A recipe for feeling happy and how to jar it!

Do you have a couple of tins of soup in your kitchen cupboard at home that have been there for ages? You know the chance of ever eating them is not going to happen anytime soon but just knowing they are there is reassuring. Perhaps you have a habit of collecting pens, or sugar sachets, elastic bands, or gift bags. You never know when you might need them, right?

It seems as we go through our daily life, we collect all sorts of items as we know they would be useful if we were ever in a situation where we might need them, we prepare for every eventuality without giving it too much thought, until we sort through a cupboard, drawer or bag and unceremoniously dump our acquired treasure in the rubbish bin and shake our head in wonder at what we have been hording, but we still hold on to the couple of tins of soup as we like the feeling of reassurance we get from them just being there.

We do the same with our emotions, we stockpile them, but with the help of Mr Negativity and Mr Anxiety we hold on to some that would be better off in the bin too, but there are some that we would benefit from stockpiling.

There is a lot to be said for being able to recall happy memories, it reminds us of the feelings and emotions that make us feel good and encourages us to strive to achieve that again. Happy memories can feed our hopes and desires, all which are important to a positive mindset, but they are only one part of feeling fulfilled.

Sonja Lyubomirsky, author of the best-selling How of Happiness, defines happiness as “the experience of joy, contentment, or positive well-being, combined with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile.”  So, while positive emotions such as joy are part of the recipe for happiness, they are not the whole shebang.

To truly be happy we must constantly evolve and work on goals that give us a sense of achievement, something that we are passionate about that will give us a sense of purpose, coupled with our positive wellbeing this will lead us to a feeling of contentment and true happiness.

There are lots of plates to spin and when you add in additional factors such as chronic illness, pain, and fatigue, this may seem like a difficult task but by setting ourselves up for success by stockpiling our positivity, it gives us one less plate to concentrate on.

An easy, physical, and fun way to accumulate your positive memories is by using a jar as a memory bank. Every time you have a positive experience that you would like to recall in the future, write on a piece of paper and pop it in your jar, try to use colour and drawings and put some time into recording the event so it gives you time to reflect over it as you are doing so. Hold the piece of paper for a few moments after you have completed it and sit and focus on the event and the feelings, senses, and emotions attached to it. Recall the smells, sounds, colours, flavours, temperature, weather ….. anything you can to add more weight to the memory. Whenever you feel that you need a boost of positivity you can give the jar a shake and pick a memory out at random, revisit it and recall all the images and senses you attached to it originally, sit quietly with it and hold the piece of paper in the same way as you did when you originally wrote it. Once you have the feeling of positivity you can pop the memory back in the jar with an expression of gratitude.

Joy from Pixar’s Inside Out says “There is always a way to turn things around and find the fun. “ but it is important to recognise that all our emotions have an important role to play in our wellbeing too, it is how we deal with them that affects our positivity. We are given the emotions of anger, sadness, excitement, happiness etc for a reason, to help us make sense of events around us but it is when the negative emotions overrun the positive ones that our wellbeing becomes compromised.

Embrace the positive, recognise and react to the negative appropriately without allowing them to become all encompassing, find a passion or goal to focus on and show gratitude daily. This is the true recipe for happiness.

Catch up with the other blogs in the positivity series here.

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