Can Change And What You Cannot
- Things that you can control, improve or fix right now
- Things that you can control and change but you need some help to do that
- Things that are completely out of your control
Ditch The Habits That Make You Unhappy
- Waiting for the perfect moment to start enjoying your life
- Trying to control external factors
- Having high expectations
- Being impatient
- Being ungrateful
- Labeling emotions as “good” or “bad”
- Not understanding the difference between pleasure and happiness
- Not living in the present moment
- Not having a clear vision
- Not having a life purpose
- Comparing yourself to others
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2. Take Responsibility For Your Own Life
We are all fighting our inner battle. We all struggle. We all have our inner demons. And believe it or not but most of us experience pretty much the same stuff during our lifetime. Sounds crazy but here are some life experiences that everyone ‘must-have’ like experiencing heartbreak, having a disease, losing someone we love, having a life-threatening experience or realizing that our lives are completely out of control… and now we can add “The ongoing pandemic of coronavirus disease” to our list. BUT you know what? Will will get through this together and we will be stronger than ever before! Keep repeating this to yourself! We will get through this!!
Life spares no one hardship, pain and struggle… and in the current situation, it’s becoming more obvious than ever. But it doesn’t mean that we should just give up. Furthermore, it’s quite the opposite. When life feels hard and nothing absolutely nothing is going according to plan it’s the exact moment we should stand strong in the face of adversity. Of course, going into full-blown panic mode, imagining worst-case scenarios that may happen (but most probably they won’t) and cry is extremely tempting but STILL, it does not resolve any problem. Been there done that and I can tell you that it doesn’t work.
When life is testing you, you have two options:
- you can give up, include in negative thoughts and just sit and cry
- you can take a deep breath, regain your mental focus, take control of your life and try to make the most of the current situation
Personally I prefer the second option. Looking for excuses or playing the victim card is not going to help. If you want to improve your life and boost your well-being you need to take responsibility for your own experience. When life knocks you down, you can choose to stay hopeless in the dark or rise up and regain control over your life. You can turn even the worst life experience into something positive. Because even the most desperate situations still procure opportunities to grow. But you need to be mindful to see that. You can ALWAYS control how you respond to things you can’t control. And trust me sometimes, it’s all you need to improve your life situation. Happiness means being responsible for your own experience. You are the creator of your own reality so get your sh*t together and fight for yourself! And if you think that it’s easy for me to say that, you’re wrong. I am scared, I live in Northern Italy where the situation is dramatic but cannot afford to give in to fear. It’s tough BUT we WILL get through this together!!
Now it’s time for self-reflection. Read the questions below, close your eyes and answer them.
Self-Reflection Questions To Ask Yourself
- What do I WANT to experience? (The answer to this question helps you to steer your thoughts and action into experiences instead of material things.)
- What I do NOT WANT to experience? (The answer to this question helps you to be more assertive and make better decisions.)
- What is one good habit I can adopt right now to improve my life immediately? (Our habits are fundamentals of our character. When you adopt a certain habit it becomes your second nature. You are what you repeatedly do.)
- If I could solve one of my problems, what problem would it be? (The answer to this question will help you to gain wider perspective)
- What can I share with others? (There has to be a balance between the things you receive and the things you give to others. You can share your knowledge, kindness.)
- What is the most important thing I want to realize today? (If you set your priorities straight you will focus on what’s really important to you instead of wasting your time and energy for unimportant and unnecessary things.)
- What am I grateful for today? (Being grateful makes us happy, satisfied and fulfilled. Gratitude helps us build self-worth.)
3. Create A Balanced Life
As human beings, we truly love overthinking and overcomplicating things in life making every situation much more complex than it ever needs to be. We create problems where there are none all the time. Why? Well, maybe because simplicity and imperfection scare us? We are trained since early childhood that “practice makes perfect” so instead of going for “good enough” we try to be perfect and control everything and everyone. We keep pursuing perfection and it drives us crazy. We’re never good enough, we’ve never done, everything is urgent, we work harder instead of smarter, our standards are too high so does our cortisol levels…
We focus on what’s missing and we miss out on what’s there. We have this “Lack mentality” that makes us unable to appreciate what we have. We try to control everything and manipulate everyone to get exactly what we want as soon as possible and when it doesn’t happen we get angry and frustrated. We love extreme high and hate extreme lows. We seek instant gratification and avoid any type of sadness. We confuse pleasure with happiness, joy with fulfillment, love with sex, sorrow with depression, anxiety with discomfort. We constantly dwell in the past and worry about the future instead of living in the present moment and trying to make the most of it.
