A book I stumbled across years ago that gives me comfort from time to time is called Happiness is a Choice. It’s a challenging paradigm, as it posits that there are certain beliefs that support happiness and well-being and increase our “Happiness IQ” and certain ones that don’t.
In my eternal quest to both honour my animal body and increase my quotient of well-being, I offer you these beliefs they suggest can help us in our human quest for happiness.
There are 3 Happiness Beliefs that can either lower the capacity to choose happiness or increase our capacity to choose happiness. They are:
HAPPINESS IQ BELIEF #1:
- A low happiness IQ belief: “I can’t choose how I feel – it depends on what happens (the stimulus).”
- A high happiness IQ belief: “How I feel isn’t determined by what happens, but what I believe about what happens and I choose my beliefs, so in that way, I can choose happiness.”
HAPPINESS IQ BELIEF #2:
- A low happiness IQ belief: “I have to feel angry or worried to take care of something I care about.”
- A high happiness IQ belief: “I don’t need to get upset to take care of myself or others – I just have to know what I want.”
HAPPINESS IQ BELIEF #3:
- A low happiness IQ belief: “It’s only human to get unhappy when things don’t go the way I want.”
- A high happiness IQ belief: “There isn’t one per-determined way to respond to things.”
The whole premise that the book encourages is to shift from a place of feeling out of control to having a sense of efficacy when it comes to your own feelings. There is a more fundamental belief underlying the happiness philosophy which is shifting from:
“My mind just does what it does and thinks what it thinks and operates outside of my control.” To “I am the pilot of my mind and creator of my thoughts.”
This philosophy is easy to criticize, as we don’t really know where thoughts come from and sometimes we get an amygdala hijack that has very little to do with choosing! At the same time, finding our place inside where we feel more expansive than our little selves, can bring much comfort, joy and – yes – happiness!