- Robert Maurer is a Spokane psychologist, consultant and author of Mastering Fear
Research assures us that optimism and joy are essential in achieving exceptional health. So while we are improving our diets and exercising more, how can we also develop positive habits for happiness?
Our first step is to separate happiness from success. Humankind's most common self-deception is the belief that we will finally be content when we are successful. Seeking physical well-being, loving relationships, and fulfilling work are certainly worthy goals; however, as a path to happiness, they are limited. The reason? Almost any success leads us to want more! When we obtain one goal, our brains hunger for another. As a result, our goalposts for success are constantly moving, with happiness — and good health — always just out of reach.
If achieving our goals doesn't guarantee happiness, what does? Our second step is to change our internal monologues. We can gain mastery of our messages to ourselves — the source of true happiness — by turning the conversation toward gratitude. This becomes easy when we realize that we're never responding to a situation, but instead to the conversations in our head about it.
To begin, try these two powerful strategies: For 21 days, write out or share with a friend, "Three things I am grateful for..." Follow up by giving specific thanks to one person each day for a month. Be patient and try not to expect instant results. It takes time to train your brain to look for abundance and goodness — the new measures of success in your life!