5 Rituals To Keep You Happy All The Time

5 Rituals To Keep You Happy All The Time

Let me begin by noting that although the title to this post suggests these rituals will keep you happy ALL the time, I don’t believe that’s possible or even healthy.

No one is, or should expect to be happy ALL the time.

Happiness is great, and we can try to enjoy it as much as possible, but it’s not really possible to feel that good every minute of every day.

It’s normal and appropriate, instead, to feel sad and down, anxious and stressed, irritable and even angry.

So, use these tips to boost your happiness and positivity but please, also, be realistic and accepting of your common humanity …

via Eric Barker

We all get a little sad sometimes. It feels like the universe is a twisted gameshow called “How Can We Torture This Poor Soul Today?” — and you’re the contestant.

Other times it can escalate into full-on depression and that dark cloud of emotions follows you around like a fart in a spacesuit. Trying to get anything done feels like trying to climb a mountain of razor blades with a backpack full of anvils while a broken sound system plays a perpetual loop of Sarah McLachlan’s greatest hits.

No one looks good in existential angst. It’s not a flattering color on anyone.

So we seek out the emotional MacGuffin of happiness but often it’s as elusive as a tax loophole for the middle class. The lifetime risk of depression is actually pretty high: roughly 20 percent for women and 10 percent for men.

Here’s the good news: depression isn’t a life sentence, and it doesn’t come with a no-return policy. If you’re seriously depressed, by all means, stop reading this and get help. But if it’s just an attack of the blues, if you’re just dealing with a tough time, there are some things you can do on your own to reduce the difficulty level on the video game of life.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) has the power to brighten your day, dissolve those bad feelings and help you be the person you pretend to be on Instagram. It’s so effective it even helps with treatment-resistant depression.

Its secret? Mindfulness. Yeah, that Swiss Army knife of inner peace. No, you don’t have to pay $2,000 to spend a week with strangers in the woods, meditating for 18 hours a day. (That’s not spiritual growth, my friends; that’s a hostage situation.)

And it has effects that go deep down to the neuroscience level. The brain is a mystery. A Jell-O mold that can’t remember your own phone number but can sing every word of the “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” theme song. When depressed, we become too identified with negative thoughts and all that rumination strengthens the “feel bad” connections. Meanwhile, mindfulness downregulates amygdala signals and reinforces those self-compassionate pathways through that game of cerebral Tetris known as neuroplasticity.

The text we’ll be drawing on this time is “The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Depression.”

Ready to feel better? Let’s get to it…

1) Get Off Autopilot

Researchers estimate only 5% of our behavior is truly intentional. Most of the time we put little thought into what we’re doing.

Often this isn’t an issue but sometimes we get stuck in bad mental habits. We get caught up in judgments and stories we tell ourselves about the world that don’t produce the best results but we never step back and question them. It can become an endless dance of self-sabotage.

ACT says that depression isn’t something you have, it’s the result of what you do. The bad mental habits get us stuck in a loop that perpetuates the negative results.

Two of the key negative habits are suppression and avoidance. We try to suppress the bad feelings and this doesn’t work. Instead of offering us emotional Kevlar, the emotions only come back stronger. Meanwhile, avoidance is when we dodge anything that leads to feeling ugh – and we end up squeezing out the positive as well. We become the Houdinis of escapism, devising ever more elaborate schemes to dodge social engagements or avoid confrontations. You spend all your time trying not to trip over your own emotional baggage and your life sadly shrinks in the process.

But your nervous system doesn’t work by subtraction. You can’t prevent thoughts and feelings from showing up. ACT teaches us that trying to control your emotions, avoiding the situations that produce them, is the problem, not the solution.

Being mindful is key. Noticing what’s going on in your head. Becoming aware that your thoughts and feelings are just that, thoughts and feelings, and do not have to be obeyed. We need to be less reactive – blindly following those bad mental habits – and start making conscious choices to act on our values. To notice moments of choice. And to make good decisions that aren’t reactive or avoidant. Blindly following the same old scripts is like being stuck in an elevator with the most dreadful person you know — only to realize that person is you.

So how do we do this in the moment? How should we handle it when negative emotions pop up? Life throws challenges at us like some kind of demonic dodgeball coach while reality delivers a swift kick to our collective shins.

How should we respond?

… keep reading the full & original article HERE