The Happiness Connection  

Live from the inside out

“If I get that new job, then I’ll be happy.”

“Buying that sporty new car, will make me feel young again.”

“A new partner is the thing that will change everything and make my life worthwhile.”

“If only I could win big on the lottery. Then, I could be happy.”

These statements are all examples of living from the outside-in. You think that by changing your circumstances, you will change how you feel about yourself and your life.

If you believe happiness comes from any of the above statements or something similar, you are unlikely to get the outcome you are looking for, especially if you want a long-term solution.

Humans are affected by something called hedonic adaptation. This describes the astonishing capacity we have to adapt to new situations.

Think about jumping into a lake or pool. At first it may feel cold, but if you stay in the water for a few minutes, your body gets used to it.

You adapt not only to physical conditions, but also to emotional ones. Extreme emotions rarely last. They are around for a short period of time before you return to a level of happiness that is normal for you.

A good example of this are lottery winners. Research shows that after an initial burst of increased positive emotions, subjects returned to their pre-win level of happiness.

Even if the amount was enough to change their life dramatically, their inside feelings of positivity returned to their normal level within six months. By this time, they were no happier than they had been before their win.

Working to change your circumstances isn’t the key to happiness. Altering how you feel on the inside is.

Research shows that one way to change yourself from the inside is through intentional activity. This refers to the things you think about and the things you make a conscious choice or decision to do.

Circumstance happens to you, often without your input. The choices you make, sometimes because of a change in your circumstances, is your intentional activity. This is where the key to being happier lives.

Being laid off is usually a circumstance beyond your control. What you decide to do or think as a result is intentional activity.

Being treated badly by another person is circumstance. Stopping to examine the situation to see what you can learn from it is intentional activity.

You don’t have to wait for circumstance to affect you, to change your life for the better. Add some happiness boosting activities to your life, today.

Goal setting, doing kind things for other people without expecting anything for yourself in return, surrounding yourself with positive people, and taking care of yourself physical, socially, and mentally have all been proven to increase your normal level of happiness.

Although hedonic adaptation may seem like a buzz kill for bursts of happiness, it is a super hero when circumstances cause your emotions to plummet.

Some circumstances have been shown to lower your normal level of happiness, but how you feel at your lowest won’t last. Hedonic adaptation sees to that.

Create a happier and more fulfilling life by living from the inside-out.

Get to know, love, and accept yourself. There is no such thing as perfection. Learn to embrace your warts just as enthusiastically as you do your beauty marks.

It doesn’t matter how much you buy or achieve In the end it's going to make very little difference to how happy you feel over an extended period of time.

Instead of trying to change things around you, learn to live and change from the inside-out.

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About the Author

Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.

Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.

Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.

Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.

Email Reen at [email protected]

Check out her websites at www.ReenRose.com, or www.ModellingHappiness.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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