Happy with Tinnitus OR Happy Even Though Having Tinnitus
Due to the international Day of Happiness I got thinking more about happiness. And I realised everything that I have chased over the years was in the end real true happiness.
I don´t know if I was ever really happy, I was always seeking happiness – but since I have got tinnitus I was desperately trying to reach happiness.
I have traveled to different countries, switched jobs, switched boyfriends and cities. Everytime I thought if I would only get that other job, then I would be happy. If I would only live somewhere else then I would be finally happy. If I would be with a different kind of person, then I would be happier. I changed a lot of things over the years and no matter what I changed I never reached the happiness I was looking for.
Then I obssessed over the idea of curing my tinnitus and if that would happen – then I would be happy. With every let down, every treatment that didn´t work I felt further away from happiness than before.
But what is happiness?
The dictionary says, that it is a feeling or showing pleasure or contentment. I think everybody knows that. The important part is, that happiness doesn´t mean to be happy all the time. It especially doesn´t mean that it depends on someone or something. To be happy in general means to be content with your life. It does not mean to be happy every minute of your life or that you love everything about your life. It just means that you are generally pleased with your life and with yourself.
Sonja Lyubomirsky, a psychology researcher, describes happiness as “the experience of joy, contentment, or positive well-being, combined with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile.”
In Psychology Today this is said about the topic: „Happiness has also been said to relate to life satisfaction, appreciation of life, moments of pleasure, but overall it has to do with the positive experience of emotions.“
Charles Spurgeon says it more direct: „It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness.”
So don´t give anybody else the power over you life and your happiness. It is your job to make yourself happy, to be happy with yoursel and your life.
To be happy is a choice. It is your choice to be happy or not. You decicde what direction your life takes on. So choose happiness.
How can you choose to be happy?
As we just heard, it is about how much we enjoy what we have. We can choose that. So again, as so often, it has to do something with a shift of perception. It depends on us, how we see our life and how appreciative we are.
I have watched the movie „Happy“ twice now, it is a documentary film directed, written, and co-produced by Roko Belic. They visit differnt people in different countries and generally I would say the people were happy because they had good company like family and friends. They felt loved and they loved. And having good times with the people they love. The most impressing story for me was about a woman from the USA, she was super beautiful – I mean gorgeous! – and then she had a car accident. Well, she was run over by her sister-in-law. In that accident her face was just destroyed, she had several operations, but it was never the same again. Through that trauma a childhood trauma came up to the surface, she had been molested as a child. All that – I thought that in her shoes I would just fall in a deep hole of recentment and anger. She did at first, but now she re-married, after her husband left her. She says that she is happier now than she has ever been. Her live is more real and fullfilled. I thought that was just so inspiring! If she could find happiness after all that had happend to her, then I can too . . . . after all my tinnitus seemed like a tiny problem.
In the movie was also a man from India, he had a hard job pulling a carriage by foot. He worked in every weather and sometimes people talk really badly to him. He is happy, he said he has food everyday and a house for his family. He loves his family and his community, where they hang out together after work.
You can watch the movie on Netflix, like I did, or you can get it online here: http://www.thehappymovie.com/
So is that what it takes to be happy?
Family, friends and good times? That seemed too easy or just not working for me. I need more. I need something to take steps to bring myself to happiness again.
Like I have mentioned a few times before I use affirmations to become more positive again. Being more positive doesn´t include being happy. At least not for me.
Looking for some sort of happiness manual I came across the SuperSoul Potcasts from Oprah. I listened to a interview she did with Gretchen Rubin, it is called „8 Rules of Happiness“. She is a Yale Law School graduate and did scientific research and practical projects to discover how to reach a happier life. Her own experience led her to write a book and it became a New York Times beststeller “The Happiness Project”. „The book recounts what Gretchen learned about herself and how seh was able to become happier and more fulfilled. Gretchen shares her eight personal rules of happiness, which she says can help fill you day with more joy.“, that is how the SuperSoul App describes her.
I thought that this was exactly what I needed and it was! I loved the potcast and I loved her voice. I am hooked! I want to share her basic ideas here and I want to start my own Happiness Project and I also want to get her books. She has written serveral books, besides „The Happiness Project“ she wrote „Happier at Home“, „Better Than Before“ and the „Four Tendencies“.
Check out here homepage for more info: https://gretchenrubin.com/books/
So, lets go back to how she found more happiness and how she integrated it in her life. She wanted to reach extraordinary differences in her daily life and that with small changes only. For that she thought about her life, how she could be more herself and what she had to do in order to reach that. So she identified the parts of her life that brought her joy, satisfaction an engagement. She also wrote down sources of feeling guilty, anger, boredom and remorse. Through those thoughts she made a list of things she wanted to change and worked on them, one at a time. She started in January with one topic from her list and worked on it the whole months. The next month she added a new topic. So in december she worked on all her 11 topics. Gretchen says it wasn´t hard, because each of those topics made her happier. She worked for example on her attitude, keeping her tamper and her relationships.
Important is that for everyone happiness is something different, happiness is something individual. So you have to think about what it means to you.
Another important point is that you can only change yourself and not others, but if you do change it will affect others. They will change through your change. All your relationships will change actually.
So this Happiness Project is about implementing small manageble shifts. You need to think of specific steps to work on to reach your personal goals, which make you happier.
Gretchen wanted to pay more attention to the things in her daily life and be more thankful for what she already had. To be more mindful if you will.
