Even if you can’t control your circumstances, you can choose how you feel about them.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you were always in complete control?
If how you feel depends upon whether or not your kids cooperate with the morning routine, your coffee is made just right, no traffic for your morning commute, and your boss is in a good mood, you’re in trouble.
40% of how you feel is actually within your power!
Research* on happiness reveals that:
- 10% of our happiness depends on our circumstances.
- 50% of how happy we are is determined by our genes.
- Leaving about 40% of your happiness that you're responsible for...that’s not too bad, right?
Try this the next time you come up against stress and are feeling down:
Take a deep breath...
As you breathe, notice that your chest rises and falls. Relax your shoulders, and see if you can notice your feet on the ground. Take another breath.
The oxygen that you are adding to your system will help you relax and refocus so that you can decide what’s best to do next. For example, you might decide to allow your daughter to wear unmatching socks in exchange for brushing her hair. Or you might excuse yourself during a morning meeting, allow others to take over so you can walk away for a moment. Taking a break from the commotion and other people’s stress can quickly lower your stress.
Recently Rev. Shane L. Bishop posted a great list of 12 Things I See Happy People Do (that unhappy people do not do) that is worth reading. #11 is the one that stands out as the most significant entry in my opinion!
"11. A great attitude is a choice, not a disposition. We can control our feelings or we can be controlled by them. Happy people CHOOSE to have great attitudes."
Dr. Robyn McKay McAvoy is an award-winning author of Smart Girls in the 21st Century, has a Ph.D. in psychology and is a mentor for women with M.D.s, Ph.D.s, MBAs, J.D.s, D.D.Ss, and other advanced degrees. She says, "Sometimes your emotions can get in the way of making a decision".
McKay continues, "If you notice that you’re about to blow a gasket, take another deep breath and say out loud (yet quietly to yourself), “I’m frustrated” or “I’m irritated”. Take another breath or two and see what happens next. Research on the neuroscience of emotion tells us that when you put a label on how you feel, the feeling itself begins to dissolve. Most people will start to feel better after just a few breaths. Once you do, you’ll be responsive, rather than reactive to the situation."
Try it. See for yourself. Your circumstances might not change, but you will. In the same way a small rudder can control the course of a boat or ship, 40% of your happiness is in your control which means, with a little effort you can change how you feel. If it's in your genes, we can help start your journey to achieve optimal health and wellness.
* Happiness research: Lyubomirsky, 2007