Joy and Happiness are actually very different. A simple shift in your understanding of these words can change your life.
“Happiness is a pleasurable state of emotion based on circumstance” – Dr. Robert Waldinger professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School
Have you ever noticed how obsessed American culture is with the idea of happiness?
You know…..the commercial where the beautiful smiling couple just bought their new insurance policy. Or the celebrity who has it all with their new makeup line. Or the extremely attractive “mom” who finally switched from Crest to Colgate.
Whether magazines, billboards, emails, or social media… the commercialization of happiness is everywhere.
Yet, according to a recent study at NORC of University of Chicago Americans are the unhappiest they’ve been in 50 years.
As Americans we are bombarded with brilliant advertising. Master marketing that has been meticulously invented to trigger our deeply primal neurology. To make us feel like, “holy sh*t…I really need this…This is what is going to make me satisfied!”
And in that moment of desire, we are hit with some serious neurological stimulus. A sensation that makes us feel this incredible emotion:
Yet, how long does this feeling last?
Think about the car you have right now, or the electronic device you are reading this from. How much of that incredible, emotional stimulus known as happiness is your car or device bringing you at this moment?
Now think about the day you purchased it.
Think about the process of finding it. How you felt when you decided to get it, and the happiness you possessed as you came home with your new purchase.
Now ask yourself this. Am I as happy about my new car/device today as I was when I got it?
Chances are the answer is….. no.
Here is why:
Here is the biggest problem witH STRIVING FOR happiness. It goes away!
- Happiness is an emotional state based on a reaction to circumstance
- Emotional states are fleeting
- Circumstances are out of our control and breed expectation
- Expectations lead to discontent
Here is the biggest problem with striving for happiness. It goes away!! Happiness is like the sun of the day. It comes for a little while, and then the sun sets bringing you the night. Negative emotions like anxiety, sadness, or anger inevitably arise, leaving you with a feeling of let down expectations. And expectations ultimately lead to discontent!
Another problem with seeking happiness is that through chasing pleasurable states of emotion, your mind begins to run from the uncomfortable states of emotion. As a life coach and mindset coach, this brings up two major issues.
Through constantly avoiding discomfort we take on the belief that anything uncomfortable is negative, including emotions.
From there we hide, fight, run, or even purchase our way out of these discomforts in hopes to reach that happiness again. Our subconscious mind then begins the deep conditioning of neural pathways as we ultimately train ourselves to make an enemy of discomfort.
The problem with this mindset is that life is FULL of discomfort. No matter how cushioned someones life seems to be, the uncomfortable emotions and circumstances will always arrive, and discomfort is relative. (e.g – a snow storm to you is paradise to a polar bear.)
By avoiding discomfort we are actually attracting discomfort.
When working with clients we refer to this as The Backwards Law. By thinking of what we don’t want, we are neurologically telling our sub/unconscious mind to manifest it.
More often than not, when the emotional state of happiness does arrive, we tend to attach ourselves to it sticking around. However at a sub/unconscious level our mind knows that these neurological states of emotions come and go.
Therefore we naturally think about the negative emotions that we know are inevitably lurking in the future, and what persists in our minds, exists in our realities.
But what if we shifted our focus towards a more permanent state of being. What if we were as content with the discomfort of the night as we were with the laughter of the day. What if we had more control.
“Joy is an attitude we can develop that defies and accepts all circumstances and conditions” – Noah Rasheta
Joy unlike happiness is deeply rooted in acceptance. The letting go of expectation and the warm embrace to all emotions, all feeling, all thoughts, and all circumstance.
Picture enjoying sadness with equal proportion to the joy of happiness. To see the purpose that the sadness was serving and to use it as a tool for personal growth. To not attach yourself to the sadness or create an expectation of its duration, but to simply be with it.
To ask yourself, “What am learning in this moment? How am I growing from this experience?”
What if you had a confident willingness to experience all negative experience and shift your mindset from fear of discomfort to the desire of this personal growth?
To lean into the temporarily uncomfortable stimulus and to learn from the emotions, treating it like a blessed challenge.
And when the daylight of happiness comes back again….because just like the sun it always has and always will. How magnificently elevated would it be?
How would you embrace each moment for all its potential?
To Live Life In Joy is To ENJOY LIFE
THE SHIFT TO JOY
It is a very simple, but an incredibly life changing shift when we swap Happiness for Joy.
From chasing a fleeting emotional feeling that is dependent on circumstance, to accepting each moment with an attitude that you control.
From living in the anxiety and exhaustion of running from the inevitable discomforts of life, to seeing each challenge that life presents as an opportunity to grow.
This is obviously not a switch you turn on and are magically content with the rest of your life. It is a process that has obstacles and it takes work and commitment.
WE Hope You ENJOY THIS ARTICLE!
If you want to get more joy, confidence, and clarity on the next chapter of your life, just apply here.
Despite the fact we are living in a time of the greatest abundance and opportunity mankind has ever seen, we are equally faced with the stresses and pressures it comes with.
The truth is that our society often makes us feel less than as it profits from our feeling of never being satisfied. According to the CDC anxiety rates are higher than ever, and so are addiction, depression and suicide rates.
The obstacles in your path define your path || what stands in the way becomes the way
So what next?
What we focus on, we improve. And if we focus on achieving happiness, we ultimately will get really good at wanting something we can’t always have.
Really good at attaching yourself to an outcome.
Really good at thinking the grass is greener on the other side….thinking that you are not enough….thinking “only if I had fill in the blank” I’d be complete.
Really good at being stuck in your head while you continue to miss life’s precious moments.
And most importantly…..
By striving for happiness you become really bad at ENJOYING LIFE
There is a reason that America has the all time highest recorded rates of anxiety, stress, addiction and suicide. It is not random and it is also not a one size fits all answer.
That is why we strive for highly personalized life coaching. An innovative coaching method that carefully combines modern success psychology and ancient eastern philosophy.