When someone asked me for tips for being happy, I was excited to answer but also a but worried. This is because they stated: “Do you have tips on being happy. How are you happy all the time.” I absolutely LOVE giving positivity tips but let’s get one thing straight:
No one’s happy all the time.
Many things happen day to day, things, situations, events, and even people quickly shift and can affect your mood. The question is, what are you going to do to stay positive, no matter how things change?
Often, we assume that happiness is the only positive emotion that we can ever feel or that we should ever aspire to feel. A whole movie was made out of our never-ending pursuit of happiness. Truth is, sometimes, we can enjoy that burst now and again, and other times, we’re just like, meh!
The key to thinking about happiness correctly is understanding that it’s not a constant emotional state. It is one of the beautiful things about being human; our emotions are in a constant state of flux. If you think about it, it would be boring to always be happy all the time, you would have nothing to compare it to and wouldn’t enjoy it!
With that said, you and I want to feel as many positive emotions as possible. When you learn to frame your experiences positively, you will discover a whole range of positive emotions that do not always equal you being happy. As this section’s title states, hope and inspiration are positive emotions; they’re powerful enough to change so many things about your life. Yes, you can be hopeful and inspired even when you’re not happy. When things don’t go well, you can lift your mood by reframing how you are now prepared for things to go better the next time around.
Experiences are subjective; their interpretation depends on the person experiencing them. Don’t get me wrong; some experiences are both alarming and saddening, it’s clear to almost everyone that it’s terrible. However, the interpretation and framing of that bad experience can take on multiple forms and CAN be used as inspiration. With inspiration comes hope and excitement, and from there, we can achieve happiness.
An interesting representation of how robust the positive framing of experiences can be is in Viktor Frankl’s Man Search for Meaning. Have you heard about this book ever? In his book, Viktor describes his experience of the holocaust, one of the most saddening events experienced by Jews in Germany, through a positive lens. He uses hope, love, inner freedom, and a continuous search for beauty to reflect on his ability as a human being to survive even the worst of the worst kind of experiences.
No matter what you experience, you can reframe and have a positive outlook on your life. It’s not always easy, but it is a simple enough process.
When you often choose to frame your experiences positively, you choose your inner soundtrack, a tune that you choose to dance to, no matter how horrible things are.
Framing your experiences is different from lying to yourself about something really happening or living in denial. In fact, one of the major steps in positive framing is being open and honest with yourself.
The chances are that whatever experience you choose to frame positively is filled with negative emotions. Living in denial of that truth about how that event is negative for you does not help with framing. Framing your experiences positively comes in after you’ve accepted the truth of what’s going on.
We agree that we cannot always be happy all the time. So, we will use framing to give ourselves the next best thing; a positive way to pull through challenging situations.
Typically, we want to run or stay and fight when bad things happen to us. It’s an automatic response, and positively framing those bad events helps us pull through without hurting ourselves or others.
Think of something bad that someone’s done to you recently.
Now, I want you to hold that thought for the next couple of paragraphs, and let’s see if we can reframe that event, shall we?
- Make a note: On your phone or on a piece of paper, put down the details of that negative event. As many details as you can remember, the better; think of this note-making as a kind of purge for your mind. Notice that, for once, you’ve slowed down your overthinking (which may be adding to your negative mood).
- Separate at least one positive factor from that event: It can be as simple as, At least I can write about what’s happened, or I felt good after watching something to take my mind off things. There is a positive element in every experience. You will find it now that you’ve put down your negative thoughts somewhere else besides your head.
- Use relative thinking: In this step, compare this to some other bad events that happened to you (or someone you know well). If you (or that other person) could pull through one bad event from the past, you can do so too.
- Remember what changed after a previous negative event: After a negative experience, something gives way inside us. Sometimes we learn the lesson from experience, and since we would prefer it never happen again, we make some changes. That change produces positivity because we get to avoid repeating that negative experience in the future.
- Change your words: Often, the words that we use to describe our experiences affect our perception of the event, person, or place involved. Try switching out the words nosy, dramatic, or annoying with curious, expressive, and excitable. Different effect. The core of positive framing is that you take charge of how you tell yourself about the experience once you have come to terms with what’s happened. Switching out negative words for more positive or neutral words positively affects how you perceive and move on from that event.
With positive framing, you can be positive all the time. It’s the next best thing to being happy. Positivity and positive emotions move us, change us, help us grow, and keep us connected to what matters in our lives.
When you’re not happy, you can still choose other ways to be positive.
Remember that… and I hope this helps!