Could you be happier?
Thank you for finding your way to this blog post.
I invite you to join me on a happy journey. My aim is to help you revamp your mind, relationships, home, work, and play to develop a deeper and more profound sense of wellbeing than you have ever experienced.
Before you begin this adventure, I will ask you to consider a new theory of happiness: a fresh, science-based formula to attain the deep joy we all want.
It is rooted in the stable wisdom of eons of human evolution when humans lived simply, humbly, and deeply connected to the earth.
The happiness gap
We need a new approach to happiness because I contend that almost all of us suffer from a chronic happiness gap. In the image below, the blue line shows the normal rise and fall of our happiness over time.
I hope to convince you that we could be living at a higher level of happiness. We will still have ups and downs but our overall level is higher than it is now, as the red line in the image below shows.
Yet most people notice no serious happiness gap in their lives.
Mainly because our emotional life gets little of our attention. Our culture does not train us in emotional introspection. Our parents never taught us that, nor did we learn it in school.
Instead we have been socialized to value our external self, our wealth, fame, power, or beauty. Except when our emotions run high, we are largely unaware of them.
So we have only a foggy notion of our happiness level, and even less understanding of the extra happiness we could attain.
Reflecting the cultural discomfort with emotions, science largely ignored the world of feelings for most of its history.
But about thirty years ago researchers began an intense study of emotional life in general, and happiness specifically.
As you will read in this blog, they made two important discoveries:
1. A relatively small number of behaviors are essential for a high level of happiness.
2. Most modern lifestyles fail to deliver many of these happiness ingredients.
Scientists are largely content to stay in their labs and do research and not popularize their studies. So today most of us are unaware of their discoveries.
Instead, the average person is content to follow the lead of mainstream culture and adopt the conventional vision of the good life that focuses on marriage, kids, a home with a backyard, consumption of media and material things, and working long hours to pay for all of it.
That happiness formula was formed long before the discoveries of happiness science, so no wonder it fails to deliver.
The first step in recognizing the happiness gap in your own life is to understand the revolutionary discoveries of happiness science, and much of this blog is devoted to helping you do that.
To depart from the “more money, more things” focus of the traditional happiness formula you will need a new mindset and a solid grounding in the radical new vision of happiness will give you that.
Unfortunately, science can be a turn-off to many people so they will avoid technical portions of this blog and jump directly to my strategies for a happier life.
But that is a mistake. To go against the cultural grain and your own deep habits you need powerful intellectual ammunition. Willpower experts say that familiarity with the science behind a technique motivates people to commit to it. “Don’t skip the science,” they advise.
So I will often remind you to read the overview of the research behind Joyshift. This blog will flesh out that summary, but you need the key points immediately. If you have not read the overview, do it now.
Hopefully you did that and now have learned about primal happiness nutrients and happiness traps; and that getting more of the former and less of the latter requires a regular happiness practice.
The primal nutrients and you
The next step is to know more about the primal nutrients and how many are missing from your life.To do that review the list below and answer the question Yes or No at the end of each line.
I visit a forest, beach, desert, mountain, or any other wild area every week. YES or NO
I have at least five people in my life to whom I can tell my most intimate secrets. YES or NO
I walk or ride, dance, do yoga, or a sport at least half an hour every day. YES or NO
My mind regularly fills with positive thoughts. YES or NO
I have moments of deep relaxation every day. YES or NO
I get lots of skin to skin touch. YES or NO
I have rewarding work or a hobby I am passionate about. YES or NO
I have a life partner. YES or NO
I sleep at least 7 hours every day. YES or NO
My living space has abundant natural light and is free of clutter. YES or NO
I laugh out loud every day. YES or NO
I am generous with gifts and praise. YES or NO
If you are like most people, you will have several No answers. Because vital primal nutrients are missing from your life, you almost certainly suffer a happiness gap.
The good news is that you can get them. My mission for this blog is to inspire you to start that happy journey.
The happiness practice that I propose is a comprehensive program for the development of your whole person, your body, mind, relationships, and personal environment. Each of these dimensions of your life impacts your happiness, so the practice gives attention to each to enable you to maximize your joy.
In this way, Joyshift is much more than yoga, meditation, diets, gym workouts, therapy, or any other single-dimension approach. It is an emotional fitness discipline that encompasses the 360 degrees of your life.
If I am right that you likely suffer a happiness gap, can you get a sense of that by monitoring your emotional life? I think so, and in the next post I discuss how to start that.