In Part 1 you beat the stress of tough losses before it rewired your brain and beat you. In Part 2 you got unstuck from sadness and negative thinking to find happiness in tough times. What if you can’t shake the feeling that you need someone else to make you happy?
We’ll break through that barrier to happiness in Part 3 highlights of my radio interview on A Lasting Love with Ed Southwick, Jr. The founder of AllAboutHappiness.com, Ed also is a financial and happiness planner who combines business consulting and happiness concepts to help you gain even greater success and happiness in life and love.
HF: Many couples break up over lack of money and happiness. Let’s talk about why these may not be valid reasons to end a relationship. First, tell us how income levels affect our level of happiness.
ES: Statistics show that earning below $12,000 per person, you have poverty issues. Earning above $12,000 per person, or $36,000 for a family of three, there is no measurable difference in happiness levels than with people who earn much higher incomes, from $75.000 to millions each year.
HF: So you can feel rich in happiness, no matter if you earn $12,000 or $12 million a year, because you can choose happiness and do happiness-producing activities.
ES: It helps to simplify your life, give away things you don’t need, and renegotiate loan rates. When you’re in a tough time, you can these take this positive action when you’re not fearful of making these changes.
HF: What do you say to couples who break up over this excuse, “You can’t make me happy.”
ES: They are correct. No one can make you happy but you. So you need to design a happier life for yourself. Start by making a list of things that have made you happy. Start doing more of those things every day, because the basis of good morale is productivity. Start working on your health and happiness activities every day so you make yourself happy and whole, ideally before you enter a relationship.
HF: Or before you end one because you haven’t learned how to choose happiness. People with severe depression often need greater nutrition, exercise and guidance from a health care expert to return to a natural happy state. If you’re feeling the strong need for self pity and poor me’s, I suggest you give yourself a time limit for a pity party every day. When your half hour of self pity is up, then you choose activities that produce happiness. How else can we design a happy life?
ES: We can raise our happiness quotient by developing habits of happy people. One happiness habit is to get outside of yourself to help others. Another is to take care of your body. And go back to core point reality, realizing you have it much better than most people in the world. Then be thankful and appreciate what you already have. Then want what you have, instead of wanting what you don’t have.
HF: You get more of what you focus on. So if you focus on what you’ve lost or lack, you get more feelings of loss and lack. The best way to fill a lack is to give away what you’re lacking and the feeling of lack disappears. For example, if you feel you lack attention from your partner, you give yourself loving attention and give it to others to feel abundantly appreciated.
ES: Another happiness habit is being an eternal optimist and looking forward to things ending up better. We have selective memory of how good a past relationship was, when the reality is it wasn’t that good or it wouldn’t have broken up. So there should be a relief factor when it ends. And you don’t want to torture yourself with thoughts of what if this or that had happened or other negative thoughts that make you feel badly. Instead you focus on what it is you can do to remedy the situation, to move forward in positive ways starting with your health which can take a beating during stressful times.
HF: Which happiness activities can ease stress and even improve your health?
ES: Easiest way is to walk or do something positive even while you’re thinking negative thoughts. Every day, you take some positive “A” actions, doing something that will change your life and make it better, like exercising, eating well, taking care of a financial problem.
You also choose some “B” activities, like paying bills or doing chores you can do on autopilot. You choose a couple C activities, like watching tv or calling a friend.
HF: Ready to make a daily happiness plan and do daily activities that help you ease stress and return to a happy state, no matter what life throws at you?
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