4 simple mind shifts that will double your happiness

By Dr Berni Sewell | Discover your happiness

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Jul 22
4 simple mind shifts that will double your happiness

Let’s face it! Your life is a struggle.

You are constantly agonising what other people might think or say about you. You beat yourself up for the plunders of the past, endlessly replaying “what if” scenarios in your mind regretting what was and aching for what could have been.

You lay awake at night with a 300 kg weight crushing your chest. The cruel invisible hand trying to squash your heart into pulp. You battle for air as the anticipation of the catastrophes, pain and hardship of the future takes your breath away.

You are forever fighting fires, dealing with financial problems, dysfunctional relationships and stressful jobs.

You are doing your best, but it is never enough.

You feel anxious and depressed. You wait for that perfect person, that much-needed amount of money or that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to finally appear and make you happy.

And you are convinced that the Universe hates you. Why else would it never gift you with happiness? Other people have it all. Other people are happy.

But not you. You never get a break. You never achieve peace, contentment and joy. You are never truly happy.

You ran out of ideas. You tried everything and nothing worked. Isn’t there anybody who can just tell you how to master your “happily ever after”?

Guess what? Today is your lucky day…

Do you want to know the heart-breaking truth?

In our industrialised societies today, we generally accept it as reality that life equals suffering. They are eternally tied. You cannot have the one without the other.

Furthermore, enduring happiness, everlasting love and unimaginable wealth are for the chosen few. The special ones! The ones that matter!

But you don’t feel special, do you?

You aren’t important, famous or influential. You aren’t privileged. You weren’t born royal and you were never introduced to the “right people”. You are just little old you. Struggling through life, unsupported, disillusioned, sad.

Why invest too much energy into hoping for better health, more loving relationships, stable finances and a satisfying job? You’ll just be disappointed anyway.

And if you miraculously manage to be happy for a while, the unavoidable, catastrophic blow that shatters your fairy tale is just around the corner.

Better make peace with your life now. It is what it is. This is reality. Nothing you can do. Or is there?

Are you living a lie?

Reality is reality, right?

That’s why it is called REALity…because it is real. Unavoidably, inescapably and inevitably real. At least that’s what we tend to believe. That’s what we’ve been taught from birth.

But you know what? We really do live in “The Matrix”!

Your life, your circumstances, your “reality” are merely mental reflections of your “approved” self, the version of you that is accepted by society.

Your experiences are created by 4 core beliefs that you inherited from your parents, their parents and generations of human beings before them.

These 4 societal core beliefs are that:

  1. Our worth as individuals is not inherent but needs to be earned
  2. Life happens to us at will and all we can do is react appropriately and deal with the damage
  3. Our thoughts, beliefs and emotions are who we actually are and we have no power over them
  4. Happiness is dependent on external factors and may or may not come to us at some point in the future

These beliefs have become our reality and they determine our behaviour, actions, reactions, decisions and ultimately shape our lives into what they are today.

But what if this isn’t the truth at all? What if what we consider reality is nothing but an illusion, a virtual reality?

The simple reason why you feel out of control

If you look at the 4 core beliefs more closely, you will find that they are all telling us that we don’t have control over our lives.

Our worth depends on how we compare to other people and the extent to which others approve of us. Life just happens to us randomly and we do not really have much power to change that. Our thoughts and emotions are who we are, so changing negative patterns would mean changing the essence of who we are and we are too scared to attempt it. Happiness depends on whether we find the right person, the right job or the right amount of money and that’s basically just luck in most instances.

Can you see the pattern? We have been brought up following the 4 core beliefs, never thinking too much about it. It is what it is. That’s life!

But reality is that they rob us of any control or power we could have over our own lives!

And if we cannot control what happens to us, we are anxious and depressed because we feel so helpless and vulnerable. We fear change, the future and the unknown because we cannot predict what random events might come our way.

We are stuck in an infinite loop of negative thoughts, beliefs and emotions which we cannot change because we are afraid of losing ourselves if we do. And we made peace with the fact that the pursuit of happiness is a gamble and do our best to try to be grateful for what we have instead.

But you know what? Please sit down for this…It is all a lie!

How to escape from reality

The question is now…do you want to have power and control over your own life?

Do you want to feel good about yourself always? Do you want to have a more positive attitude and transform your life for the better?

Do you want to be happy?

Then you need to wake up and take your power back! You need to choose the red pill!

OK, you say, enough with the Matrix analogies! I want to improve my life, so what is that stupid red pill and where do I get it?

The “red pill” is the realisation that life as you know it isn’t reality, that your 4 core beliefs are brules (bullshit rules) that have been holding you back all your life, ruining your chances for happiness from the onset.

And once you are aware of the brules, you can work on deleting them from your system, and overwrite them with new, positive and life-affirming beliefs.

Let’s call these new beliefs the 4 main components of happiness:

The 4 main components of a happy life

Component 1: Remember your worth

Most of us suffer from worth amnesia and as such we believe that we have no innate worth but need to earn our value in society through our actions and attributes.

