Often times as high achieving professionals, we have mastered the skill of running full force to our life’s ambitions, goals and dreams.
But often times, it comes at the cost of finding happiness. We begin to search from from things we gain or milestones we achieve.
Unfortunately, when we begin to seek a happy life outside of ourselves, we find emptiness and unfulfillment. We are always climbing a new step, unsatisfied with the process of how we got there. We end up never reaching that happiness goal! Hedonistic adaptation is real, my friends! When we begin to get “used” to something it makes us less happy. I have found that this concept, while studied in depth in positive psychology, is very common with high achieving professionals like my dentist and healthcare colleagues. Many of us think working harder NOW will make us happier LATER.
What if we flipped the switch? What if we decided to invest in the now of being happy instead of our future happiness? What if we decided we are better than accepting a mediocre existence until our goals and dreams come to fruition?
We deserve more. We all deserve to be happy. But it is not easy to flip that mindset switch and here are some reasons why.
- We get used to being on autopilot.
We know what we know. We exercise the automaticity of our brain function has to the umpteenth degree. But what we end up lacking is the idea of self-awareness; that happiness is something we can choose and practice. Taking a few minutes a day to self-reflect can go along way and by doing this regularly, we build the muscle of awareness versus the muscle of being great at a robotic action.
- Our expectations can be the biggest roadblock to happiness.
Often times when I dig in with clients on why they think the way they do- the expectations of our life experiences, surroundings, and things we acquire can often cause us to not expand our mindset. This can lead to more self-criticism, less resilience and loathing. Being on this hamster wheel is no fun! Growing our awareness as to why we hold ourselves to such a high standard can often reveal the lens we see our reality through.
- Our digital age is not helping us.
We are constantly surrounded with the unrealistic unrealistic views of what other people‘s happiness looks like via social media. When we don’t see that we are looking at highlight reels of someones life, we may compare ourselves leading to a weaker mindset of happiness. Instead of getting sucked into the social media vortex, we can learn to use technology in a more thoughtful way. This is less draining and leads to enjoying our present moment more which flexes that happiness muscle.
- We think giving is optional.
The ideas of practicing “acts of kindness”,and showing ourselves “loving kindness” has been shown to increase our happiness immensely, according to research at the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley.. Since we are social creatures, we can grow this idea of unconditional giving and social compassion for others, and simultaneously increase our own internal happiness. So holding that door, helping someone, or lending a listening ear who needs it can often increase and give us a shot of happiness a jolt of happiness when we need it most.
- We give in to the idea that we cannot change.
We can grow our emotional intelligence! We may not be able to change life’s circumstances, but we can certainly change the way we react to things that happen in our life. By learning to respond versus react and developing a core interest in what our emotions mean, we shift the way we think and understand we can change our perspective of what is happening around us.
There is much depth to the concept of developing and sustaining a happier and more fulfilled life. Stay tuned for more articles and on my social media @theinspireddentist to learn more tools and tips for creating the life we all deserve.