“Happiness is a state of activity”
Aristotle said it best and this quote is what led my guest Kristi Ling to write her book Operation Happiness. Kristi struggled for years with depression, worked at a corporate job that didn’t bring her satisfaction or joy up until her mid 30s until she had her big wake up call. After one frightening experience where she woke up with a pounding heart, she knew she had to change things and be open to receiving more. This is where her journey to figure out what happiness was all about began.
Kristi, along with a lot of people believed she just wasn’t wired for happiness. That is was genetic. It was always about hitting those marks- get married, the good job, the material things. It was always about other people’s approval and getting the next thing. But she realized that these “things” weren’t making her happy and this is where the perspective changed.
Kristi says “Happiness isn’t just a choice or a feeling or a state of mind. It’s an activity. It’s a skill that we can learn and become better and better at until we change our lives into what we want them to be.” To experience this, you have to be deliberately inviting experiences into your life that bring your joy on a more consistent basis. Because the truth of the matter is, happiness takes work.
Neuroplasticity and what it’s all about.
Anyone can re train their brain and you don’t have to be a scientist to do this. It’s true, you can rewire your brain based on changing your mindset and the activities that you are doing. If you do this for a long enough period, when you catch yourself in a negative thought pattern or doing something that doesn’t gel with that thing you’ve been working on for a long time, you will literally rewire the information carriers in your brain to make those things come naturally to you. It takes work and dedication but anyone can do it. The power of positive thinking can be pretty powerful.
You first have to be dedicated to changing your state of mind and also change your mind on what happiness means to you. Bottom line, happiness is a choice. And then you have to back up that choice with some action to make it a reality. You have to stop being lazy and do something about it.
How long will it take?
As long as it takes…it’s different for everyone. It’s like with fitness, you have to keep doing it every day before you get really good at something. Same thing for being happy. You can’t throw in the towel because it’s hard and it’s not happening fast enough. It takes a lot of work and a fresh start of the way you approach being happy. But everything begins by beginning, right? You just have to jump in and get started. Be deliberate and do it every day, that’s where the big change will happen!
And you really are what you eat
Kristin says people really need to realize that what you put in your body directly affects your emotional health and your happiness and also how much you hydrate. And again, it’s about that “choice” word. She says a good question to ask yourself before making a food decision, especially if you know it’s not a good one is “Is this choice I’m about to make in alignment with the bigger picture for what I truly desire for my life?” Making food choices that align with your big picture for what you want your body to look and feel like are life changers. There are foods out there that are happiness-boosting, too, that have compounds in them that can actually boost your serotonin or release anxiety. And we wish it were true but it’s not that package of M&Ms that are going to do it.