Have you ever noticed what’s going on when you feel “happy”?Take a moment, maybe close your eyes, and remember a time when you felt genuinely happy. For real. Timeout for a sec. When was the last time you were all bubbly (without the bubbly)?
My theory is that we feel happy when we’re excited, lit up, enthused about life.
The origin of the word “enthusiasm” has to do with divine inspiration, a sense that our actions and life are guided and that we can experience the state of simply enjoying that (while still staying active, because our actions are aligned with this force).
When that kind of buzz takes over, it’s only fair to note that we also feel so great because a whole host of feel-good neurotransmitters are being released and carried throughout our body. The ultimate pharmacy is at work—dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, vasopressin, la la la!
But what activates that release? That’s the part I’m interested in. Because it doesn’t always correspond to our circumstances. We can feel happy or lit up in the most surprising of moments; it doesn’t have to match what’s happening around us, or our upbringing, or the car we drive.
It’s a state of being, a natural high that creates a sense of awe and reverence for what we’re capable of experiencing and becoming.
When’s the last time you felt that way? Is it possible to feel like that at will ?
My theory is YES, we can. Here are a few ways to stoke the fires:
WAY 1 :: Revisit your happy moment(s).
The best way to practice this is to close your eyes and allow yourself to relive a time/moment when you felt lit up, excited, on fire about life. Feel it, see it, experience it all over again. (If you can’t remember a time like that now, see how close you can get to imagining it or reliving a time when you felt as close to those feelings as possible.)
When you’re doing this, you’re activating your body for happiness. You are releasing the same energizing neurochemicals—dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, etc.—that were being released with the first experience. As you practice this more often, you’ll start to get really good at changing your neurochemistry and calling in happiness at will. This, in turn, will dramatically affect your everyday experiences, which will now correspond to the new, elevated frequency you are emitting.
You’ll also begin to signal your DNA in ways that enhance your potential and experience — leaving some gene expressions dormant, while activating the genes that correspond to vibrancy, health, and happiness.
WAY 2 :: Take your energy back.
Make two lists. On the first list write out all the activities, people, and circumstances that are “energy enhancers” for you. For example, you might include 1) breathwork; 2) your friend Sally, who’s always up for an adventure; 3) having a clean or tidy home….
On the second list you will put all the “energy drainers” in your life, e.g., consuming certain types of food, binging on social media, anyone who incites uncomfortable feelings in you, and so on.
After you create these two running lists, it becomes clear where to invest more of your energy and where (and with whom) to avoid (or limit) engaging your energy. Keeping these reminders close and current is another simple and effective way to start creating happiness at will.
WAY 3 :: Create, Play, Make Something!
We are creators and, as such, tend to feel happiest when we are creating something that reflects our unique human expression and experience.
What is it that you feel called to create?
As kids we do this very naturally. Then we “grow up” and most of us forget how happy it can make us. We become conditioned to believe that creating for the simple joy of it is a “waste of time” or is in some way unrealistic or irresponsible.
I call BS. Some of my most joyous moments arise while engaging in activities that have zero commercial purpose, like composing songs. But, who knows… maybe someday I’ll turn into a professional musician. 😉
Take a few minutes. Momentarily suspend the belief that you can’t or that you don’t have the time or that you have no idea what to create. How would you enjoy expressing yourself right now? Follow whatever instinctive nudges bubble to the surface. Go sing! Go dance! Go write a poem! Go draw or play with legos! Magic lives in our innocent, childlike enjoyment.
The more freedom you give yourself for this, the more freedom you will create.
There you have it. A few quick ways to boost your happiness and feel more enthusiastic and confident about life.
Now I’d love to hear from you: What practices and habits get you revved up? Please share in the comments below the times or situations when you’re at your happiest. 😀