In the last decade there have been dozens of studies around happiness. What is happiness? How was it created? How can we sustain happiness? These have been the proposals of academic studies, PhD thesis’, and the main thrust of inquiry for institutions such as the Dalai Lama’s ‘Mind Life Institute.’
Less academic, but often as if not more interesting, are the number of videos on YouTube and elsewhere that talk about happiness.
With all this new research, it is worth asking the question, “Are there any commonalities in this research which point to the source of our happiness?” or “Are there any tools for happiness?”
It turns out there are a number of commonalities. Without exception, every study that I have read, includes in their conclusions that gratitude and forgiveness are key to a person’s level of happiness. Two other key components are relationships/community and compassion.
As a pro-active and interventional psychotherapist these findings are invite me to ask a practical question: “What are practical tools that my clients can apply to manifest these two qualities, gratitude and forgiveness?”
Let’s be honest here, if you are unhappy, or depressed, being thankful and or forgiving seems to be quite a stretch! So if these are two feelings that seem to be out of reach, how can we access them as a key to finding our happiness once again?
A well-rounded psychotherapist with proactive, interventional, and life coaching skills, can work with you to create and implement practical tools that operate as the keys to these feelings and ultimately open the door back on to a world of happiness.
Although psychotherapy and coaching is most often effective in a face-to-face meeting, it has been proven that many of the skills can be taught through virtual methods, such as conference calling video calling, and even email coaching. Working with a skilled therapist is very much like working with a skilled sports coach. A therapist or coach knows the drills to help you perfect your skills, and has years of practical observation to help you fine tune your moves to achieve a winning result.
There are a multitude of tools that can tap into how your brain thinks and reprogram it for happiness. Keeping in mind that two keys are gratitude and forgiveness one such tool that can be helpful for both, does not actually require the presence of those things which you may wish to be thankful for, or may wish to forgive. The act of simply writing out any event for which you are thankful, even as small as having caught the bus on time in the morning, or catching notice of a stranger’s smile, can be any event worth putting on paper. Likewise taking the time to write out the story behind the event for which you may consider forgiveness, and making a note of how valuable a life without that stress may be in your writing, can have a profound effect. Studies show you not need even read that note to the person who you may seek to forgive. Sit down in front of a mirror, and read your letters aloud, taking the time to look yourself in the eye. Multiple studies have shown that this very simple exercise makes shifts in your brain that allow those wonderful happy hormones to begin the flow!
This exercise is one of dozens that an experienced therapist/coach can develop with you to move you away from depression or unhappiness and into a life of happiness.
If you wanted to become a world-class athlete, you would not think twice about hiring a seasoned coach. If you want to become world-class happy, so too you should consider working with an experienced therapist that can help you fine-tune your game.