When I was younger I had a blood disorder that affected my serotonin levels and caused me to be depressed. At seven years old I would watch cartoons and break out into tears. I felt like I was losing the battle against my emotions.
I thought a lot about what it means to be happy, and how I could be happier despite this chemical imbalance.
I'm not sure if I've ever really won this battle of emotions. I still have ups and downs, good days and bad days.
But I've realized that when it comes to being happy, the circumstances don't matter that much. It's all about your perspective and your mindsets.
So here are the 3 mindsets that we need to be happy.
1) Our Present Does NOT Dictate Our Future
No matter where we are, how we feel, or what we are doing—that doesn't decide what will happen in our future.
When everything is going wrong in our lives, we'll have a hard time imagining a hopeful future.
And you aren't the only person that gets trapped in this feeling of doom and gloom. Impact bias is the tendency for people to overestimate the length or the intensity of future feeling states.
When we are depressed we can only assume that we will be depressed forever. We are twenty feet deep in a hole with only a shovel—we feel we can only go further down.
But if we have this mindset instilled within us, we'll be able to get out eventually.
2) The Past Is A Story, The Future Is An Imagination
If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. But, if you are at peace, you are living in the present. -Lao Tzu
We spend a lot of time regretting the past, or worrying about the future. But we don't realize that these things are not exactly what they seem.
Humans are naturally pretty terrible at remember the past. Every time we recall a past memory we are actually remembering the last time we remembered it. In this process we alter the memory.
After years and years, the past is just a collection of completely inaccurate stories we tell ourselves. Some of us tell happy stories, some tell sad stories, but they are all stories.
Don't base your emotions on the past.
The rest of the time we spend worrying about the future.
We stress about deadlines, awkward conversations, whether we will find love, get the job, and even whether or not we will be happy.
Think about that. We ruin our happiness in the present because we are worrying about whether or not we will be happy in the future.
Humans are bad at correctly recalling the past, and we are also terrible at predicting the future. Every doomsday scenario that plays out in our heads fail to come to pass.
The solution is to not regret the past, but move on, and not worry about the future, but live in the moment.
3) We Don't NEED A Reason To Be Happy
This is the most important mindset for happiness. If you need a reason to be happy, your happiness can always be taken away.
Happiness is something we should try to cultivate within us. We need to learn to be happy for the sake of being happy.
Material possessions, promotions, friends, relationships, respect—these are all great and should make us happy, but we should never rely on them to be happy.
If we learn to be happy for no reason at all, we'll be able to keep our happiness no matter what happens around us.
And that's what we all want right, to be happy?