Your boss calls you to lead a big project and you think, “I’m not capable enough”
The professor compliments you and you think, “They don’t mean it, they’re just doing this for formality”
You try to cook a meal for your family and you think, “I will surely mess something up”
Your boss yells at you because your performance affected the company’s growth and you mourn, hit depression and curse yourself over and over again.
Three of these situations are positive, yet our response to these situations are negative. The reality may be different but we believe every situation, be it positive or negative has a bad outcome or there’s something wrong about this situation.
How do you overcome this situation? Do you want to change the way you think so that even the negative situations can convert into positive ones? Negativity is something that grows over time, it damages our brain more than we think it does.
In this article, we’ll try and understand how to rewire our brain to be happy, how to ensure we take a positive look at things and avoid pessimism at all costs.
Why Does Negativity Impact Us So Much?
Have you ever noticed that when things are good in life, you don’t appreciate it too much, your brain thinks it’s normal to be happy, but as soon as something bad happens, your senses get afraid, and all things negative start playing bad games with your mind?
Yea, this happens a lot, doesn’t it! We, humans, are designed in such a way that we like to criticize someone but hate to be on the receiving end of it. When someone praises us, it may last a minute but when the same person criticizes us, that can go on for hours easily.
We need to change this behaviour and adopt new thinking which says to criticize less and appreciate more. You need to start by accepting the fact that if a bad thing happens to you, it’s okay and you don’t need to get too stressed about it. Stop letting negativity flow to your brain and make you sad.
Can You Train Your Brain To Be Happy?
Can you train your brain to learn the guitar or perhaps a new language or dancing? I am sure you get the point.
Recent studies show that rewiring your brains to eliminate negative thoughts and learn new things is possible.
Training your brain to be happy is similar to learning a new language or dancing on a mediocre song while practising for the first time. It’s new so it’s tough.
But once you get used to creating an atmosphere of happiness, an aura of happy powers circulating everywhere in the room, you’ll be a master at achieving happiness throughout the day.
How Can You Always Be Positive and Block Negative Thoughts
Listen – Listening can prove to be very useful when your goal is to be positive and block negativity from your life. Next time something goes wrong and you react to it (in a bad way), just freeze, listen to the other side of the story, see what the problem is and how it can be solved without stressing.
Negative thoughts occur due to negative situations in life. Start investigating the problem, if you’re going to be sad, it better be for a good reason, find that reason, find why you deserve to be sad and grumpy.
Put on your detective hats, call yourself Sherlock and go solve a case. Your life case and only if the facts point against you, go and cry for hours and hours. 85% of the time the reason for sadness is overthinking.
Does that mean if you were handling this problem keeping emotions and assumptions aside, you wouldn’t be sad in the first place? That’s right!
The Usual Suspects
Hey Sherlock Holmes (That’s you right now), let’s take a look at the three usual suspects that cause you to think like a mad person. You’re smarter than me and I’m sure you’ve got an extensive list of suspects but let’s keep this brief, shall we!
There is no definitive answer I can give you to stop overthinking. Overthinking is a mindset, it’s something you voluntarily do to yourself to feel low.
Whenever you overthink, spend some time reflecting on your thoughts, instead of thinking too much, reason out things.
Ask people if you don’t have the answers, under no circumstances indulge in spending time thinking about the problem if you don’t know that whole story. It will simply waste your time and bring no good to the table.
2. The Black & White
You either think of a situation in black or white. You don’t see the grey matter in between. For example, if that girl in your class doesn’t love you the way you love her, that means nobody loves you.
Ryan is excellent at sales and gets a promotion, seeing this you start criticizing yourself. If Ayesha got A+ grades, doesn’t mean you’re dumb, it just means she got A+ grades.
We often see the world as black and white, the tiny grey spot which is more logical is always avoided by us. Ryan is excellent at sales but he may not be excellent at sports, maybe you’re excellent in that.
You can’t compare yourself with others because all of us are different. The grey squeezed in black and white is that part of your mind that tells you, “It’s not always bad, things happen for the best”.
Do you know how many times my assumptions are accurate? Probably 10%, maybe even less. Don’t believe me, read this article by Sarah Blick.
