How to set your inner autopilot to 'happy'

Have you ever said to someone 'have a good day'?
I know I have! In fact, I said it just this morning kissing my hubby goodbye as I dropped him off at the train station {he doesn't get the pleasure of working from home like I do!}, and I said it again to my daughter dropping her off to kindergarten. It happened automatically as just something I say.

We do things on autopilot most of the time
which is actually a good thing! I say hallelujah for unconscious processing {aka, autopilot} because if we had to deliberately think of every. little. thing. it would be EX-HAUS-TING!

But are we just on a mundane autopilot, or is there something we can do to cultivate a 'happiness autopilot'?
Now there's one for the thought bank... can we train our brains to see the positive, to have 'happy' {or at least, 'content/satisfied'} as our general resting state {or, benchmark if you will}? Research would suggest we can, if we want to...

and it first starts with our MINDSET.

You see, what we dwell on {i.e. think about}, impacts our mood/emotions/feelings. And our thoughts + emotions impact how we then respond/react/behave. In essence:

Your thoughts trigger your emotions.
Your emotions guide your behaviour.
Your behaviour drives outcomes.
  

So if your desired outcome is to be say, successful in gaining a promotion by the end of the year, then it stands to reason that you first work on your mental processing {i.e. mindset/thoughts of success/belief in yourself that you have what it takes}, use that to trigger an emotional response {i.e. determination}, and then jump into action {i.e. behaviour} that will lead to your promotion {i.e. outcome}.

See how it all fits together?

Your starting point for achieving any type of outcome is not with what you do, but with what you think; with your mindset. But let’s say your goal was a little less concrete than getting a promotion. Let's say you simply wanted to become happier. Well, the same formula works - your starting point for achieving that emotion is your thoughts. And keeping on track with achieving this emotional state? Understand the benefits/outcomes that being happier can achieve {and there's LOTS of them, trust me, including that promotion if that's actually a goal of yours... research has shown that those who experience more positive emotions than negative have a far greater chance of achieving their goals than those who experience more neutral or negative emotions than positive?! Happy doesn't just feel good, it brings good things too - hurrah!}  

But achieving ‘happiness’ can acutally be a tricky one, as what makes one person happy may make another unhappy. 

This is probably so obvious it may not need to be said, but we find our happy in different ways. Some people find their happy in solitude, while others thrive on hanging out with their girls. Some people are the happiest when they crush an athletic or academic goal, others when they find themselves in the relationship they’ve been seeking. The key to cultivating more of what makes you happy is knowing what contributes to your happiness.

And this is something most of us haven’t stopped to consciously think about...

rather, we just know when we feel happy and don't really stop to think about what caused it. It stands to reason then that there’s merit in finding out what exactly makes you happy, so you can do more of that. With concerted effort and practice, you can make ‘happy’ your natural resting state from which you fluctuate up and down, which when all’s said and done, you revert back to, therefore making it your 'autopilot'.

If this sounds good, I’ve got something for you to try.

This exercise helps you think through your daily activities in order to make ‘happy’ your norm. When happy is your norm, research would suggest that you have greater levels of self-belief, have more positive relationships, and can achieve greater levels of success… pretty good reasons to work on your happy if you ask me!

Step 1:
For the next 2 weeks, become aware of the activities, situations or circumstances that cause some days to be good and other days to be not-so-good. Keep track of what you do and at the end of the day, write down they key events {i.e. the specific situations or circumstances, and the concrete activities you underook} and give an overall rating: 10 = it was one of the best days of my life through to 1 = it was one of the worst days of my life and what it was that prompted that rating.

Step 2:
At the end of 2 weeks, take the days rated at a 6 or above and explore the key events that tended to make each of these days ‘good’ and therefore made you happy. Next, take the days rated at a 4 or below and explore the  key events that tended to make each of these days ‘not-so-good’ and therefore made you less happy. 

Look for a pattern across the days and weeks. Are there certain activities, situations or circumstances that consistently made for a happy day? If so, note them down. Are there certain activities, situations or circumstances that consistently make for a not-so-happy day? If so, note them down.

Step 3:
Taking your insights gained from Step 2, reflect on the following questions: What is the common theme across your happy days? What is present? What is not present {and you get this answer from your 'not-so-happy' days}? What could you do {or not do} to have more days like these? 

Doing this should give you an indication of what you can do to deliberately cultivate your ‘happy’.

Step 4: 
Commit to doing the specific actions daily that make your day a happy one. As a result, you'll feel better, be primed to achieve more, have more positive relationships, and be more engaged in what you do. #winning

You’re welcome 😊
If this is something you would like to discuss further, you can always book a free ‘Clarity Call’ to talk through your specific circumstances {and helping you brings about my ‘happy’, just so you know!}

Until next time!

With love + joy,

Cath xo