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Create Your Happiness, Don’t Pursue It!

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If you’d like to learn how to stop worrying about things you cannot control so you can create your own happiness, sign up for the free 90-Day Master Class hosted by the founder of Addicted2Success.com, Joel Brown.


2020 has been quite the year so far. It’s easy to slip and let our minds wander over what the next six months will look like. The last ones have been an emotional roller coaster full of national disasters, political uprising, overt racism, and a massive pandemic that has completely flipped the world on its head. It’s easy to be overwhelmed with all of this going around, so what can we do about it? More importantly, how will we be able to move forward with our lives? 

The answer: Create your own happiness

Over the last 15 years, the emerging field of positive psychology has taken the world by storm, creating a completely different dialogue about positive emotions and happiness. Chasing the “Pursuit of Happiness” sounds great in theory, but as neuroscience has shown, it’s flawed and outdated for multiple reasons. 

“Happiness doesn’t depend on any external conditions, it is governed by our mental attitude.” – Dale Carnegie

Create Your Happiness, Don’t Wait For It To Come To You

If we genuinely want to be happy, we have to create it. Why? Because we can’t wait around for a specific event, date, or object to come into our lives. If it doesn’t happen, our happiness will never occur. More importantly, studies continue to show this concept is backward, as happiness fuels long-term success and fulfillment, not the other way around. 

Barbara Erickson is one of the leading researchers at the forefront of positive psychology. She coined the “Broaden and Build” theory, which states that positive emotions (i.e., joy, love, contentment, interest) can broaden our ability to process information. These positive emotions facilitate the creation of more thoughtful, creative, and open-minded answers to questions compared to individuals who are under stress or fear. And those who become “primed” with positive emotions before answering questions can generate a broader and more extensive set of thoughts and ideas compared to those who have been prefaced with negative emotions. 

Scientists have also found that positive emotions can even change how our visual cortex processes information, allowing greater expansion of our peripheral lines of vision. Let that one sink in for a minute! 

While this may sound great, it has essential applications in the real world. According to Shawn Achor in his book The Happiness Project, doctors who are placed into a positive mood before seeing patients show almost three times more intelligence and creativity than colleagues in a neutral state, making accurate diagnoses 19% faster than their counterparts. Even more convincing is the fact that sales individuals who possess optimistic traits outsell their negative-minded sales counterparts by 56%. 

Companies are finally starting to find out how powerful our mindset and beliefs can be for hiring and onboarding new employees. One study even looked at 112 entry-level accountants and asked them about their potential abilities to accomplish critical tasks before being hired. Those who merely believed they could achieve the tasks scored the best job performance ratings from their superiors compared to their peers. The best part about these findings is the fact that the beliefs in their abilities were a more reliable predictor of performance than the actual skillset or previous training they had in previous jobs. 

With 95% of HR leaders stating that employee burnout is “sabotaging workforce retention,” creating happiness should be our number one priority because it can provide significant change and necessary improvements in our personal and professional lives. 

So what is the best way to facilitate happiness

Keep It Simple: Happiness is What You Make It

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that you need to wait to make a million dollars or find the love of your life for you to be happy. We’ve all been stuck in that thought process at some point in our lives. The problem with this type of thinking is that it doesn’t make sense because we’re putting the cart way before the horse. 

In 1978, researchers at Northwestern University and University of Massachusetts created a gound-breaking study that focused on assessing the overall happiness between 2 vastly different groups of people: Those who had recently won lottery prizes ranging from $50,000 to $1 million and those who have recently experienced a catastrophic accident, causing paraplegia or quadriplegia. 

Over time, when asked about simple interactions like chatting with friends, laughing at a joke, eating breakfast, and watching TV, they found that the recent accident victims experienced greater happiness than the lottery winners. Why? Because they realized that their happiness wasn’t as a result of their external circumstances. It was a result of their unique perspective on life, even though it was vastly different from where they were before their accident. 

Now, I would never wish paralysis or disability upon anyone, but this study brings some crucial points to the conversation. 

Money can improve your overall quality and life and sense of security, but it doesn’t mean you will inherently be happier. Stop wasting your time focusing on external factors that may or may not be under your control. As the research shows, happiness in the present can bring greater success in the future. Use it to your advantage. 

