I spent my 20s ignoring the nagging in my heart. The little voice I locked away in a ‘black box’ at the back of my mind.
It took a lot of courage to say I wasn’t happy with my life, with my job, with my relationships. It took courage to say it to myself, let along anyone else! I wasn’t sure why I wasn’t happy. Just that ‘something didn’t feel right’. I was skilled at putting a smile on face and pretending everything was ‘fine’. When inside, it wasn’t.
There is a ‘happiness index’ in the UK. According to the Office for National Statistics, people were asked to rate levels of happiness, anxiety and overall satisfaction with life, with the average score for satisfaction coming out at 7.69 out of 10. The good news is more people said they felt happier in the year ending June 2017 than the previous year but it still means 2.31 people out of every 10 are ‘dis-satisfied’ with their lives! That’s still shocking. Nearly a quarter of the population are not happy with their lives?? Whoa! Something needs to happen here!
But how many times do we actually say the words ‘I’m not happy’?
When do we ask each other ‘Are you happy?’ and give honest responses?
Perhaps it’s the British ‘stuff upper lip’ or the influence of social media presenting everyone’s ‘perfect’ lives that makes it hard to say ‘actually no, things are a bit shit, could you help me’?
Its not to say happy people are happy all the time and unhappy people are always unhappy – this for me is about that general feeling that ‘something’ is missing from life, something is going on that isn’t fulfilling you.
Happiness should be the feeling you want to have when you look back on your life in your old age, and know you did everything in your power to live the life that is true to your heart. (for inspiration check this article on The Regrets of the Dying)
With the rise in levels of depression and anxiety among our population, it is even more important that we take the time to check out our own ‘happiness’ levels, and give ourselves permission when we are not happy to admit to it. Everyone has their own definition of ‘happy’ and I hope over the next few blogs you can start to uncover your own ‘happiness’ index and start to take some steps to bring you back to a 10/10 for life satisfaction.
Its too easy to plod along with every day, ignoring the niggle locked in the black box, saying ‘I’ll deal with that later’. I implore you, if you feel the niggle, if you’ve got The Wobble Factor (see previous blog here) now is the time to act on it. Draw out those feelings. Hit them head on and do something about it. You don’t have time in life to wait.
One tip I have found works wonders for me to work out what I am ‘really’ feeling deep down is writing. It’s a bit old school but a notebook and pen have been my saviours on my self discovery journey over the past couple of years .
When my coach suggested writing, I thought ‘what a load of bollocks’ But now I’m the other side of it, I can’t recommend the practice of regular journaling enough. Often if I’m over thinking something or worrying, I go straight to my journal and write.
And there is a reason for this.
We live most of our time in our ‘conscious’ minds. We are trained out of using our subconscious from a young age in schools where we follow a structured, process focused education system.
Our subconscious is where all our beliefs, deep desires and true feelings live. It develops mainly when we are between 4-7 when our neural pathways connect to hardwire into us who we are going to develop into as adults. And then continues to develop, but we don’t acknowledge our subconscious very often. In fact T.Harv Eker author of Secrets of a Millionaire Mind says that 80% of us live in our conscious minds all the time.
Our ego (that is our conscious mind) does so much of the work and it’s very good at pushing the subconscious out of the way.
But why is the subconscious important and what does this have to do with writing and happiness?
Writing acts like a magic ‘superhighway’ to what is going on in your subconscious, in your soul. Its like a direct line to your deepest inner thoughts, dreams, desires, what makes your happy. The real stuff that is hidden away in the ‘black box’. When you write (and it has to be pen and paper not typing!) you will find things come out on the paper that you had no idea were there!
Trust me. It’s a bizarre thing when it happens the first time!!
And I’ve made some major life choices in the last couple of years based on what has come out when I have been writing.
Writing removes the veil, the filter that happens when you ‘think’ about things too much, when you let you mind do the thinking and don’t connect with your soul that ‘sits’ in your subconscious. It may sounds strange, and that’s because your mind is telling you it is! Listen to your heart. Your intuition. It’s the ‘real’ you.
So here’s what to do:
- Find yourself a pen and a notebook and sit at a table. In a quiet place with no-one around to disturb you.
- Set yourself a timer for 10 minutes.
- Now when the timer starts, put the pen onto the paper and write. Don’t THINK about what you are writing. And write as fast as you possibly can. Don’t stop. Just keep going. It might not make any sense, your writing will probably be crap. But just write. Keep going. Don’t stop.
This is called ’Free-writing’ and is a powerful tool.
- Once you have free written for the 10 minutes, stop and observe how you feel? What came up for you?
Perhaps something, maybe not a lot.
But now you are on your journey to open up your subconscious, open up and connect with your soul and start to awaken what is going on with your ‘happiness’ levels and what you can do about it.
I find asking myself a question before I write is helpful. Once you start to write, you’ll come up with your own questions that you want to answer.
But here are a few that will start you off:
What am I happy about it my life?
What am I unhappy about in my life?
What do I want to change?
How committed am I to making these changes?
I suggest you start this practice every day. Spend 15-20 minutes quietly journaling. Write a question at the top of the page or just free-write. Whatever feels right to you. Just DO NOT THINK!! Otherwise it won’t work. It doesn’t matter what you write, no-one else ever needs to see this.
Just know that the writing is TRULY YOU. Its your SOUL coming through to show you that it is awakening and leading you on the path to lead your true life that will lead you to 10/10 satisfaction and happiness every day, or at least on most days!
Follow your heart and your intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.