What If Your Highest Priority Was to be Happy?

What If Your Highest Priority Was to be Happy?

Being happy means having more to give, being more available to opportunities, and handling more responsibility that leads to a fulfilling life. For most happy people it means feeling healthy, having a strong sense of well-being, and enjoying life.

That all sounds good… but how do you get to feeling happy when so much of the time you feel numb, sad, angry, afraid, overwhelmed, stressed, or anxious?

Yes, life can feel heavy with emotion and difficulties

Why is that? Because we are conditioned to live in fear. Our survival brain keeps us on the lookout for danger so that we can avoid or escape from it. As we develop the habits of “survival” thinking (starting almost from the time we are born), this kind of thinking can crowd out happy thoughts.

However, there’s good news from the world of neuroscience: Research on human motivation, particularly self-determination theory (SDT), finds that “all humans have the natural, or intrinsic, tendency to behave in effective and healthful ways.” We have needs beyond just survival that motivate us toward freedom and choice, competence, accomplishment, and connection to others.

This tells me that, while your brain is wired to seek out danger to protect you, you are also wired to be happy — to feel effective, achieve goals that have meaning for you, and to be helpful to others.

You can rewire your brain for happiness

The wonderful thing about the human brain is that it can be rewired! This means that over time, what you think about, how you feel, and the actions you take will literally build new neural pathways in your brain.

You can develop new habits of thought, habits of feeling, and habits of actions that are in alignment with being happy. The more you nurture those kinds of thoughts, the less the “survival” fear-based thoughts will have power over you. Happiness will crowd out fear.

But what’s so great about being happy?

Well, plenty. Did you know that:

  • Happy people are more successful?
  • Happy people get sick less often?
  • Happy people have more friends?
  • Happy people have a positive attitude that makes life easier?
  • Happy people have a positive influence on their loved ones?
  • Happy people exercise more and eat more healthily?
  • Happy people are happy with what they have?

According to research, it’s true, on a psychological as well as physical level.

What IF you made being happy a higher priority in your life? Here are some tips to get you on your way to being happier:

  1. Decide to make being happy your highest priority. Attention and INtention are key.
  2. Ask yourself, “If I was happy right now, what would I be thinking? What would I be feeling? What would I be doing?” Ask yourself these questions often during the day and in the midst of different situations.
  3. Make a list of 25 things that make you happy. No matter how large or small the things on your list are, you will already be circulating more “happy” hormones through your body and building new, more positive neural pathways in your brain!

For more ways to rewire your brain for lasting happiness, check out my book, Brain Makeover – A Weekly Guide to a Happier, Healthier, and More Abundant Life.