We all want to be happier, yet it appears to be an impossible task if you don’t know how to train your mind to think positive thoughts. The media constantly reminds us that unhappy individuals have not made the most of their life and do not know how to make the most of themself.
Happiness is not simple to achieve, despite what the business of extreme positivity claims. However, this does not rule out the possibility of success, though it would undoubtedly need some work.
Is it possible to train your brain for happiness? This is the question we will address below, and we will see if it is possible to train yourself to be happier and how to fill your mind with positive thoughts!
How to train yourself to be happy
A truism is that everyone wishes to be happy. The ordinary citizen wishes to live a complete, contented, and happy life. Failure to achieve this is regarded as a loss, a squandered life, and an unsatisfied experience. As a result, there is a real happiness business built on cheap psychology, self-help books, and short courses that assist in lightening the credit card and promise that it is possible to be happy with their way, whatever it is.
Are they correct? Is it possible to train yourself to be happy?
Happiness can be taught, but it is not an easy or quick process because nothing is easy or quick when changing and achieving complete psychological well-being and absolute fulfillment. It is possible to be joyful in the present, but not forever since humans are nothing more than emotional roller coasters at the end of the day. And thank heavens for it, for else we would struggle to adjust to the needs of our environment.
It will take a toll on you to train yourself to be happy. Despite the so-called “happy business” efforts to persuade us that complete happiness is within our grasp, this is not the case. There is no easy recipe for being more happy and optimistic; instead, it takes a complete set of methods and attitudes toward life to modify our way of understanding it and dealing with the unpleasant setbacks that it occasionally throws at us.
Let us say it clearly: our brain does not care if we are joyful or not. Our thinking does not make things any easier for us. In truth, the only thing that counts to it is that we survive, so it places a higher value on anxieties and systems that keep us in our comfort zone. It concentrates on the bad to avoid doing it rather than the positive to continue doing it, and it finds it difficult to change, even if it is for the better.
However, just because the organ on which our behavior is founded is resistant to change does not mean it can not change. Throughout our evolutionary history, humans have achieved significant breakthroughs, resulting in modifications that have assisted us in better adapting to complicated settings.
These transformations would not have been possible without moving outside of one’s comfort zone and daring to live a better life. This applies to psychotherapy, demonstrating that balance and healing improvements are achievable only with the patient’s genuine dedication and active effort.
Can’t everyone just be happy?
If you can train your brain for happiness, everyone else could do it too. If you spend a lot of time with happy people, you can fill your mind with positive thoughts more easily.
There are small things that might provide us with a sense of fulfillment. Although not bringing us complete enjoyment, it assists us in avoiding the other pole, namely bitterness, discontent, and misery. Some behaviors, such as eating a healthier diet, being more active, participating in sports, and practicing other healthy habits, might help us feel more hopeful and joyful.
Those, as mentioned earlier, can help us be more content with our lives, but it does not always convert into happiness. In truth, happiness has less to do with what we currently have and more to do with how we approach and appreciate life. Of course, not missing anything can help us not be unhappy, but if we have severe issues dealing with life’s adversities, are easily agitated, and have poor relationships with our social surroundings, we will not be happy.
According to Hungarian-American psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, there are no easy formulas for living a happy life (1934-2021). Happiness is a road, an individual process in which each person must invest efforts to be creative and original to understand what works best for them. But, while everyone’s route to happiness is unique, that does not imply there are not some basic rules you may follow to train your brain for happiness.
Let us have a look at a few ways to fill your mind with positive thoughts or check out What is Happiness according to Psychology?.
How to fill your mind with positive thoughts?
Neuroscience demonstrates that ideas are simply byproducts of brain activity. They are the result of electrical connections being activated. In the inverse sense, ideas can modify the brain’s structure, forming new connections and even molding it.
Negative thinking, whether repetitive or compulsive, impacts our performance. Negativism exhausts our brain, as evidenced by decreased activity in the prefrontal cortex in neuroimaging. As a result, we have difficulties exploring and finding answers to life’s challenges, which frustrates and worries us, and destructive emotions fuel negative thinking. A vicious circle of negative and unhealthy thinking is created.
Everything we say and believe is significant. If you want to be happy, you need to train your mind to think positive thoughts.
A key to this is to make a deliberate and ongoing effort, striving to control this sort of mental process. We have previously warned that it is challenging and costly, but controlling our thoughts and not seeing life in such a negative way is beneficial to our mental health.
We must put an end to negative thinking and embrace realistic optimism. The purpose is to reflect on our thoughts, be less strict about our surroundings, and attempt to perceive the positive in life. No matter how insignificant they appear to us, some things may improve our day in some manner. Its power builds up with time, and if we can make it a habit, the day will come when we will be joyful because of inertia.
Consistently set small goals
One of the scenarios in which we might feel more content is when we achieve a goal that we set for ourselves. At the cerebral level, achieving a goal causes an increase in dopamine and serotonin; our brain is flooded with chemicals that provide us enjoyment and fulfillment. Not all objectives are the same: some are long-term, while others may be accomplished in a single day.
The greater or lesser the enjoyment they provide us depends on how ambitious they are.
