The Happiness Track

By Emma Seppala, PhD

The Happiness Track
Photo from Web

Most people, when asked what do they want in life would answer: success, love, money, and happiness. Not all successes in life can coincide to happiness; yet, doing everything th
at makes us happy – no matter how small – can bring success.

In the book The Happiness Track by Emma Seppala, PhD, she discussed great things that will help us go around our happiness and success – absorbing the moment, reducing our stress, and teaching us how to live a life (or getting a ‘life’ in case we don’t have one).

We focus too much on the future, but we can train ourselves to remain in the present moment.

  • Focusing on the future reduces your attention in the present moment, making you more likely to miss significant things that are happening now.

Have you ever tied yourself to work thinking about all the things you planned and the person you want to be five years from now? I have. I was quite a workaholic – having a stable job right there and having other part time jobs on the side. I want to earn money as quick as possible, and more than that I want to gain so many experience in life because I want to be a somebody in the future. All good things are coming but I started to miss out significant things in my life – family gatherings, birthday parties of friends dear to me, causes I wanted to support ever since, so on and so forth. It was sad that I had to miss out on all these before I finally realize that, oh hell, I’m really missing out on all the important stuff in my life right now.

  • Forget about the belief that multi-tasking is efficient; it isn’t.

Before at work, I always multi-task. I have to do this, and I have to do that. It made me feel that I will be more productive if I’ll do more. But NO. It just made me hate my gut by doing everything all at once that the quality of it suffers. It is true that we can’t multi-task; and if we can, it is encouraged not to. This is so we can actually save more time; less revising, more time doing another task. And to also give a certain thing or a certain person our undivided attention.

All success-driven activities we have planned and currently doing are stressful, believe it or not. Though we love doing it, it gives even a little pinch of stress to our lives and that one is inevitable. One thing I learned in my career is that stress is a part of me that will never ever ever take away from me (like how Katy Perry sings it). It is always grace under pressure and beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Thank you.

Kidding aside, the book also walk me through reducing stress and identifying burnout – where it from, what it did, and how it doesn’t love me at all.

The best way to reduce stress is through the body, by learning how to breath properly. 

  • Have you ever been told to “just relax” when you’re stressed out? It probably didn’t feel very useful.

Put your hands up! This is the reason why I don’t tell people who are stressed to relax because I know they can’t as much as I can’t too. My fiance is a serial “just relax,” “relax ka lang diyan” person and I always tell him that I can’t relax, I won’t relax (at the moment), and I couldn’t relax (at the moment). His presence is very helpful but whenever I am being told to “just relax” when I’m on my way to crying and sloping is not useful. It gives my cells and other receptors more convincing power to be stressed more and panic. Crazy science, don’t you think?

  • Research shows that attempting to control or suppress a thought or feeling when you are stressed only makes the problem loom larger in your psyche.
  •  Suppression can lower self-esteem, increase negative emotions and worsen memory over the long term.

Yes, I did. Yes, I did. I was quite of a suppresser and I was, for the longest time, not confrontational. I don’t sweat the small stuff and I don’t like to crafting a small piece to a bigger one. Only God can do that. But as the moments went on and on, my psyche was kind of telling me to “notice me, notice me,” and I felt like every thought I suppressed were scratching my temples wanting to come out and to be heard. And it is true, it only makes the problem bigger. So I say, if you can, say it and just let it out.

Burnout happens when we worry too much, exhausting our minds and nerves. 

3 main ways to exhaust your mind:

  1. Experiencing extreme emotional highs or lows.
  2. Trying to exercise self-control all the time.
  3.  Constantly worry

Are you a worrier? If yes, then it’s now time to stop that game and move on to another happy one. This is because you take yourself seriously. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with that because if you don’t take yourself seriously, who will? I say don’t be “too” serious that you forget how to live Being worry-free is easier said than done. We all have to worry about a thing or two in our lives especially if we are ~adults~. We can’t run away from adulting yet we can do something about to let our feelings out to prevent burnout. Try to divert you attention, have a new hobby, pursue your interests, play video games, and watch some good feel films that can help easing out your mood.

There is no secret formula to a happy life. Everything is out there and we just need to re-visit some from time to time.

Author: shainnehostalero

Shainne Hostalero, MDC is a social entrepreneur (owner and founder of Happy Shift PH), a communication scholar, and a writer.

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