3 Mindset Shifts That Will Make You Happier

genuine happiness thinking May 16, 2021
happy woman with hands in gratitude


It’s true that your mindset can be your greatest ally or your greatest enemy in life. And when it comes to happiness, mindset is up there in the ranks with social support and love! It can be a deal-maker or a deal-breaker. And when I say “mindset”, I’m not talking about any ‘ol mindset and I’m certainly not telling you that you need to change it from negative to positive. Moreso, I am referring to the fact that there are critical beliefs or mindsets that we each have about ourselves, about happiness, and about life that can keep us from achieving the natural and free-flowing kind of joy that we want. When these are shifted and their alternatives are adopted and embodied, a 180° turn naturally happens in the quality of your life.


From all the shifts in mindset I’ve experienced to date, there are three in particular that stand out when it comes to happiness:


1. Happiness doesn’t mean being happy all the time.


Happiness doesn’t mean being happy all of the time. More than anything, happiness is based on your ability to be content no matter what is happening around you. You see, ups and downs are a part of life and up doesn’t necessarily need to mean ecstatically happy and down doesn’t need to mean low in despair. You can experience stress, sadness, and worry and be okay amidst it all, thereby allowing yourself to experience true happiness.


The hedonistic view of happiness as a byproduct of maximum pleasure and avoidance of or minimum pain might help you attain happiness momentarily, but it won’t do you much good in the long term. If you’re seeking simply hedonistic pleasure, you’ll be running around trying your best to have happiness peaks and ultimate highs while running away from unpleasant or painful feelings. And what will happen is that you’ll coincidentally also be running away from sustainable, long-term happiness.


When you stop avoiding hard times and learn, little by little, to respond to challenges by choosing to learn and grow from the experiences instead, you will undoubtedly experience higher levels of happiness. It may sound counterintuitive, but it’s true (look for my step-by-step course on dealing with negative feelings, coming soon!). In fact, the extent of your happiness is only as limited as your ability to tolerate and be okay during periods of discomfort. When you shift your mindset to embrace this idea, prepare yourself, because a deeper, truer kind of joy will be available to you.

The extent of your happiness is only as limited as your ability to tolerate and be okay during periods of discomfort.

Which brings us to number 2…


2. Happiness isn’t a feeling; it’s a skill that you can build and get better at over time.


You may have heard of the set-point theory of happiness that suggests that people’s happiness is pre-determined by their genes and personality traits set early on in life. This theory, if you haven’t yet heard, has been rampantly challenged. Rather than remaining stable, happiness levels can and do change over a person’s lifetime (it’s this fact, by the way, that led me to choose the career that I did… more on that another time :)).

More than a feeling, happiness is a skill that each of us can build and get better at over time.

3. Your current situation is not your final destination.


The third mindset shift that it helps you to consider if genuine happiness is what you’re longing for is to trust that your current situation is not your final destination. Very much related to #2, within this shift lies the possibility of improvement, the feeling of empowerment, and the life-saving essence of hope. No matter what is going on right now and how bad or unpleasant it might be, you’ve got to know that it will change. It’s the nature of life — change— and it’s one thing we can always bank on.


That’s why there is never a reason to give up. Ever. Because no matter how hurtful or hard it gets, nothing stays the same. If it feels okay for you to do so right now, think back to one of the difficult times you’ve had in your life... a time that just plain old sucked. Did you stay in it forever? Did anything come out of it? Are you okay after having gone through it? The truth is that in every moment of darkness, there is a glimmer of light, and it’s that glimmer of light that carries the torch of our life into the next series of moments, days, weeks, and years of it. No matter what is going on, we can mentally invite ourselves to find that bit of hope or optimism wherever we can and hold onto it, knowing that it won’t be this way forever.


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