You’re not psychic, nor am I one of them. 10% of my assumptions are right and I am sure that’s either luck or an educated guess based on logic and data.
And on emotional conversational topics, having a correct assault]ption is next to impossible. Just to make sure I am wrong, right now I will make an assumption – You will not succeed and life will throw nothing but bad things at you.
I hope I am wrong, and I hope you do something to make that 10% accuracy straight down to 0% accuracy. Do we have a deal?
10 Ways To Rewire Your Brain To Be Happier
1. Practice Guided Meditation
Ask any person who practices meditation and they’ll all tell you the same thing – Meditation rewires your brain to be happy.
Don’t roll your eyes on meditation, it sounds funny but meditation plays a major role in crafting your happy life.
Meditation is not only restricted to spiritual gurus or yogis or people who love to waste time. If you work out for your body’s physical strength, you also need to train your body to be mentally strong – meditation can help you achieve that.
It’s for anyone who wants to find clarity in life and wants to become a better version of themselves. Meditation is the process of relaxing your mind by practising breathing techniques and immersing yourself in the process.
It’s nothing more than breathing in and breathing out. Just be doing that can you be happier? There’s an article by Healthline on the 12 Science-based benefits of meditation, just in case you don’t believe me!
Now that I’ve convinced you to start meditating regularly, don’t start with 30 minutes of meditation right away. You’ll lose interest, gain no results and feel bored and irritated.
Instead, start with a 5-minute meditation session for two weeks, then take it to 10 minutes for a month or so, then if you feel like doing some more meditation, don’t hesitate to increase the time.
If you’re a busy person or can’t find more than 10 minute a day, practising for 10 minutes is good enough.
2. Divert Your Energy
Instead of putting all your energy on the problem, divert your energy to something else that will provide some value in your life.
Your boss yells at you for not getting the work done in time, you’re upset and disappointed. This situation can go two ways, one where you sit down, think about the mistake you made, cry and indulge in sorrowful things or you can accept that, negative outcomes are part and parcel of life and focus on getting some other work done.
Getting results and being productive is what you should be focusing on, not thinking about how you could have avoided this negative outcome and waste time thinking and showing a sad disheartened face.
3. Try The 333 Rule for Anxiety
Whenever you are filled with stress, anger or such emotions, try the 333 rule for anxiety. Start by looking at your surroundings, then name the three things you see, then hear any three sounds and conclude it by naming three parts of your body.
This will instantly divert your attention to random things and pull you out of your problems. Whenever you’re in hectic situations, try this out, it will reduce stress and make you calm.
4. Do A Random Act Of Kindness
Doing something that makes another person happy will also make you happy. Doing something nice for someone will also stop the endless negativity loop you’re probably stuck in.
It can be as simple as visiting an orphanage and playing with the kids there or helping an old lady cross the road or holding the door for someone. You don’t need to do something extraordinary, it can be a simple thing, a simple kind thing and I’m sure you’ll be happier right away.
One act of kindness a day can be enough to bring out happiness in your life. Here’s an article by Cedars Sinai explaining the science of kindness and how it rewires your brain to be happy.
5. Someone’s Advice Is Not The Final Word
To get the most out of your life, you’ve got to be yourself and forget what others tell you to do. Listen to their advice and only if it makes sense to you, do it; or else forget the advice they gave you and carry on with your life.
I’ve met countless people giving me countless different pieces of advice, some were good, some excellent while some straight out dumb.
If I were to listen to all of the advice, my conscience would be so disturbed, I’d be so frustrated cause I would not think as I should, I would think as my friend wants me to.
The moral of the story is that people give advice all the time, even I boast about my amazing brian all the time, but that doesn’t mean you take whatever I say as the final word and follow it blindly!
You’ve got to develop your own thinking, your mind needs to look out for answers, it needs to figure out stuff on its own, someone’s help is great but don’t take their word as the final word.
6. Take A Walk
Studies have shown that people who take walks are better prone to calmness and kind nature traits. You don’t need to walk for an hour just because your neighbour says walking an hour distressed her.
Even a 15-minute walk can be very fruitful You can either listen to a podcast or simply don’t plug anything to your ears. Look at your surroundings and listen to things happening around you.
