Luther & Pip
For some of you this may be more challenging than others, and it can take a bit of effort to begin with, but allowing yourself to look in the mirror and focus on the good bits, not the flaws is a lovely start. Instead of honing in on the thing you did wrong, focus for a couple of seconds on the thing you did right. When we love and respect ourselves we are much more inclined to do things that serve us, like eating well, minding our physical health and believing we can achieve our goals.
Recent research within the field of Positive Psychology has a lot to contribute to this idea of being in a position of self love which actually facilitates feeling happy and achieving your goals.
Now if you ask someone why they are unhappy they will usually tell you something that is going on in their external world, or they'll say its because of their genes- that they have a family history of depression, or obesity or a neurochemical imbalance. If we were in a science class right now, this is exactly what we would be taught: You are a result of your genes and your environment.
But when positive psychologists studied happiness, they actually discovered a very different picture. What they found was that if they knew everything about your external world; how much money you make, where in the world you live, what your education level is, whether your married or not, have kids or not.... with all this information combined, short term happiness is very easy to predict.
If you eat a chocolate bar, you feel happier and five minutes later you may think 'why did I do that?!'
But when looking at long term levels of happiness: your happiness, your joy and your meaning over days weeks, months and years, having all that external information combined, psychologists can only predict 10% of the variability of happiness amongst people! 90% of long term happiness is not about your external circumstances, its about how the human brain processes the world you find yourself in.
How you process the life you have, the size you are and most importantly, your relationship with yourself, is to do with the position you take up in the world, not your circumstances. If you change the lens through which you view the world and your experience of it, you will actually dramatically increase your level of happiness, wellbeing and self love.
Unfortunately most people follow a formula for happiness and success that's actually scientifically broken and backwards, which actually limits both happiness and success. Most people think "if I can just work harder right now, then I'll be successful" or "as soon as I achieve my desired weight then I'll be much happier".
Think about how often we do that! "As soon as I lose the weight I'll feel good about myself"...or "as soon as I fit into that outfit I'll like myself"... or "as soon as I meet the right partner I'll feel happier"...
In each one of those moments, happiness is on the opposite side of success.
The problem is, every time you achieve your goal your brain changes the goal posts of what your desire looks like. So if you achieve your desired weight, you suddenly feel you need to lose more!
So we need to turn the formula on its head.
What psychologists have found is that when the brain is in a position of feeling positive, our ability to achieve our goal or desired outcome improves dramatically.
A lot of people think that happiness can be reduced to genes and their environment, but research proves that its absolutely not true.
You can deviate from your genes and your environment if you commit to just two minutes a day.
Positive psychologists conducted an experiment with a group of people who were potentially 'genetic pessimists'. People who had been practicing pessimism their whole lives and at the time of the experiment, were in the middle of the recession, so they had lots to feel down about! They were required to record three things that they were grateful for every morning for 21 days. By the end of the experiment they had 63 things that they were grateful for, which is robust, but not the point.
The point is happiness is a pattern within the brain and you can actually learn to be in a state of happiness. Not if you do isolated bursts of changes in your life, but by actually creating positive patterns in your daily experience.
As the pessimists started their day thinking of three things they were grateful for, their brain got 'stuck'. They started scanning the world, not just for the fires they need to put out, or what they feel they were lacking, but also for the things that provided meaning. They had begun to create a happiness advantage. This resulted in their health and well being improving, their relationships improving and their ability to achieve their goals improving.
So what the researchers found was that by getting people to think of three things they were grateful for over the course of 21 days, they literally trained their brains to become more optimistic. This shift dramatically changed their experience of their world and facilitated them to much more easily achieve their goals.
Would you believe that you can do this with 4 year old children, and 84 year old grumpy men! Whats truly amazing is, if you chose to do this, your levels of happiness and optimism will rise above your genetic set point and indeed deviate from your environment. This is so powerful because people really believe that they cant move beyond their situation. But you absolutely can!
With this in mind, I want you to start by consciously shifting to a position of gratitude and happiness in order to allow for some self love. It's time to create some new thought patterns...