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Elisa Goldstein, Ph.D.Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.
A blog about mindfulness, stress-reduction, psychotherapy and mental health.

Nurture Happiness

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. Updated: Jun 17th 2013

happyWe have good documentation and evidence now to know that our brain’s our wired to keep us safe. This makes evolutionary sense of course. But what this also means is that moments when we feel happy and joyful are also moments when the brain may go on alert to look for things that could potentially threaten our state of well-being. Unfortunately, this also tends to take away our well-being making us feel anxious, depressed or irritable. Here’s a question to consider:

Take 1-minute to repeatedly answer the question:

“What do I love?” 

For me I can think of laying down in a field of grass on a nice day with a wide sky. I can think of biting into my Nana’s Kugel. I can think of the laughter of my children or feeling of a nice warm aromatic bath. 

There are many things to love that we don’t usually give time to think about. In fact, many of these things might be quite ordinary, but we just don’t take them in as things we love while they’re happening. 

But even if we do, it may not last for long, the brain may jump up with scenarios about how it can be taken away. 

Some other reasons this happens is because there is an underlying sense of unworthiness. This is the belief that I don’t deserve this moment of joy. Maybe this has been an embedded belief because you were taught that you had to work really hard to deserve any kind of play. Or maybe you were told repeatedly as a child how defective you are. 

Whatever the reason, there is something there that strips away your joy, a vital element of life that  not only is a feeling of happiness, but also a source of resiliency during difficult times. 

One way to get to joy is to continue to ask yourself, “What do I love?”

When resistance arises, see if you can meet it with some understanding and caring. Ask yourself, “What do I need right now?” Is it love, a sense of belonging, or maybe some space? 

Try and give yourself that, slowly and gently getting comfortable with experiencing what you love again and again, nurturing happiness.

As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from. 

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles and is author of the upcoming book The Now Effect, co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of the Mindful Solutions audio series, and the Mindfulness at Work™ program currently being adopted in multiple multinational corporations.

Check out Dr. Goldstein's acclaimed CD's on Mindful Solutions for Stress, Anxiety, and Depression, Mindful Solutions for Addiction and RelapsePrevention, and Mindful Solutions for Success and Stress Reduction at Work. -- "They are so relevant, I have marked them as one of my favorites on a handout I give to all new clients" ~ Psychiatrist.

If you're wanting to integrate more mindfulness into your daily life, sign up for his Mindful Living Twitter Feed. Dr. Goldstein is also available for private psychotherapy.

    Reader Comments
    Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

    Voltaire quote - - Jun 19th 2013

    "I have chosen to be happy because it is good for my health"

    Voltaire

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