Walking can reduce depression, make you feel energized and pump your heart (in a good way). Why not adjust a 15-minute walk in your daily routine?
Walk to work if you don’t get time after work hours or early morning. Don’t give excuses, go for a walk!
7. Set One Goal Every Day
Setting goals can be a game-changer for you, unlike meditation, setting goals can easily get your productivity levels high. Simply set one goal for the day that can impact your personal or professional life in a good way.
You can start with easy goals like going for a 15-minute walk today, then tomorrow can be exercising for 30 minutes. There’s one catch to this goal setting I want you to follow, basic goals like walking, meditation and exercising need to be added to your daily routine, not your daily goal.
These goals are important but if growth and happiness and success is what you’re aiming for, you’ve got to push yourself a little more. The first week can be to focus on goals like walking, exercising and meditating, then make these things a habit.
After a week, start focusing on new goals to achieve, maybe that’s learning a new song or watching a documentary or learning a new language. Don’t try setting big goals initially because then you might not do it, start with small goals, tick them off your daily goals setting list.
In 365 days you’ll finish 300 goals at least, that means 300 new things that you did that will grow you as a person. The smarter you feel, the happier you’ll be.
8. I’ll Be Happy Isn’t The Same As I Am Happy
Think of the statement I’ll be happy as a comparison between Needs and Wants. Wants are what you’ll be happy when you get, it’s the desire of an item or a feeling that will bring happiness.
The problem with I’ll be happy is once the criteria are over, so will be your happiness; of course, until the next temptation to be happy arises.
What I’m trying to explain is that instead of being happy for things which you don’t possess yet, start appreciating things that you already possess, like your current job, your family & friends, your funny neighbour, your vacations and so on.
Be happy with what you have right now. That job promotion that you think you might get may not be successful. What then? Will you sit and cry because you wanted that promotion but now you don’t have it?
Not next month, not next week and not even tomorrow, it’s today that you should be happy about. The faster you rewire your brain to be happy for present things, the easier your life will be.
9. Jump Higher & Higher
Someday last week in the evening I was a bit frustrated and my energy levels were down, it was 7 pm and I thought why not do some exercises.
I started with warm-up specifically jumping. I’m not joking when I say this, in just 3-4 jumps I immediately felt a jolt of energy in my body and my eyes (that were weak and drowsy) popped up.
I instantly felt better and energetic. I’m not so sure if it works but it did work for me that day and I use it now and then. To confirm my assumptions, wherever you are right now if you can jump; Jump……
Did you find any change in your mood? Maybe a happier you? Let me know in the comments cause it worked for me and I hope it works for you.
A Five Minute Hack For Instant Happiness
Do you want to be happy right now? Like, Now! I can teach you to do that only if you don’t miss a single step, ready? Let’s Go!
I want you to grab a pen and paper. Phones are not allowed for this five-minute hack. If you want this to work, you better get a pen and a piece of paper right now. A pencil will do:) too.
I want you to write down 10 things you’re grateful for in your life. EVERY DAY! Most people suggest writing down 5 things you’re grateful for but the problem with it is that thinking of 5 things is very easy and if being happy was easy, you wouldn’t be reading this article nor would I be writing this article.
10 things that you’re grateful for, that’s it. Write this first thing in the morning (in that case write 10 good things about the previous day) or before heading to bed at night (in this case, good things that happened during the day).
Note: You can be grateful for anything, anything that makes you laugh, anything that makes you feel blessed is to be written down in this list.
Here are my 10 things about yesterday that I’m grateful for:
- Eating a delicious curry my mom made.
- Meeting my friends and planning a 5-day trip.
- Discussing with my friend about a business plan (and criticizing it a lot!).
- Watching my favourite series weekly episode on Netflix.
- Sleeping in the afternoon.
- Studying for my MBA exams.
- Watching a couple of funny youtube videos.
- Researching & Writing 563 words of this article in an hour
- Reading a book (after a week).
- Trying to organise my work and life to be more productive (using apps that help organise)
Wow, this took me 6 minutes 35 seconds to write, of course, I timed myself! Honestly, now that I look back at this list, I’m already feeling good. Before I started writing, I assumed writing 10 things that I’m grateful for today/yesterday would be easy.