Our worth therefore depends on how much money we earn, how much we achieve and contribute and what our status and popularity are in our community.

It changes according to our appearance, weight, intelligence and qualification. And it is entirely based on how much other people approve of what we do and who we are (or pretend to be).

This means that we have no control over our sense of worth as it is entirely determined by outside factors and other people’s opinions.

We feel good about ourselves if we are loved, accepted and recognised.

We feel bad about ourselves if we are disapproved of, criticised or ignored.

We therefore invest most of our time and energy into convincing other people that we come up to their expectations, so they give us permission to feel good about ourselves through their approval.

When you hide your face behind layers of make-up before going out, when you deprive yourself of food to lose weight, when you work through the weekend to “go the extra mile” for work instead of spending time with family and friends, are you really doing it for yourself?

Are you not just doing it to please others so they approve of you and you can feel worthy?

And, would you still do all of these things if you were certain that you are worth no matter what?

Because here is the truth: you ARE worth no matter what!

Have you ever looked at a new born baby and thought:

“This thing is worthless! Let’s hope she will grow up to be attractive, famous or wealthy so she can earn herself a bit of worth in time.”

NO! Of course not! You know that this new born life just IS worth! And you know what else? The worth doesn’t go away just because a person grows up. It persists. Forever.

Your inner true worth is a basic universal right. It’s an essential truth.

And you are certainly no exception even if you feel “not good enough” or you did things you aren’t proud of in the past.

YOU ARE WORTH!

You might have been told (or told yourself) otherwise for most of your life, but that doesn’t change the fact.

And a good way to get used to it is affirmations to start healing your self-worth:
I am worth.

I love and approve of myself.
It is safe to be me. I am wonderful just as I am.
I am worth exactly the same as everybody else on this planet.
I recognise my own true worth. I am good enough.

Component 2: Know that your thoughts and beliefs create your reality

We tend to believe that life happens to us at random.

We fear the next day, the next year, the next letter through the door because we expect bad news. We believe that our fortunes are unlikely to ever change. We watch the news and are reminded of all the misery in the world.

We are convinced that the world is a dangerous place, one of scarcity, suffering and pain and that we should be grateful for every day that we are spared because it might be the last.

And so, our thinking revolves around negative themes day in, day out. And the struggles we face every day prove to us that what we think about life is true.

That’s the “law of attraction” in action!

The “law of attraction” is a spiritual concept that states that whatever you concentrate on, you will attract and therefore get more of. It has to do with Universal energy and how you will attract higher vibrational (positive) energies by sending out positive energies and the other way around.

If you are not that much into spirituality, just imagine that in every moment there are good things and bad things happening to you. When you solely focus on the negative, you will miss the positive.

If you concentrate on the positive, you are less likely to see the negative because you are preoccupied with the good stuff.

Fact is, you have nothing to lose, so just give it a try and make the “law of attraction” work for you rather than against you.

Just remember though that negative thinking for a lot of us is second nature. It is a habit we have lived with for a long time. So it will require a conscious effort to change this.

Affirmations are a good place to start. Here are some that worked well for me:
I now believe that I deserve the very best in life.

I create better and better experiences every day.
I now go beyond other people’s fears and limitations. I create my life.
I am the creative power in my world.
I lovingly take back my power. I am free.

It is a powerful start to change your thoughts but it is crucial to change your underlying beliefs too.

If you affirm “I deserve to be happy” 50 times a day for 6 months but, deep in your heart, believe that you are actually not worthy, you will never achieve happiness.

It is therefore very important to heal your self-worth, no matter what else you are working on at the same time!

Component 3: Know that you can choose your thoughts, beliefs and emotions

A lot of us are hopelessly stuck in the same (most of the time negative) thoughts and emotional patterns.

When things happen to us, we react automatically, in a pre-conditioned way. We do what we always did in similar situations. But…

If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.

Henry Ford

But it doesn’t need to be like this!

In our day to day life, we always have a choice which thoughts and emotions we allow to surface and which ones we reject (it can be more difficult in exceptional circumstances such as during grief or clinical depression).

In contrast to common belief, we are NOT our thoughts and emotions.

They are tools that, if used correctly, allow us to problem solve and function in life but become a problem themselves when given excessive power.

Make it a habit to watch your thoughts and emotions without judging them.

And know that you have a choice. When you notice negative thoughts and emotions just ask yourself whether you actually need them:

Do I want to think gloomy thoughts now and feel low or would I rather plan next week’s family outing? Do I need to feel criticised if somebody thinks my work isn’t perfect or can I just use their input to improve what I have done so far? Do I have to automatically be cranky all day just because I didn’t sleep well?

Try it out for yourself! Once you start, you will find that it is amazingly easy!

This is not the same as suppressing your thoughts and emotions by the way. You are just consciously choosing to let them go because they don’t serve a purpose.

How do you let them go?

Just drop them like something hot that is burning your hand. Just let go! It is your decision, your choice! You are the only power in your life!

It also doesn’t mean putting up with everything that is thrown your way! But you can consciously choose to abandon the upset, the anger and the irrational fear and react calmly which results in much better outcomes for everyone involved.

