Earlier this week I caught 10 minutes of the new Chris Evans breakfast show on Virgin Radio. He announced the theme for the day was ‘happiness is an inside job’. I really agree with this concept although sometimes it doesn’t always feel like that. In fact more often than I’d like I get caught out by external things giving me the impression that they are responsible for happiness (and all other emotions for that matter). I see this in others too.
It’s our thinking which drives our feelings and emotions. Just like the movie director can create emotions, so do we. In our case, it’s our interpretation of what’s happening not the thing itself. For example, for one person the thought of an extreme rollercoaster ride presents fun and excitement. To another, it generates fear and anxiety. The rollercoaster is the same. It’s all down to interpretation.
There’s a complex set of exchanges inside our heads which form our interpretation of what is going on. Our values, previous experience and instincts all have a part to play. So if we want to change the way we feel about something or perhaps, more importantly, connect with internal happiness (that’s already there…) we need to get better at raising our awareness of how we are interpreting things and situations. And take responsibility for ensuring we have the healthy content to draw on to develop our thinking. This does take some effort. That said, nowhere near as much as dealing with the fallout of not doing it.
I find when I spend 10 to 15 minutes a day to reflect on the past and coming 24 hours it changes my interpretation. For the past, I think about what I could learn from the situations I’ve encountered. For the coming period, I think about the situations I might face and then consider how I’d like to respond. Done consistently these two simple exercises have a significant impact. That’s not to say I get it right all the time. I don’t. However it does help me to become more emotionally aware and as a result, connect with that internal happiness Chris Evans talked about.