After writing the 4th point, I had to think hard, it wasn’t easy to come up with 6 additional points that’ll complete this list. It’s not easy but it’s not even tough.
Anyway, I made it and this was a good task. Do this consistently for a few months and Voila, you’ll master the art of instant happiness.
When you force yourself to think positively, to think good things, you instantly push your brain to act differently and be more productive. But doing this for 2 days won’t make any significant difference. You’ll need to
Some Inspirational Quotes To Get You Going
You’ll be surprised to see what a few inspirational quotes hanging on all four corners of your room can do in your life. I will list 8 inspirational quotes below.
- “The greatest happiness you can have is knowing that you do not necessarily require happiness.” – William Saroyan
- “People should find happiness in the little things, like family.” – Amanda Bynes
- “All happiness or unhappiness solely depends upon the quality of the object to which we are attached by love.”
- “Happiness is not an ideal of reason, but of imagination.” – Immanuel Kant
- “A great obstacle to happiness is to expect too much happiness.” – Bernard de Fontenelle
- “The secret of happiness is freedom, the secret of freedom is courage.”
- “There is no happiness like that of being loved by your fellow-creatures, and feeling that your presence is an addition to their comfort.” – Charlotte Bronte
- “Nobody cares if you’re miserable, so you might as well be happy.” – Cynthia Nelms
Do You Want To Feel Miserable & Pathetic?
I am not running around the bush anymore, answer this honestly – Do you want to feel miserable & pathetic? If that’s so then I can’t help you, I really can’t.
I can guide you and give you some tricks and tips to help you get out of your comfort zone, to make you realise that life is not all dull and there is happiness in little things. Only you can take the step to amend things in your life and make it beautiful.
The 21 Day Rewiring Happiness Challenge
I want you to follow everything I’ve said in the extremely long post and rewire your brain to be happy in the next 21 days. Why 21 days?
Because Dr Maxwell Maltz says that it takes a human at least 21 days to create a habit. Follow along and I’m sure this guide will guide you to a happy and fulfilled life, a life where you can’t look back at the sorrows and weep but you instead look back, learn from your mistakes and move forward with a smile and a positive attitude.
If you get stuck at some point, maybe you want to know about how to feel grateful right now, or maybe you want to know what you can do right now that will be fun and give you joy.
Think about it for a few minutes and even then if you don’t get some great ideas, pick up your phone and google it. You’ll always find something awesome in google that will help you get over your problems fairly easily.
Once the habit of thinking positively is formed, you will start seeing the difference it makes in your life, right from brushing your teeth to cooking dinner at night, you will find a greater sense of joy that was missing from your life. This is what you need to hold onto and cherish.
If you’re tired of being frustrated and miserable, I highly suggest you take a good look at this blog, read it again, make a point on your phone or a book and practise everything we’ve discussed here religiously. In 21 days I guarantee you’ll be happier.
Think of your brain as a combination of multiple wires tangled with each other. Change one string and it sets a chain reaction.
Your job is to start being happy, living in the moment and working towards your goals; these things will bring positivity and happiness in your life.
Even if there’s one wire that has good vibes in it, it will start taking it to the other wires, soon everyone will adapt to the new thing and thus your brain is ready for ultimate hap
To Sum Up
Change Your Thoughts – Understand your emotions and try to control it. Try finding the grey area and think in those terms.
Listen – Don’t jump to conclusions and don’t make assumptions. You can’t always be right. Try thinking about the situation, listen to others and yourself. Why did you make that decision, pull up the facts? Don’t be aggressive.
Use The 10 Ways – Pick a few of the methods I have explained above to rewire your brain to be happy and think about happy memories.
This is the stage where you change your mindset and rewire them to your advantage. Use the Five Minute Hack For Instant Happiness, it works like a charm.
Rewire – Once you have everything in place, it’s time to rewire your brain. Your brain is stubborn, it won’t listen easily but by doing the right things, you’ll make your rewiring process much easier.
Remember, your brain doesn’t hate you. It wants to help you but it’s confused. Get your brain on the right track, make your brain be in a happy place, your happy place!
Do you have any questions, let me know in the comments below!
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