The Art of Happiness and Our Choices in Life

by Ana García Simón

A few weeks ago, last April, we had the amazing opportunity to gather in our Expat Ladies Zurich workshop : “Act-ing on the Life You Really Want”, where we explored together some very easy, but powerful scientifically proven tools, to help us reflect, act and get closer to the life we really want (that sounds promising, huh… and also easier said than done, right? Let’s go for it.

The session was based on the ACT model perspective and wisdom. Let me tell you a bit about it. ACT is a very unique model for coaching and therapy that stands for: ACCEPT what it is out of your control… and COMMIT to actions that improve your life. This model helps you work in these 3 key areas: Be present, Open Up & Do what matters.

In order to do that… we should tackle first some of the MYTH HAPPINESS we are surrounded by in our society that make us struggle in our daily lives. Let’s debunk some of them… and and dig in why it is so hard to be happy!

I don’t think this little cute one needs much presentation… doesn’t it? 🙂 Do you remember him from the lovely Ice Age movie? Please, take a moment to reflect about the life of this hilarious little one… his daily activities… How do you think his daily life was? Was it easy? Was it calm? Could he “afford” to relax? In some of these answers you just said to yourself, lie the fondations of it. Why is it so hard to be happy? That is because we all are little Scrats living in a new era! We have “old brains”… living in a “new world”. Our brains are wired for keeping us safe, and in order to do so, they try really hard every day to “help us” check aaaany potential danger around us. Literally, any.

Happiness is not our natural state… Actually, from the ACT perspective, we even joke that “if you are not happy, congratulations! You are normal!”

Life is BEAUTIFUL, veeery beautiful… but also combines perfectly with this other uncomfy truth: life is not easy. There is no such thing as a never ending “good feeling”. All of us, at some point in our lives, even in our happiest moments, we are going to experience some pain, dissapointment or struggle. But the good news is, although we can’t avoid such unconfortable feelings, we can learn new and much more effective ways of responding to them!

And that’s exactly what we are goint to start doing right now. So here you go the 1st easy tool you can use anytime this “danger checking” occurs in your mind. You can simply “thank your mind” for trying to save your life, (and your nut! 😉 )

You can even create a name (here is your 2nd easy tool) to the story your mind is currently telling you. Like, for instance, in any moment of self doubt you could say to yourself: “Aha! Here is the not good enough story… Thanks mind for trying to keep me safe!” (Seriously, I mean it. Try it.)

And even, if you feel inspired (voilá, 3rd tool!), you could sing it to yourself, in the tune of your choice. You can get really creative with the names and the tunes. Let’s say, imagine the name of your story in a happy birthday tune (?). How does that sound? Do you notice any difference “in you” as you do it? Humour can be very helpful here… unless, of course, we would be talking about a feeling of grief or loss. Then you could do exactly the same, just skiping the humourous touch that you can save for another special occasion.

These 3 very easy strategies, even quite absurd, your mind may be telling you (If that’s the case… You can now thank your mind 😉 ) are called unhooking tools, and they work specifically to help us regain some perspective and control of our actions, when difficult thoughts & feelings are jerking us around!

What is the purpose of regaining perspective and control of our actions if we still have to face the difficult situation? “I want to be happy!” You may be thinking… And that’s right. I hear you. The key is, when you learn more effective ways to respond to the difficult thoughts & feelings you have in your life, you can also keep taking much more effective actions towards the life you really want.

So let me end this article talking again about happiness, with a different perspective this time, and redefine it as that genuine experience of living a rich and meaningful life… rooted in what really matters to you, deep in your heart.

This art of happiness, is something we can all aim for 🙂

Go “ACT for your life”

14. June 2022 at 19:00
Part 3: Life Coaching
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