Setting objectives regularly, preferably every day, is a fantastic strategy to train your brain for happiness.
Although it is recommended, we must be cautious when setting such goals since they must be attainable in 24 hours.
Suppose we suggest highly ambitious goals to complete every day. In that case, there is a strong possibility we will not complete them and, as a consequence, we will be unhappy with ourselves, which is precisely what we do not want.
Each of us must know ourselves and be aware of our limitations and talents before making objectives in line with them. If we make daily objectives, they should be feasible, simple to achieve, or incremental steps toward a more ambitious long-term goal. This does not imply that our boundaries and capacities are unchangeable, but it does imply that we cannot achieve more than we are now capable of.
Let us make goals for everything we wish to accomplish. If we do not do so, if we do not have goals or aims in life, we are suspended in an existential blank, an abyss in which we question the meaning of our existence and what we are suitable for. Having nothing to do and nothing to accomplish can lead to nihilistic thinking, which can foster the development of dissatisfaction and mood disorders such as anxiety and depression.
Increase your self-esteem
As previously stated, you cannot be happy every day. We are all human, and we all have ups and downs. It is one thing to say that our lives are generally cheerful, but it is quite another to say that we are steeped in total and overwhelming delight every day. It isn’t easy to maintain that mental, emotional, and attitudinal condition at all times since things will happen to us one way or another. We must control how they impact us.
Being content with oneself is far more essential than being joyful. Lack of self-esteem not only hinders us from being joyful, but it also harms a wide range of aspects of our lives. We do not regard ourselves as capable, we feel upset with how we are, and we do not respond adaptively to life’s obstacles because we are dissatisfied with ourselves.
Self-esteem encompasses self-respect and self-worth, which are essential components of any person’s existence. It is also within it to respect the great things we have accomplished and recognize the bad ones to overcome or improve them, which is the most crucial factor to consider while enhancing self-esteem. We may boost our self-esteem and be happier if we encourage ourselves to attain our key goals and improve what we lack.
The power of thankfulness is excellent, making it all the more remarkable that we forget to be grateful for everything that life offers. Things that we take for granted, like having a home, buying food, or having a job, are things that others desire with all their hearts. Forgetting to be appreciative prevents us from appreciating and appreciating what we have, what we have experienced, and who we are.
This is why it is strongly suggested to give gratitude for something every night, to be grateful that we have at least three essential things in our lives. This simple act, this modest daily habit, may boost our happiness levels in a matter of weeks, allowing us to appreciate how much we have compared to less fortunate people.
People who do not complain are said to be happier. Complaining may be tiresome, and it just serves to make you see things in a more negative light. The aim is to learn to appreciate all of the beautiful things in our lives, be grateful for them, and stop complaining so much.
However, it is unavoidable that we will grumble from time to time, either out of habit or because we have not thought to avoid it. If we have overlooked a complaint, the best thing to do is investigate it. Let us examine our complaints and examine what they are founded on and what reasoning they are using to convince us of how dissatisfied we think we are. What emotions do they elicit in us? Let us establish a list of such thoughts and begin challenging them.
If we succeed, every time one of those poisonous complaints slips us, we will instantly know how to develop a counterargument, anything that delegitimizes them. And there will come a moment when they will not dare to come to light because it is difficult to complain about something about which one is already content.
Set aside resentments
When it comes to happiness, it is essential to set aside resentments. Envy, grudges, old disagreement, the related emotions damage us more than the persons we had these negative experiences with. It is challenging, to be sure, but if we succeed, we will be happy, and it is a necessary step on our journey toward happiness.
Be kind towards others
Happiness is learned by first learning to be excellent. It costs us nothing to be polite, pleasant, and courteous to those around us, both relatives and acquaintances with whom we can cross the street. A few nice words go a long way toward making the world a better place; do it without expecting anything in return.
Treating others better makes us happier because it makes it more difficult for people to say hurtful things. If we are friendly, people will be good with us, making it more difficult to have negative interactions with our social circle. Less conflict equals greater enjoyment. Thus we must cultivate compassion.
Mindfulness is a well-known example of happiness. It is nothing more than striving to focus on the current now and keep our minds from traveling down dark roads, feeding ideas, memories, and highly unpleasant hypothetical situations. Despite its detractors, this strategy can be beneficial to certain people. Internal discourse is beneficial for life planning, but it locks us in a vortex of negative emotions and damaging beliefs when it becomes poisonous.
The goal of mindfulness is to gain control over our minds’ attention. The goal is to be able to tell ourselves, “right now, I am doing or thinking something that does not feel good,” stop paying attention to it, and redirect our attention to something more positive, such as the landscape, a painting in the room, the music we are listening to, or the feel of clothes against our skin.
We have seen how to train your brain for happiness, but it is not an easy or quick process. It is a combination of positive attitudes toward life, the investment of time and effort in knowing oneself, respecting oneself, and appreciating what one already has.
We feel we add worth to our lives because we achieve these goals and experience the dopamine and serotonin surge that comes with their accomplishment. The capacity to create realistic objectives and achieve them also gets us closer to happiness.