Happiness Is Often Just Out Of Reach
Many of us are not happy in life for a number of reasons. We cannot change the amount of problems given to us, only how we approach them. Everyone has a wall to push against, a ladder to climb, snakes to avoid, and a sense of personal integrity to uphold. Being in personal harmony with our given and chosen directions is how we can accept reality and lose the illusion of it being something else. Our minds are like busy high-streets at times, with two-way traffic taking motivations and ideas both toward and away from focus. A continual conveyor of opinion, learned information, reflected emotions, and personal feelings all takes place at once. Selecting the value from this can be time consuming and difficult. Changing the direction of traffic requires a strong mental attitude and, more often than not, a lot of help from others.
Gratitude And Self-Validation
Things could be worse, the help you get could be unavailable, the methods you have for helping yourself might be unattainable. Your problems could be doubled, or someone you care about could have their problems doubled. We need to be aware of the plus side even if we feel negative. If every opportunity to put the stop sign over unhelpful thoughts was taken up, we would be able to gradually train ourselves to think about them differently. Like magical spells, the thoughts zap you and take away your sense of worth, your sense of motivation, your sense of a job well done. They nearly always manifest from a place of selfishness. Ungrateful and self-depreciative opinions, judgements, and half-blind observations can give the impression that you have no right to feel good about yourself. They're the opposite of the thoughts you want to listen to and take on board. If there is ever a time when the hurtful thought is absolutely true, for example you didn't stand up for a person when you should have done, then you can treat it as a natural reaction to the event. Be grateful you have that feeling and that you can work on your interpersonal and assertiveness skills for next time. Don't be pushed over, be pushed into action.
According to psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, when happiness correlates to success it is called flow. Most often recognised in activities such as sports, video games, and music as being in the zone, a psychological phenomenon occurs in which we feel completely settled in our skills and technique that all mental opposition to our success fades away. Different to arrogance, it's not a mental collection of self-gratifying ideas, being in the zone or experiencing flow is when your own strength of character and mind combines with your training and skill to produce optimum performance.
Flow can be qualified with certain characteristics. We can detect them in others and in ourselves. Finding a link between them all is the true optimum and yet we rarely achieve this.
Flow is more directly attributed to activities that have an autotelic quality. This means that we do a thing because the thing itself is enjoyable or worthwhile. It's perhaps why we put things off until the last minute, because they become autotelic once we have no choice but to do it. Activities that have a secondary reward or an external reason outside of our own personal gain are not autotelic and these are more difficult to attain flow when undertaking. Flow is also related to neurotic characteristics in a negative way. The more neurotic the personality, the less flow they are likely to achieve. We need to remain focussed and positive as habit and neurosis takes this away from us. A conscientious attitude is the most effective for realising flow, in which we maintain happiness by establishing gratitude and self-validation.
We can nurture our ability to navigate the triangle of happiness, flow, and self-discipline by keeping an active focus on our progress in these areas. By identifying as a person who maintains these things and by spending time around others who do the same, we can help to balance ourselves with the input of our friends and colleagues.
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Alternative Fruit by Rowan B. Colver
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