By: Tiffany N. Perez, RMHC
We live in an era of information overload. We are invested in social media platforms like Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and Tik Tok, just to name a few.
We rely on these platforms to
- find out what is happening in the world;
- find out what is trending;
- find out what we should be excited about;
- find out what we should be angry about;
- find out how to stay connected without physically having to connect;
- find out the latest trend of what is mentally healthy versus what mental health disorders look like.
In many ways, we are being overstimulated daily by the ever-growing technological dependence on social media. We are losing touch with ourselves, our community, and our happiness.
How can we regain control?
First, we begin with simple strategies that are effective in helping us get back in touch with who we are.
Happiness is a broad term that can be viewed subjectively. The word alone may encompass a way of being or simply a fleeting emotion that can be experienced intermittently.
But how do we achieve happiness? Is it even possible for everyone? Yes and Yes.
Everyone can be happy or achieve happiness. However, how we do it is relative.
It is not as simple as just thinking happiness is a choice. It is more of an attainable goal that can be achieved through actively working at it.
So where do we begin? Perspective.
Think of the analogy of the cup is half full versus the cup half empty. When looking at our day-to-day situations and interactions, there may be times where these experiences don’t necessarily align with our preferences. The result is frustration, overwhelm, anxiety, or depression. If we actively work on increasing our perspective from the positive, we will actively see a shift in our level of adaptability and resilience. The following activities help ultimately increasing our overall happiness and satisfaction with life.
- Actively practice looking for the positives in your daily schedules.
One exercise I share with my clients to actively work at rewiring their brains to be more positive is recalling three things that went well that day. It takes little to no effort to find what went wrong, annoyed us, or frustrated us each day.
However, instead, before you go to bed, focus on things that went well. It can be as simple as a great cup of joe you had this morning, a meeting you were prepared for, or an exam that you passed with flying colors. By completing this exercise daily, you will see a shift in your perspective for the better.
- Reverse engineer a negative experience.
Another exercise I encourage in therapy is to think of an event you survived. Not something that traumatizes you to think about necessarily, but a situation you have somewhat healed from or worked through but maybe not resolved 100%.
Now, look at it differently by focusing on positive takeaways from a place of gratitude. Think of what you may be grateful for from that situation. It is perfectly normal to still feel grief or pain from it but, focus on things you may have learned. What were the positive takeaways? We can look at almost any negative situation we have experienced and have some positive message or lesson that we can take away with the correct perspective.
- Routine is curative.
A final suggestion when considering self-improvement is routine. We are creatures of habit. Therefore, when we create daily habits or positive routines, we can reduce stress and increase happiness. Think of your morning routine. Are you rolling out of bed right before you have to throw on some clothes and run out the door? Are you cramming a coffee and a handheld while driving to work? Are you losing hours of your day glued to your phone?
There is an immense amount of research proving that increasing healthy habits like waking up early, having breakfast, meditating, and journaling, just to name a few, have impacted lives by improving their overall levels of happiness and achievement; while simultaneously reducing stress, anxiety, and depression.
In conclusion, there are simple tasks we can engage in daily that will not only increase our ability to face adversity and change but increase our adaptability and overall levels of happiness.
1) consistent routine practices;
2) increasing our focus on positive aspects of our day-to-day; and
3) implementing the practice of reverse engineering negative situations
we can create a more positive perspective on our lives, experiences, and sense of the world we live in.
QUOTE FOR THE WEEK
“Our perspective is our reality.” – Tiffany Perez, RMHC