Our schedules are insanely overbooked with things that were due yesterday. Our brains are incredibly overloaded by too much irrelevant information that we cannot even process properly. Our homes are cluttered up with often unnecessary things we don’t even use. Our wardrobes are filled with unnecessary items that we don’t even wear. We constantly buy new things that we don’t even need or want with the money that we don’t have… and then when we finally realize that we cannot buy happiness we get overwhelmed, anxious and depressed. And what we do next? We buy more stuff to feel better… even if we subconsciously know that it won’t make us happy. Happiness does not mean an endless abundance. Real happiness is BEING not HAVING. Happiness means balance and peace of mind. So close your eyes, take a couple of deep breaths and tell yourself that you will get through this. Chaos is scary only if you give in to fear. Let go of control. We cannot control external factors but we can control our response to them. So again, take a deep breath, close your eyes and tell yourself that you are safe. You are in control of yourself. You can create your inner balance even in chaotic times. You are stronger than you think!
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4. Adopt A Growth Mindset
Sometimes life does not go according to plan. No matter how hard you worked or how detailed your ideal plan was life can unexpectedly change its curse. And when it happens you have a choice. You can start mourning the loss of expectations and indulging in self-doubt because of the failure of your plan A or you can take advantage of the current situation and find the alternative for your original plan. Besides sometimes when things don’t work out it means that the Universe is trying to save your ass. So if your plan “A” fails instead of kicking yourself over it, take a deep breath, get a clean look at the situation and find an alternative for your plan “A”. Take advantage of the situation. Focus on what you can learn. Remember that every life experience, good or bad, positive or negative comes with an important lesson. It might not seem like it sometimes, but there is always something you can learn from every situation of your life. But to be able to do that you have to adopt a growth mindset first. You have to be capable of adjustment. So instead of feeling sorry for yourself only because the things didn’t work out as planned, accept what you cannot change, embrace failure as an opportunity to grow and ask yourself what you can do to make the most this particular experience. Take responsibility for your own experience! I know what you think, easier said than done but the truth is, actually, that, your limits are only in your mind. Sometimes we feel that we failed to accomplish a goal only because our work produced a different outcome than expected. But you know what? In most cases a different result it’s actually a good sign because it means that life gives you a chance to discover new opportunities that you didn’t even take into account. Train your brain to see problems as opportunities to grow and learn new skills. Invest your time, energy and money in personal growth. Use this dramatic situation as one of the most important lessons in your life. And remember that we will survive this. We will get through this and we will become stronger after this pandemic!
5. Start Living In The Present Moment
Most people wait for the perfect moment to start enjoying life, practice gratitude and feel happy. So instead of living in the present moment, creating opportunities to grow and taking advantage of the current situation, they wait. They wait and they waste their time and energy. They wait for beautiful things to happen to them. They wait for valuable people to appear in their lives. They wait and they waste their lives are slipping away from their hands. What they don’t realize is that, waiting instead of doing makes them passive observers of their own lives. They give their personal power away so easily without even realizing that. If you’ve been living in exactly the same way, ask yourself a question whether you want to be a passive observer or an active participant in your own life? If you chose the second option it means that you’re ready to take your life in your hands and become the master of your own destiny. You are the creator of your own reality. You are the master of your own fate. Don’t wait for the future, create it RIGHT NOW. Take responsibility for your own experience and start enjoying your life RIGHT NOW. Stop waiting for the perfect moment to be happy, take the present moment and make it beautiful, joyful and meaningful! Your future is NOW! Your happiness is NOW! Practice gratitude. Call your loved ones and tell them that you care about them. Breathe. Everything will be OK!
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Take Responsibility for Your Own Experience.