When I choose my word for the year to be Joy, I wanted to be happier every day. Transitions are hard, and I wanted to intentionally manage the roller coaster of feelings this huge change of entering retirement was creating in my life.
Being the geeky researcher, I did a bunch of reading about emotions.
While happiness, the positive end of the emotions scale, does have a genetic component (some people are naturally happier than others), a huge part of personal happiness is one’s attitudes, habits and thoughts.
Various books encourage you to identifying the emotions you are feeling. Once you have the emotion identified, you can address it head on. The idea is to move to a more positive emotion by consciously thinking about the situation differently, changing beliefs thru affirmations, or working with gratitude lists to increase positive feelings. Feel and deal.
I started with an emotions list from Ask & It Is Given, but found it needed more positive levels! It was ironic, as I was trying to be happier in my emotions, how many more words there are for negative emotions.
|Emotions – positive to negative|
|Joy, Love, Happiness|
|Enthusiasm, Eagerness, Positive Expectation|
|Jubilation, Celebration, Delight|
|Empathy, Sympathy, Caring, Compassion|
|Boredom, Loneliness, Feeling Blah|
|Frustration, Irritation, Impatience, Annoyed, Aggravation|
|Doubt, Insecurity, Uncertainty|
|Hatred, Rage, Disgust|
|Guilt, Unworthiness, Unwanted|
|Grief, Powerlessness, Helplessness|
In the morning as I am journaling, I review this emotions list and consciously identify where I am. Many mornings I am in a more positive emotional space – eagerness, freedom, or feeling content. (A shout-out to an intentional life plan that is based on my values, strengths and interests.)
But I am still on that roller-coaster of transition and some mornings I am not a “happy camper”. On those days (feeling blah, anxiety, discouraged), I might jump right into creating a gratitude list to help me start the day in a more positive place. Or think about how I will change the situation, plan something inspirational, or connect with someone to talk it out. Feel and Deal.
Increasing my emotional awareness has helped me to recognize my trigger responses and uncover some self-sabotaging patterns. I now actively use positive affirmations as the antidote to negative self-talk.
I also regularly look at my life plan and see if it meets the basic requirements of happiness: eat well, sleep well, move often, play often, connect often, learn new things, be kind. I might not be genetically pre-disposed as the happiest person, but I am choosing to be happy and find joy in each day.
Picture Credit: Pixabay