Friday, August 12, 2016

Happiness Runs

Happiness Runs

Sometimes when I draw a Creative Questions card I really like, I wanna just post answers to the question. Like today when I pulled, “Why am I happy?”

It’s like an automatic endorphin release program. I feel better just asking the question, like I’ve trained my brain to crank endorphins into my system with those four words. That’s just fine with me.

But that feeling got me thinking. What do we mean when we talk about being happy? Well, I can tell you what I mean by happy.

When I feel happy, my chest feels open, my belly feels relaxed, my shoulders soft. When I feel happy, I feel satisfied, light-hearted, grateful, and contented. My breathing gets bigger. I may not love what I’m doing, but it’s ok that I’m doing it. I feel loving and loved, appreciative and appreciated. I may be pleased for you about something nice that is happening for you, with you, by you, or other prepositional phrases involving you. I also tend to feeling capable, competent, strong, soft, smart, lovely, and good enough.

Why do I enjoy a sense of well-being?

I was amazed that I could feel this way while in the midst of chemo. That my sense of well-being was there when I had Chester the chest-tube poking out of me, pulling at my pleura. That I felt peaceful and contented with the fatigue and stuff since then. For me, happiness, that rich, complicated, savory, nuanced feeling is a daily practice, like my appreciations practice.

Why would I practice happiness?

Many years ago, one of my most amazing teachers said, “Just because you address your emotional trauma and deal with your issues doesn’t mean bad stuff stops happening, it just means that you will have more and better resources for dealing with it.” Practicing happy is one of those resources for me.

How can I practice happiness?

When I talk about happiness I mean a whole lot of things. I can make the physical changes happen in my body fairly easily. In fact, if you hold a crinkle-eyed smile for a full minute, your body starts releasing those feel-good chemicals. But there are more components to my happiness. Self-esteem, feeling fortunate, having a sense of being in charge of one’s attitude, all of these things contribute to feeling happy in our culture.

I have also been amazed that I can feel happy even when I am sad. Wha??? Yes, it seems like a paradox, maybe it is, but when I am feeling clean, uncomplicated sadness, I often also feel many of the other things I mentioned above, things that add up to happy. Weird but true.

Why would I decide to be happy?

That’s the bottom line. I have to choose it. I have to decide that I’m worth the effort to be happy, or whatever you want to call it. I have to resolve to make the changes I have to make in my thinking, in my environment, in my companions to support an upbeat lifestyle.

How have I changed from being committed to misery to committing to my own well-being?

(c) Pam Guthrie 2016 all rights reserved 08122016

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