Your brain is a novelty detector, it is always looking for the curious, to entertain itself and store it rapidly into memory. This heightened awareness is the secret passage on the ocean to happiness. Being happy is a personal thing and it really doesn’t have anything to do with anyone else. Being happy or not is found in the decisions we make about what has happened to us. How we decide to view the incidents or circumstances of our lives is the mother ship.
How we view what catches our attention is not always the best choice for our mental wellbeing. What we deliberately decide to pay attention to many times puts us into dark waters, our familiar repetitive pattern of negative thinking. The more often the negative is encountered in the brain, it becomes a familiar “go to” for the thinker.
Here is an easy mental exercise to navigate towards happiness, that only you can do. Go into your own thoughts and become a silent observer. Imagine yourself as a silent witness aboard the ship of your thoughts. Remember that first we have a thought, a judgement or a desire, which is always followed by an emotion.
Now pay special attention to what the feeling is that accompanies what you are thinking about. Give that emotion a name and ask where does this feeling come from? Is it old past hurts or delights, whatever the case may be. If it’s painful don’t try to move away from it, just sit with it for a while. Let it be recognized and felt, the same acknowledgement we all want, for that matter. Emotions are alerting us to our psychological unmet needs and our constant deliberate distractions are causing those needs to go unmet.
These uncomfortable feelings will jump ship after they have been acknowledged and often morph into yet another thought to be followed by a feeling. If the feeling is so intense you feel you can’t face it just take on a small portion of it and return to it when it surfaces again. The trick here is to remain the captain of your own ship.
It may not always be self evident that we are the creators of our world, but we are the creators of how we choose to experience the world. Putting us at the helm of our emotive thoughts is what it means to have emotional intelligence. We decide what to pay attention to and how to feel about it. Understanding that if we choose to avoid our painful emotions or numb them with pharmaceuticals, we pirate away the riches of all our emotions. The quality of this life is dependent on the quality of our emotional wellbeing.
We can be painfully bored if we choose or we can dive into the grand mystery found in all of life. Whether we are on land or sea the divine detail of texture, color, shadows, sounds and patterns are exquisite any place you decide to look.
As humans we are deeply complex and our depth lies in the expansive waters we are often afraid to sail. By nature we are curious and vibrant beings that sometimes loses the sight of land.