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Thought for the Day: How to Be Happy All the Time

I just recently finished my first official book called “Grow Happy – the 5 Transforming Steps of Lasting Happiness”. If you’d like to check it out, just go to Amazon.com and type in “Grow Happy”. The process of getting all those ideas into a book form has been giving me some new insights into how to share some of the ideas in an even more streamlined way. Here’s one of them:

Think of being happy as riding on waves. The waves rise from nothing, build to a peak and then crash down only to from another wave. No two waves are exactly the same. No two waves form in exactly the same place or at exactly the same speed or are the exact same size and shape. But the waves always continue. There are some times when the ride is really intense and moving fast and there are other times when you are peacefully waiting for the next wave to form. There is always another wave.

When you are riding on waves (by body surfing or with a surf board or other floating device), you know the trick is to stay on the wave as long as you can. You have to let the wave take you where it is going. You can’t decide half way through that the wave is going to take you somewhere other than where it is going, because you would fall off. Also, if you decide to stop yourself from moving with the wave, you fall off as well. If you decide to not ride waves at all by trying to stay where you think no waves will form, eventually the waves find you.

Science has been steadily proving that everything we perceive (including our own bodies) is made of the same energy. Happiness is simply us experiencing the movement of this energy. Conversely, unhappiness is simply us not experiencing the movement of this energy. This is when we feel stuck, stagnant or like we’re being drawn under.

Energy moves in waves. Being happier in life is as simple as learning how to better ride waves. To ride waves well, all we need to do is pay attention to where the waves are and then stay on them as long as we can. We can always know where the waves are by paying attention to our own feelings of excitement. The feeling of excitement we feel inside our body IS our current wave of happiness.

Just like we would use our sense of sight to pay attention to where the waves were if we were in the ocean, we use our sense of feeling to know where the waves of happiness are by paying attention to what we feel excited about. The better we get at noticing when we feel excited and then moving with that excitement, the better we get at riding the waves of happiness and the happier we become.

Whenever we are unhappy it is because we have either fallen off a wave or we have been avoiding waves altogether.

There are only three ways we can be unhappy:
1) By trying to stop ourselves from moving with a wave
2) By trying to force a wave to take us somewhere it is not going or
3) By trying to avoid riding waves altogether

The cause of all three of these actions is our brain creating an expectation about where a wave (or waves) will take us. Our brain simply imagines a scenario in the future with details about what might happen at the end of that wave ride. Then we allow our attention to be drawn away from the wave itself (away from our feeling of excitement) to focus on this imagined picture and we end up falling off the wave or never jumping on it to begin with.

The type of picture our brain creates determines which of the above three strategies we do. If our brain imagines a really bad scenario, then we either try to stop ourselves from moving with the wave or we try to avoid the wave altogether. If our brain imagines a really great scenario, then we often times think we know where the wave is going and we try to swim there faster. If the wave wasn’t going to the exact place we imagined, we end up falling off the wave. I’ve done this one a lot in my life!

When we remember the key is to stay on the wave as long as we can and then ride the next one, we know the way to do that is to simply pay attention to and move with the wave (what we feel excited about right now) and to not allow our brain to steal our attention away from it. As long as we are riding the wave and not focusing on where our brain might imagine it is taking us, we are feeling happy. We can remind ourselves that it’s never about knowing where the wave will take us, it’s about riding each wave as it happens. This is the destination. This is the final result. This is us paying attention to what we are excited about and then moving with that excitement. This is us being happy.

-Andy

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