Feeling happy takes effort. But a lot of the advice you receive is not treating the core of your emotional problems. We obviously cannot feel happy one hundred percent of the time, but by learning why we often feel unhappy, we can choose to do the things that will help us feel happy more often.
Our brain is an extremely complicated computer. It is constantly receiving data from a multitude of sources and figuring out which program to shuffle the information to. Your body is sending temperature, balance, overall health, etc. Your senses are streaming millions of sights, sounds, smells, sensations. Meanwhile it keeps up a running commentary, that voice in your head, putting some of that input into thoughts (interesting side note, some people claim to not have that ongoing voice).
So on your way to your mailbox your brain in a matter of minutes may hear crickets and birds and a lawnmower, smell cut grass, see neighbors out in their yard and dogs next door, notice the cars parked along the street, hear laughter, see clouds in the sky, and more, and yet you may not consciously notice any of this. Your running commentator says the lawn is pretty dry, I better set out the sprinkler. Three bills, why don’t I ever get any interesting mail? Why do the kids leave their bikes in the driveway? What am I going to cook for dinner tonight?
You get inside and sit down for a minute and a small part of your brain may notice you feel a little down, but most of us have so much information going through our minds that we don’t stop to really feel an emotion or try to discover the cause. So you just move on to the next thought. Your brain knows nothing truly negative just happened, although you could do without the bills and the dry lawn or cooking dinner, and it would be nice if the kids listened. So it is not alerted to the fact that your emotional health needs some attention.
The thing is, your brain doesn’t really see things as positive or negative. It just takes in information. Your feelings, however, will tell you if the balance of the input is tipping in a positive or negative direction. And a lot of the negative comes from things we don’t really notice we are internalizing. The songs about lost love on the radio or playlist. The disturbing news. The sad social media posts. And the ones that make us feel inferior. Then there are the ones we DO notice, the snide remarks from a stranger at the store that play over and over on our mental audio, the guilt trip from a relative you haven’t visited, and you berating yourself for eating that extra helping at dinner.
And even if you are getting all neutral input, the natural order of this world is deterioration. Things left untended will rot, decompose, die, or go wild. It is the same with your self-talk program running behind your conscious mind. If you are not feeding it positive things to process, it tends to naturally run an I’m-not-good-enough program.
Then there are the big outside factors that cause negative emotions that make us take notice. The defiant teenager or rude driver behind us that makes us feel anger. The death or loss that makes us feel sorrow. The nearly empty bank account or bad health diagnosis that causes fear.
Couple all of this with the fact that our brain needs enough exercise, sleep, and proper nutrients to manufacture the chemicals that help us feel happy. It is a complicated recipe, and it requires a lot of conscious effort to maintain a positive natural state. This allows us to recognize when a real “negative” emotion appears and we can process it. Our emotions are there for a reason, and giving ourselves permission to feel them is part of our human experience. But we do not want to live in a constant low vibrational energy funk because we are allowing unnecessary low level input to drain us and fill our internal program with a negative script.
If you want to take control of your own programming and move yourself in a positive direction, check out The Steps to Growth and Healing. These will guide you into creating habits so you don’t forget to feed that internal program with emotionally healthy energy.