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The Hide and Seek Of Happiness – Where To Look and How To Find It

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Finding Happiness The Bucket List

I just finished watching the film, ‘The Bucket List’, one of my all time favourite, feel-good movies. Not only do I like the entertaining duo of Morgan Freeman the benevolent, wise soul and Jack Nicholson, who has the alacrity of a 5 year old, but I also like the significance of the film. ‘Our quest in life’. I think we all spend our lives on a quest. Osho referred to life as a quest and not a question, maybe a quest for meaning, for love, perhaps an esoteric piece of wisdom and for many … the quest for happiness.

There’s a scene in The Bucket List where Nicholson reads the letter Freeman wrote him, where he says, ‘find the joy in your life.’

FIND THE JOY. How do we define joy? Is a large portion of our lives spent on the attainment of happiness and is it sustainable? Happiness is an emotion, a mood, a feeling, and a dynamic state. It isn’t a destination we miraculously arrive at, it’s about cultivating moments’ of joy throughout the journey, and most importantly … happiness is a decision. It’s derived from intrinsic motivation. If we’re continually questioning when we’ll find happiness, and what exactly will create that happiness, then we’re depending on external factors and therefore not being accountable for our own lives.

Aristotle Happiness In Life Create A Bucket ListThe Greek philosopher Aristotle, devoted his research to the study of happiness. Aristotle questioned the meaning of life and the purpose of human existence suggesting that happiness was the fundamental motivator. He related it to virtue and attainment for the greater good, as opposed to individualistic gain and defined virtue as maintaining the median. Artistotle’s theory is comparable to the Buddhist philosophy of the ‘middle path’ or the ‘middle way’, which is concerned with the balance between hedonism and abstinence.

Buddhists also advocate that contentment is a more achievable state than happiness. If we reflect on the catalysts in our lives that have generated happiness, buying a new car, passing an exam, falling in love to name a few examples, I’m sure we would discover these states are temporary, impermanent and therefore … unsustainable.

In her article ‘Being Happy’, Doctor Charmaine Saunders provides three main tips for attaining happiness which include, conquering your fears, what she refers to as ‘looking for the gem’ and seeing the magic. Dr Saunders posits that our fear stifles many aspects of our life and that instead looking for the positives is a surer way to happiness.

In 1972, Bhutan’s fourth King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, coined the phrase Gross National Happiness (GNH) to demonstrate his commitment in developing a nation established on Buddhist principles. This concept was later developed by Kara Ura The Director of the Centre for Bhutan Studies, to holistically measure the quality of national well-being.

The research concluded that the factors contributing to individual and therefore collective happiness included, the work-life balance, good governance, sustainable socio-economic development, cultural preservation, and environmental conservation and has since been adopted by various other leading nations. It seems the quest for happiness is now a global phenomenon.

 

The path to a more content life

 

The Bucket List Of Your Life

Healthy mind, healthy body

There is an old expression which refers to a healthy body in a healthy mind – Mens sana in corpore sano. I promote the regular exercise, balanced diet theory, however, I’m also an advocate for holistic health and feel that if we are in a continual state of stress and anxiety, we don’t possess the motivation to eat, eat nutritiously, cook or to engage in exercise. Our eating patterns become irregular, we crave for foods containing high quantities of sugar, salts and starch, sleep routines become disrupted and irregular and we don’t possess the impetus to exercise or even socialise. These factors can contribute to severe mental health issues including depression, anxiety disorders and a range of physical conditions.

Constant worry, stress, fatigue and physical ailments, may be an indication that you need to reassess key relationships, career, and seeking the guidance and support of a health professional, to implement changes to your lifestyle, which leads me to my next point …

 

A balanced lifestyle

‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy …’ another cliché or perhaps another universal truth? With rapid globalisation and technological advancement, human beings are in a constant state of flux. Work demands, financial obligations and family commitments are common stressors which can affect our quality of life. Happiness is about maintaining the balance between the physical, emotional, and spiritual.

Sufficient rest, exercise and a balanced, healthy diet are essential, as well as discovering a talent, hobby, enrolling in a course, learning to meditate or practicing yoga, however, make sure you engage in activities and, with people you feel enhance your life, and contribute to it positively. Whatever you choose to do and whomever you choose to do it with, just remember that everything in life is interconnected, and occurs in duality, there are always seeds of hope in despair and fear at it’s best is inspiration, it is up to us to create the balance.

 

A Bucket List

If you haven’t all ready, I would strongly recommend you rent the film ‘The Bucket List’. If anything at all, I’m sure you will at least take away with you, the courage to convert your fears and create your own bucket list. Find half an hour to sit down somewhere quiet and start creating your list. Perhaps there are things you have always wanted to do but have always deterred yourself because instead, you listen to that little voice inside your, or perhaps to that little nagging voice of others. Maybe you have always had the support of others but have never had the self-belief and confidence.

Drown out the inner noise and that voice of others and … just write it. Once you have written your list, it might also require further planning, for example, if your list contains goals that involve finances, such as travel, or a specific allocation of time, like a course of study. Don’t forget to specify your short, mid and long term goals, a time frame and additional considerations to achieve the outcome.

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain, it’s all an experience and it’s how you reframe that experience which determines the ‘real’ outcome.

To quote my Mum, who always adopts a positive approach to life ‘don’t be afraid of succeeding!’ I questioned her, thinking she made an error, and that what she meant to say was ‘don’t be afraid of failing’, but she assured me, that, ‘don’t be afraid of succeeding’ was precisely, what she meant to say.

Enjoy the journey …

Charlette is a qualified Social Worker and lecturer in ESL, and currently teaches refugees and migrants from diverse ethnic backgrounds. Charlette would like to use her writing as a catalyst for social awareness to empower, motivate and inspire people and make a meaningful difference. Her writing is informed by her increasing knowledge from her work, volunteering and activism, which contributes to her writing.

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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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Life

3 Simple Steps to Cultivate Courage and Create a Life of Meaning

we cultivate meaning in our lives when we pursue our calling

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Our deepest human desire is to cultivate meaning in our lives. Our deepest human need is to survive. (more…)

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Life

Grit: The Key to Your Ultimate Greatness

Grit is an overlooked aspect of success, but it plays a critical role.

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A grit mindset is an essential key to your greatness. It’s what separates those who achieve their goals from those who give up and never reach their potential. It’s also the difference between success and failure, happiness and misery. If you want to be great and achieve your dreams, then you need grit. Luckily, it’s something that can be learned. Please keep reading to learn more about grit and discover four ways to develop it. (more…)

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