Happiness is a feeling …
NLP’er’s talk a lot about how we can control our emotional state (our feelings) through our thoughts and physiology – it’s been well researched and written about extensively. Have you ever noticed how your thoughts lead to you feeling a certain way? – perhaps you realise you’ve got to do something like a presentation, and before you know it you perhaps feel nervous – and my guess is that if you had taken a snap shot of your physiology (your posture/your body) before that thought and again afterwards, you’d spot the differences (to make the point, try this little exercise – think of something that you feel happy and confident about – notice your physiology and then think of something that concerns you or you feel unsure of – notice the changes – it’s a great little exercise to do to raise your self-awareness). You can of course change your emotional state (your feelings) simply by changing how you think about and represent your experiences. Want to feel more confident, you can change your physiology in order to feel more confident – e.g. standing taller, rolling your shoulders back, sticking your chin out, and walking with an air of authority … its all helps.
So, what makes you Happy?
So we know that we can change how we feel by changing our thoughts or physiology, yet some people are relentless in their pursuit of ‘something’ or ‘someone’ to make them happy. Happiness in an inside job folks, you can use the tips above to consider how you could change your thinking – but how do we sustain it?
Some people think that they’ll be happy when they have all the money, time, wealth, person in their life etc. Research shows that material success does not necessarily mean happiness, yet it’s one of the most common ‘I’ll feel happy when …..’ (in NLP with call this a ‘complex equivilence’ and many people unknowingly equate things all the time – e.g. in this example I can’t feel happy until ‘x’ happens/is achieved etc – at NLP Practitioner level we learn how to challenge these with Meta Model linguistic challenges – a series of extremely helpful challenge I use often in Coaching). In addition, by focusing on factors outside of themselves for their happiness, people are making their happiness dependant on things they can’t necessarily control.
Thirdly, the biggest issue I can see with the pursuit of happiness is that people compare themselves to others – to me that’s the quickest way to quash happiness – people who strive to live up to other people’s models of the world and what success and happiness means to those other people. If for example people around you believe happiness is something you must feel all the time, you may pick that expectation up, or perhaps they believe happiness is a destination, and so if you adopt this you may forget to enjoy things along the way.
Finally, the other challenge for many is that their habitual ‘thought journeys’ (as I call them) – e.g. something that triggers a well trodden thought journey/path – and before you know it you’re back in unhelpful thinking – that is unlikely to lead to happiness – we can change these habits with NLP too.
So what is happiness?
People have agonized over this question for centuries. Have you ever stopped to consider what happiness means to you – perhaps now is a good time to pause for some reflection – what really is happiness for you?
Once you’ve done that it’s often useful to consider where the definition you’ve just come up with came from? – is it something you picked up as a child that you’ve simply not paused before to re-evaluated, perhaps it’s based on what those closest to you think, or perhaps you just don’t know where it came from. I’ve written about values in other articles and where they come from, but today, consider how helpful your definition of happiness is for you as you are today? – you can change if it you’d like to 🙂
NLP could help you …
If you’d like to get rid of stuff from the past that’s holding you back, change thought journeys to enable to to think differently, or perhaps you’d like the tools to better manage yourself day-to-day and become more resourceful you might want to consider coming on one of our courses. All our courses offer superb personal development for all our delegates and many people go onto doing more than just 1 course with us.
Our NLP Practitioner course is often the first course people complete with us and includes pre-course study, and 7 days of live training – it gives people the skills to make changes and develop themselves during the program, as well as equipping them to help others with the same techniques they have benefited from themselves on the course. Many of our delegates that are serious about helping others also go onto the the 4 day NLP Coach course, which includes Time Line Therapy Practitioner and Hypnosis Practitioner qualifications – which helps take them to take stride in their own development and equips them with a really comprehensive tool kit to help others.