Indulging in negative thinking or destructive emotions such as anger, hatred, resentment or guilt causes you a lot of suffering. Why would you want to suffer if you can just choose to let go and avoid the pain.

Of course, there are times when we want to be angry, upset or feel sorry for ourselves and that’s ok. Just make sure you don’t allow it to consume you until there is no way out. Take control soon enough, let it go and choose to be happy.

A good way to start taking control is to do some affirmations.

Here are some that I found very helpful:
I choose to think positive and happy thoughts.
I am always in control of my thoughts.
I create a loving, happy life by choosing loving, happy thoughts.
I make loving choices. I am free to change.
I forgive myself and choose to love myself.

Component 4: Know that you can only be happy HERE and NOW

You can relinquish your happiness very easily by losing it in the past or projecting it into the future. We tend to blame the unhappiness that we experience now on things that did or did not happen to us in the past.

If you experienced violence, abuse, bullying, loss and other hardship or you did something you now regret, you will probably never forget. But there is no need to forget!

You just make sure you that whatever happened in the past can’t define who you are now.

Bad things happened to you, but they are not you.

They are not who you are and they only have power over you if you allow it. Forgive whoever did you wrong, forgive yourself and move on. Live in the now and bring your happiness with you.

Some people also reminisce in the past, think about the good old times, when everything was better and they were happy. But happiness is only gone if you let it!

While you are idolising your past, your actual life goes by unnoticed. Learn from the past, don’t live in it!

“I will be happy…at some point, if…”

We tend to postpone our happiness to the future, especially if we struggle with our life right now.

I will be happy when I find love, when I can afford my own house, when I lose 5kg, when I get the job of my dreams, when the bully next door moves away and so on.

As a society, we usually make our happiness dependent on outside factors somewhere in an undefined time in the future. But two major problems are associated with this habit:

  1. The things we hope to bring us happiness may never come. What then? Will we be unhappy for the rest of our lives?
  2. If we do get what we made our happiness dependent upon, will it actually make us happy? Will it meet our great expectations? What if we end up disappointed? Or what if, by then, something else is wrong and we need to have that fixed first before we can find happiness?

And what if we don’t have a clue how to actually be happy because we lack practice?

The sad fact is that we may spend all our lives chasing after the people, things or circumstances that we expect to finally make us happy and yet happiness might always elude us. Why?

Because we give control over our happiness to external factors and we place it in the future. This means we have no actual power to achieve happiness in our own life here and now. We need to take this power back if we want to be happy!

Happiness comes from within, is unconditional and available in this very moment. The present moment is all we ever have. The past is gone and the future is a ficticious movie in our minds.

Practice happiness now! Practice being happy just because you can!

A good start to practicing happiness now, is by using affirmations.

These are some of my favourites on this topic:
I am happy and at peace here and now.
I lovingly release the past. I am free.
I live in the present moment, joyous and free.
I easily forgive and happily move forward.
I live in the now. Each moment brings new possibilities and happiness.

 

Your life as you know it ends here…

So, there you got them! The 4 main components of a happy life!

Ditch those brules, break the bad habits, incorporate the new beliefs and your life will change, massively and permanently!

Yes, it’s scary!

Your life will be turned upside down, you will change, your circumstances will transform, your thoughts and beliefs will shift. You worry whether you will lose yourself or if your friends and family will still like the “new you”. And what if you don’t enjoy the new life you create?

But that are just your fears and doubts talking.

A year from now when you climb into bed at night, the beautiful experiences of another enjoyable and content day replaying in your mind, your fears will be a faint memory of a distant past.

A year from now while you snuggle comfortably into your cosy duvet, grateful for the wonderful people in your life and proud of everything you confidently achieved during the day, you will know that it was worth it. You WERE worth it…and always will be.

So, choose not to be controlled by your negative self-talk and emotions.

Choose to reclaim your creative power because your life is what you make of it.

Choose happiness. Remember your worth.

Do it now! Choose the red pill!

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About the Author

Dr Berni Sewell, PhD is a health scientist, energy healer and self-worth blogger. She is on a mission to make you feel good about yourself, no matter what. Download her free guide Instant self-worth: an easy 4-step solution to heal your self-worth in under 5 minutes a day” and start to boost your confidence today.

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(6) comments

Eric Silver a few months ago

Hi Berni,

Can you please contact me? I read your article on tinybuddha.com.

Thanks!

Reply
Adriane a few months ago

I am going to apply this information to my life. My life has to get better. For the most part, i’ve always been a nice, positive person. Something happened along the way as i got older. It seems as if my happiness/joy just went away.

Reply
    Dr Berni Sewell a few months ago

    Thanks so much for your comment! I also had times in my life where all the joy had left it but it always helped me to remind myself that I had a choice. Did I actually want to be upset, angry or beat myself up? Or could I just let it go and do something I enjoy instead. It takes practice but it has always helped me. Hope you will find your way back to your happy Self soon! x

    Reply
Alg a few months ago

Hi I’m struggling so much with worry and overthinking. I need help.

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