To reach her goal she set up 8 rules or commandments:
Find your own nature, your own values and your own interessts and life
Let it go
Let go of anger, recentment and grudges! Don´t get worked up about small things, minor annoyances in your life.
Act the way you want to feel
Gretchen says that we usually act, because of what we feel, but is actually the other way around we feel something due to the way we act. It is hard to control our emotions, but we can control our behaviour. So what that means, when you are angry, act more kindly and you will feel more kindly.
Act the way you want to feel and you will feel the way you want to feel.
Be polite and fair
Always and with everyone.
Enjoy the process
If you enjoy the process you can let go of the concept of follwing or only caring about the outcomes. But everything doesn´t have to work out you want it to if you enjoy the process.
Gretchen says her spiritual leader Torres told her „when one loves one doesn´t calculate“ This is talking about not taking score in a relationship, as this is not the loving way. We should just do what ever we do with out waiting for the other person to return a favor or to do something for us. It is not about taking turns.
There is only love
This rule is about not getting worked up about something we can´t change and to not talk badly about others. If we have a difficult situation on our hands, we can just tell ourselves: „there is only love“.
The energy you are putting out is always comming back to you!
Spontaneous trait transference is what is happening in that situation, what you say about others will stick to you. So what ever you say about another person will get associated with you.
Take small steps and when ever you find yourself in a situation you want to change, then just remind yourself of those rules.
The Happiness Project didn´t only bring more happiness into her live, no it also made her more mindful throughout her day and helped her to live in the present moment and to be more grateful.
Gretchen Rubin took her Happiness Project even a bit further and says if you are not happy at home, it will be hard to be happy at all. To be happy at home it is important to clear the clutter. Outter order leads to inner clamness and is also connected with happiness. She is all about simplicity, first you need to find what suits you and then you create the environment that makes you happy. In her book „Happier at home“ she talkes about reorganizing your things and to only keep what brings you joy. Letting to of everything else as clutter weighs down our consciousness. Gretchen also talks about psychological clutter, like procrastination. She now has a power day per week, on which she does everything she has been putting off during the week.
In her latest book „Better than before“ she takes it even a step further and talks about mastering the habbits of our daily life.
As 50% of our happiness depend on our genetics and 10% – 20% on our life circumstances, we still have 40% – 30% that depends on us – our thoughts and actions.
And here she says to use habbits as they can redirect our lives. First we need to mindfully choose our new habbits we want to implement and then we can use their strenghs, which is that they are mindless. Changing our habbits can change our live. Habbits are things that we do automatically without thinking about them. So it is not all the time about making the right choice, it is about doing it constantly no matter what, just like brushing teeth and then we don´t even have to think about it anymore.
So we first make the desicion to implement a new habbit, give it its form and then we use our willpower to get the habbit started. And then we allow ourselves to let the extraordinary power of habbits take over. To rely on habbits.
We have to be conscious about our thoughts and actions, cut out what brings you down and add things that lift you up.
Be mindful in whatever you do – do it with all your heart. It is a state of mind.
So how to shift that way? Think about yourself an what is true for you. Work on that. Be selfaware, what does it take to be happy for you? Choose something and then make it your new habbit.
Gretchen found it hepful to have a sense of humor throughout the experience, to be thankful and to take time to find her own truth. She also talks about her craving to receive the goldstar. What does that mean? In primary, didn´t we all want to get the goldstar from the teacher for having done a good job? And now in adult life we want to get the goldstar from others for what we have done. For example from our partner for what we have done in the house. If the other person then doesn´t give us the recognition we were looking for we get angry and recentful. At least I do. I´m exactly the same way as Gretchen describes.
Gretchen Rubin says to just aknowledge that you like goldstars but to not keep score and to not wait for the recognition – stop counting! Just do it and be happy with what you got done. You don´t need the validation of someone else.
I can´t even begin to tell you how inspired I am! I want to get started right now. I at least want to integrate a few of ther tips in my daily life and I definetely will integrate those 8 rules in my life!
I have found myself throughou the whole talk many times! I also keep count with partners and my attitude even though I have worked on my positivity is mostly not so nice. Basically I have to work on every single point on that list of commandments. That made me wonder a little bit what kind of person I am. Am I that angry and recentful all the time? I think yes, and I really need to change that. I love the idea about not having to choose everyday, because I will turn it into habbits. And than it will just run on its own.
If you are a little overwhelmed like me, then this video might be just the right thing for you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zaufonUBjoQ
She did also a project for one year, but she worked only on gratefulness. So it might seem easier, as it is not many different things at the same time. And she found great changes in her life also!
Another inspiration I got from Shawn Anchor, he says to do a sort of happiness hygiene in order to reach it. In his opinion we need onle to change one single thing in our lives to become happier. That way we learn to realise that our behavior matters. In his research he found out, that a 2-min habbit daily for 21 days can increase your level of happiness.
Doesn´t that sound doable and amazing!
For example he says to think about 3 things you are grateful for every morning for about 2 minutes, they have to be new ones every morning though, helps to become more optimistic. Or think about meaningful things that have happend to you during the day before, in those 2 minutes you write down every thing you can remember about those situations. Through writing it down you will relive it and double the positive effect of meaningful situations in your life. Another idea is to say thank you to someone, to take 2 mintutes to make a call or to write a message. This makes us feel like we have a strong social support, which has positive effects on our lives and health.
He says those are simple ways to make change possible and to change your view of live and to become happier.
I will keep you updated on how my Happiness Project is going!