External factors, such as paralysis or disability, don’t have as much of a negative influence as one would expect. We can attribute this change in perspective to “affective forecasting,” a classic psychological theory describing the process of overestimating how much we will enjoy or hate a specific event in the future. While this may seem trivial, it can have significant consequences on our physical and mental health. 

If we don’t receive the expected outcome we were hoping for, we will always be let down and left unsatisfied. 

“The key to being happy is knowing you have the power to choose what to accept and what to let go.” – Dodinsky

Don’t Worry, Be Happy

The best part about these cognitive processes is that these “expectation” effects wear off relatively quickly, meaning that no matter how bad or good the outcome was, we all possess the ability to bounce back and find happiness, regardless of the circumstances we are placed in. 

Pro Tip: If you genuinely want to find greater happiness in your life, start by listing three things that make you happy throughout the day. Write it down, post it on your LinkedIn, or share it with a loved one. The more happiness you perceive, the more your brain believes it occurred, which creates more feelings and experiences of happiness around you. 

Happiness is a choice, not an event or circumstance. And it will always be up to you to create your own happiness, so what are you waiting for? 

What makes you happy? Share your thoughts with us below!

Dr. Erik Reis a high-performance consultant, executive health coach, and national speaker, with over 7 years of clinical experience working with some of the most complex neurological and metabolic conditions throughout the world. He believes the connection between optimal neurological function and physical health is essential to understanding how to fully maximize brain function and cognitive performance in the workplace, which is why SHIFT takes a multifaceted approach in working with businesses and employees to optimize workplace productivity and employee engagement. Click here to visit his website.

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Life

The Imbalanced Problem with Work/Life Balance

Balancing is for your checkbook, gymnastics, and nutrition; not for your people’s work/life ratio.

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Balance…it requires an equal distribution of value between two or more subjects to maintain steady composure and equitable proportionality. (more…)

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Life

How to Find the Courage to Start New

Change is scary, but it’s a normal part of life.

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It’s 2023, a new year, new you, right? But how do we start over? How do we make the changes in our lives that we crave so much to see?  (more…)

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Life

Failing is More Important Than Succeeding

Failure is an integral part of life as life is incomplete without failures.

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People often consider failure a stigma.  Society often doesn’t respect the people who failed and avoids and criticizes their actions. Failure is an integral part of life as life is incomplete without failures. Not to have endeavored is worse than failing in life as at some stage of your life you regret not having tried in your life.  (more…)

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5 Indicators of Unresolved Attachment Trauma

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Emotional Attachment Trauma

Trauma caused during specific stages of a child’s development, known as attachment trauma, can have lasting effects on a person’s sense of safety, security, predictability, and trust. This type of trauma is often the result of abuse, neglect, or inconsistent care from a primary caregiver.

Individuals who have not fully processed attachment trauma may display similar patterns of behavior and physical or psychological symptoms that negatively impact their adult lives, including the choices they make in relationships and business.

Unfortunately, many people may not even be aware that they are struggling with trauma. Research estimates that 6% of the population will experience PTSD in their lifetime, with a majority of males and females having experienced significant trauma.

Unresolved attachment trauma can significantly impair the overall quality of a person’s life, including their ability to form healthy relationships and make positive choices for themselves. One well-known effect of unhealed attachment trauma is the compulsion to repeat past wounds by unconsciously selecting romantic partners who trigger their developmental trauma.

However, there are other less recognized but equally detrimental signs of unprocessed developmental trauma.

 

Five possible indications of unresolved attachment trauma are:

 

1.  Unconscious Sabotage

Self-sabotage is a common pattern among individuals with unprocessed attachment trauma. This cycle often begins with hurting others, which is then followed by hurting oneself. It is also common for those with attachment trauma to have heightened emotional sensitivity, which can trigger this cycle.

This pattern can manifest in lashing out, shutting down, or impulsive behavior that leads to feelings of guilt, shame, and self-loathing.

Many people with attachment trauma are not aware of their wounds and operate on survival mode, unconsciously testing or challenging the emotional investment of those around them, and pushing them away out of self-preservation and fear of abandonment.

