We’ve been sold a bill of goods for what we believe will bring happiness. Most of these false assumptions center around consumerism and buying your way to supposed happiness through wealth. One of the leading scientists in the study of happiness, Dr. Ed Diener, interviewed 49 of the wealthiest people in America and found that their happiness levels were only slightly above average. Similar findings have been uncovered in happiness and wealth correlation studies of nations. Among the more economically advanced nations, America ranks sixth out of seven with Switzerland, Denmark and Canada ranking first, second, and third. Of course as you would expect, the least wealthy countries were also the least happy. There is a moderate ground to seek – enough wealth to take us out of direct need but not so much as it leads to distraction. It what Vicki and Joe Dominguez termed “the Point of Enoughness in their 1990’s book.
Another study by a preeminent happiness researcher, Dr. David Myers showed the percentage of people in America from 1956 to 2000 pretty much flat-lined as their disposable income skyrocketed up since around 1960. What these studies indicate is that money not only can’t buy you love, but it can’t buy happiness past a certain point of enoughness. Of course all the advertisers and manufacturers out there try to convince us that if we buy their product, then we’ll be happier. It’s simply not true, yet we buy into it every time we make a purchase of something not out of necessity. We are all living proof of the grand conspiracy if we have closets, drawers, and garages stockpiled with things we can live without. I can’t even count the number of people I saw this holiday season walking around carrying flat-screen TV boxes. It was really quite a sobering sight.
Here are six tools offered to you according to the book What Happy People Know to help dig out of the consumerism daze and lead you on the true path to satisfying happiness:
- Appreciation is the most fundamental happiness tool as it is the purest, strongest form of love. Research has shown that it is physiologically impossible to be in a state of appreciation and gratitude and fear at the same time. Love and gratitude are stronger than fear because they are products of the neocortex and not the lower brain. Something I’ve posted about in the past and will share again is the simple reply one of my spiritual leaders suggested in response to the ubiquitous greeting, “how are you?”, is to answer “Grateful, thank you. And you?” If you stop and think about how many times a day you are asked the question “How are you?”, you can only imagine how often you will disperse to the universe that you are grateful. It is a great way to remind yourself to remain in a state of appreciation.
- Choice, the book says, is the father of freedom and the voice of the heart. When we have no sense of choice, we feel deprived, defeated, and in despair which leads to depression, anxiety and a condition called learned helplessness. We have choices and most of the happy people have consciously chosen their path, while unhappy people tend to choose fear and give in to that automatic sense of fleeing or freezing. Use your intellect and spiritual senses and make wise choices. It reminds me of what Anthony Robbins teaches; you don’t have a money problem, you have a lack of ideas problem. You have choices.
- Personal Power is similar to character that gives you control over your feelings, your actions, your thoughts, your behavior and your fate. Take 100% responsibility for your actions and I do mean 100% responsibility to avoid victim status of what happens for you, not to you. When you have a good sense of personal power, you’re secure with who you are and what you have and are immune to what others say, think or do to you.
- Leading with your strengths and being bigger than your challenges and situations without giving in to fear. Taking a truthful assessment of your strengths and leading with them feels good and allows us to conquer everyday challenges and builds self-confidence. Success leads to bigger success and it continues to spiral up and out.
- The power of language and stories to create our world is a heady stuff. We don’t describe the world we see, we see the world we describe. How do you describe your life? What is your life story? What old stories are you hanging onto that you’ve outgrown? Language has the power to alter perception. What kind of language do you use? Are you saying you have to, want to, or get to do something? What message is that sending to your sub-conscious and to your body? The stories of our lives and the stories we tell ourselves become our lives – how do you see your life? What spin are you putting on the experiences in your life and the actions you take? We have the power of choice to tell healthy stories or horror stories.
- Multidimensional living which embraces three main components of relationships, health, and purpose, which is usually our work. Make sure you are putting energy into all three areas. Usually if we are unhappy, we discover we’ve put too much energy into one area or not enough in the other areas and our lives get lopsided. Because of our fear of scarcity and not feeling that we have enough, let alone not be enough, most Americans focus more on their work. I say work instead of purpose because in my work experience, most people have no clue as to their personal purpose. We can help you discover that very easily if you’re interested – it’s in your personal GPS system, Genetic Purpose System in your fingertips. We’re all born with our purpose and it was formed in utero for us. We just need to decipher what it is, but I digress….. Many research studies have concluded that we simply have this scarcity fear burned into our brains. Face the facts of the studies that no matter how much you have, you won’t feel that it is enough and then decide to be happy no matter what.
Just accept that we generally won’t feel we have enough and stop waiting to accumulate enough, whatever enough is for you, and make a decision to be happy with what you have. Enjoy the now and practice the six tools to happiness and the other guides to happiness over the past year and have fun re-creating happiness in your life. Happy New Year – may you be more happy this year than last and even happier next year as you practice the steps.
As the CEO (Chief Energizing Officer) at Hartful Living including GaiaHart.com and BizBuilderCards.com; I’m a Messenger and Mentor for women entrepreneurs, connecting them to their capacity to energize their work and their lives in the art of living Hartfully. At BizBuilderCards.com, you can make a living through giving with greeting cards and gifts to build your network net worth as an additive to your current business or an easy way to send gratitude and kindness to the world.