In my personal experience and as a therapist, I know there are things that make you feel happy in life but naming them can sometimes seem difficult. I have come to appreciate that, for myself, it's the little things in life; seeing a beautiful sunrise or sunset, having a cup of coffee while sitting in the sun, beautiful art, being in awe of all the wonderful power of nature to name but a few. There are just too many to list; all it takes is actually making the choice to stop whatever it is you are doing for a matter of seconds to appreciate what you're seeing and or feeling.
It sounds so simple yet there were so many years of my life that the frequency of actually experiencing happiness just wasn't on my radar. Actually learning to 'feel' was a huge eye opener. Whenever I heard the words 'what do you feel?', I couldn't comprehend what was being asked of me. I would go to great lengths to avoid these 'woo woo' or 'airy fairy' questions.
When I finally understood that so much of life is about feelings, it all made sense but it wasn't easy.
A very simple example: If someone asks you to babysit for a 3rd time in the week and you're not getting paid to do it but feel sorry for the child, how do you respond? "Yes, no worries, what time will you bring her round?"; feeling honoured to have been asked again to care for such a lovely child OR inwardly angry and ready to tell all your friends how you're being taken advantage of. "Only if you pay me", "I think you need to find a structural solution to this problem", "No, I find three times this week one time too many", could be other answers and there are so many more.
Is what you say congruent with the feeling inside? Saying yes or smiling but feeling irritated, annoyed or even angry inside is not showing the real you. To whom is it of importance if you are not true to yourself? When you feel that someone is taking you for granted the irritation is not only at that person but at yourself for allowing them to do so (although you may not immediately realise it at that moment). When your outer expression or actions are not aligned with your inner feelings you close yourself off. There is a huge chance the other person will subconsciously label you as 'not to be trusted'. When you don't trust someone you are usually careful what you say, you hold back. Not daring to say 'no' or be honest about how you feel can make it difficult to make friends or form lasting relationships.
Certain feelings are fairly easy to recognise, others not so. A feeling can be a combination of emotions. If I ask someone to draw a feeling when in therapy there is often a protest of sorts; "that's really difficult" or "how on earth can I do that?" or "I wouldn't know where to start". The images that appear are then so magical because appear they do! We then look at what the drawing means, particularly the hidden meanings. I ask questions based on my knowledge and the 'artist' answers. The answers in relation to what's been drawn can reveal so much more than just saying the words.
When you understand what brings you joy, you are becoming aware of your feelings. And let's face it, most of us have felt and recognised anger at some point in our lives, even if we have to go back to childhood to remember it. How you express anger changes and evolves depending on your life experiences. The moments of joy are so personal but when you recognise them, they can become your 'go to place' and by consciously remembering a moment of joy your mind and body will automatically start to feel better. In this way when you look at a picture or photo even of your happy moment, it takes you back there, it makes you feel good again.
What makes you laugh?
Just take a moment to to think about the last time you laughed? was it totally genuine? did it make you feel free? was it just to be polite? was it because you feel anxious or stressed? Even just registering your feelings when you laugh for a whole week can give you one tiny insight into the workings of your programmed mind.
If you have difficulty accessing your feelings, please feel free to contact me.