What Is Happiness?

With World Happiness Day on 20th March this year now is a good time to focus on happiness in our lives. Most people want to feel happy. Aristotle suggested that happiness is the primary human drive with all other desires directed to achieve it. Happiness is a subjective state and its meaning can vary from person to person. Nevertheless, despite differences between people in the meaning of happiness, it’s usually characterized by positive emotions and life satisfaction. Happiness is an emotional state that can include feelings of joy, pleasure or contentment. It’s important to remember that happiness isn’t about constantly feeling euphoric. Instead, it’s the overall experience of having more positive than negative emotions. Continue reading to learn how to INCREASE happiness everyday using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy!

How Do I Know If I’m Happy?

Because happiness is a subjective experience there’s no one way to measure it. However, there are some signs to look out for when trying to work out if we’re happy or not. Happy people tend to sleep fairly easily and aren’t kept awake each night by stress or worry. Happy people tend not to be overly competitive with others and enjoy celebrating other people’s successes. Also, happy people may well have fewer minor complaints such as muscle tension or digestive symptoms. Happiness tends to lead us to feel content within ourselves and with purpose and meaning in our lives. Furthermore, when we feel happy we tend to be more resilient to minor inconveniences and find it easier to go with the flow in our lives.

Three Simple CBT Techniques To Increase Happiness

If you’ve noticed you don’t feel very happy, the good news is that happiness isn’t a fixed quality. We all have some influence over how happy we feel. We can’t necessarily control everything that affects our happiness such as our social situation or our health. Nevertheless, we can always make use of CBT techniques to help us to feel happier. Here are three simple ways to increase your feelings of happiness and well-being by using CBT:

1. Reframe Critical Self-Talk

We all have habitual ways of talking to ourselves. However, sometimes what we find ourselves saying can reduce how happy we feel. Let yourself become aware of your self-talk. Do you notice saying things to yourself such as ‘you’re not good enough’ or ‘no one really enjoys spending time with you’? If this feels familiar to you then CBT can help you to reframe these thoughts and become more compassionate towards yourself.

For instance, when you tell yourself that you’re not good enough, see if you can gently challenge this. What counter-evidence do you have that you are, in fact, good enough? Perhaps think about what your partner or friends say about you. Or what would you say to them? See if you can use this information to turn your self-critical thought around. You could start gently by just telling yourself that you’re OK. Try to practice this daily. The kinder and more compassionate we are to ourselves, the happier we will likely be.

2. Change Unhelpful Behaviours

CBT isn’t only about changing our thoughts, it also works at the level of behaviour. Research consistently shows that some behaviours improve our mood while other behaviours decrease our levels of happiness. Behaviours that tend to make us happier include exercise, eating healthily, connecting with friends and family, and helping others. The more of these positive behaviours we’re able to put into our lives, the happier we’re likely to be.

Leaving behind unhelpful behaviours and embracing new ones can be challenging and it usually takes time. Rather than trying to change all of our behaviours at once, it’s best to choose one or two behaviours to focus on. We can then work to change them gradually. For example, you could start by scheduling in a lunchtime walk a couple of times a week or reaching out to a friend at least once a week and build up from there. Once you notice your mood starting to improve as a result of your efforts it will feel easier to continue.

3. Focus On What Went Well

When we focus on problems in our lives our thoughts often become more negative. However, when we turn our attention to what’s gone well we tend to find that we feel more positive and happier. At the end of each day spend a few minutes noting down three or four things that went well that day. The things you choose to recognize don’t need to be big achievements. Instead, you could focus on moments such as a positive call with a work colleague or a relaxing evening at home.

Then, spend a bit of time reflecting on why those things went well. Perhaps it was because you got up earlier or exercised that morning. Or maybe it was because you were in a good mood during the day. Doing this exercise helps you to recognize that your behaviours shape your positive experiences. By acknowledging how our actions affect our happiness we’re more likely to repeat these actions again in the future. Focusing on what went well also helps us to increase our self-esteem. When we feel better about ourselves we’re likely to be happier too.

Online-Therapy.com Can Help Increase Happiness

If you’ve tried out some of these techniques to increase your happiness and would like to explore enhancing your well-being further then Online-Therapy.com can help. By signing up with our CBT program you can choose a therapist who will work with you to develop a personalized toolkit to support you with the changes you want to make and to help you to boost your happiness each day. You can always choose to have your therapy sessions by video, phone or text chat (couple counselling will be video only), making Online-Therapy.com a flexible and convenient option.

At Online-Therapy.com we offer an integrated and holistic package to enable you to feel consistently at your best. Our approach includes regular sessions with your chosen therapist, unlimited messaging and CBT worksheet support, journaling and yoga. CBT isn’t only about supporting you to resolve problems in your life, it can also support you to feel even better than you already do and to create the life you’ve always wanted. With our ongoing support, you have the daily expert guidance you need to make progress with feeling happier as soon as you sign up.