This can lead to a pattern of making poor choices for themselves based on impulsivity.

 

2. Persistent Pain

 
Chronic pain is a common symptom that can stem from early trauma. Studies have shown a connection between physical conditions such as fibromyalgia, headaches, gastrointestinal issues, insomnia, muscle aches, back pain, chest pain, and chronic fatigue with the aftermath of chronic developmental trauma, particularly physical abuse.
 
Research has found that individuals with insecure attachment styles, such as anxious, avoidant, or disorganized, have a higher incidence of somatic symptoms and a history of physical and emotional abuse in childhood compared to those with a secure attachment style.
 
 

3. Behaviors That Block Out Trauma

 
Trauma blocking practises are used to avoid the pain and memories connected with traumatic events.
 
Emotional numbing, avoidance, and escape via briefly pleasurable activities that distract from terrible memories or suffering are common examples. Unfortunately, this escape habit stops people from successfully processing and recovering from their trauma.
 
Furthermore, when the pain resurfaces, more and more diversions are necessary to continue ignoring it. This can be seen in compulsive behaviours such as drug or alcohol addiction, emotional eating, numbing oneself through relationships, workaholism, excessive or dangerous exercise routines, compulsive internet or technology use, or any other compulsive behaviour used to distract yoursef from intrusive thoughts and emotions.
 
These actions have the potential to prolong a cycle of avoidance and repression, preventing persons from healing and progressing.
 

4. A strong need for control

 
It’s understandable that some people may struggle with control issues in their adult lives, especially if they felt helpless or vulnerable during their childhood.
 
This can happen if someone had an overbearing caregiver who didn’t let them make their own choices, expected too much from them, or didn’t take care of them properly. As adults, they might try to control everything in their life to feel more in control and less anxious or scared. This might be because they didn’t feel like they had control over their life when they were a child.
 
It’s important to remember that everyone’s experiences are different and it’s okay to seek help if you’re struggling with control issues.
 
 

5. Psychological Symptoms That Are Not Explained

 
Individuals with a history of developmental trauma may experience a range of psychological symptoms, including obsessive-compulsive behavior, intense mood swings, irritability, anger, depression, emotional numbing, or severe anxiety.
 
These symptoms can vary in intensity and may occur intermittently throughout the day. People with this type of trauma may attempt to “distract” themselves from these symptoms by denying or rationalizing them, or may resort to substance abuse or behavioral addictions as coping mechanisms. This can be a maladaptive way of trying to numb their symptoms.
 
 

What to do next if you’re suffering from emotional attachment trauma?

 
Everyone’s experience of healing from trauma is unique. It’s important to be aware of whether you have experienced childhood developmental trauma and how it may be affecting your relationships as an adult. Sometimes, the effects of trauma can be overwhelming and we may try to push them away or avoid them.
 
If you notice that you’re engaging in these behaviors, it’s important to seek help from a trauma therapist who can support you on your healing journey. Remember, you’re not alone and it’s never too late to start healing.
 

There are several ways that people can work to overcome emotional attachment trauma:

  1. Therapy: One of the most effective ways to overcome emotional attachment trauma is through therapy. A therapist can help you process your experiences, understand the impact of your trauma on your life, and develop coping strategies to manage symptoms.
  2. Support groups: Joining a support group of people who have had similar experiences can be a great way to find validation, empathy, and a sense of community.
  3. Mindfulness practices: Mindfulness practices such as meditation, pilates, prayer time with God or journaling can help you become more aware of your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations, and develop a sense of spiritual connection and self-regulation.
  4. Trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy (TF-CBT): This is a type of therapy that is specifically designed to help individuals process and recover from traumatic events.
  5. Building a safety net: Building a support system of people you trust, who are there for you when you need them, can help you feel more secure and safe in your life.

It’s important to remember that healing from emotional attachment trauma is a process and it may take time. It’s also important to find a therapist who is experienced in treating trauma, who you feel comfortable talking with, and who can help you develop a personalized treatment plan.

 
 
If you desire to work with me on healing your wounds and unlocking the aspects of you that were never realized so you can achieve more success in your life then head over to awebliss.com and join my weekly LIVE online mentorship calls.
 
 
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