A HELPFUL ARTICLE
The Difference between Feeling Happy and Being Happy
By definition, the word happy means feeling or showing pleasure or contentment. I think I can safely say many of us are really good at showing the world our happy. Just scroll through your Instagram or Facebook feed and you will see all the smiling faces. But are these people really happy? Do they truly FEEL it?? It was only recently at the young age of 40, did I really understand what feeling happy meant and how it has changed my outlook on life. There are so many examples of times in my life that you would expect me to be happy like graduating from high school, getting accepted to college, getting into Yale PA program, getting married, having a child, buying a house. ..and I WAS happy. But I will admit that during some of the happiest moments in my life, I did not fully embrace or feel. Seriously? YES. Because to feel means to be aware, and I cannot say I have always had the self-awareness I do now. After the birth of my daughter which was admittedly not the happiest time in my life (check out my IGTV video Who the Hell am I for why) I struggled to find my way and myself. By making the time to commit to my physical health through at-home workouts I could do in 30 minutes or less, drink a silly shake (I prefer Shakeology), and to check in with an online group, my mental health and clarity began to improve. I felt alive again. I was a better mother, Physician Assistant and wife. I wanted to share it with the world and thus began my coaching journey (be sure to check out what the hell is a health coach). I had no idea where this would lead or how much I would learn. I credit this “other job”, aka my side hustle, for truly teaching me how to FEEL happy. As I coach I do a lot with personal development. I NEVER did this before and there was no way I was going to read self-help books. But I don’t do anything half-ass, so when I decided to commit and this was part of the system, I jumped in. And lets be real, I don’t read or I will fall asleep so I listen to audiobooks in the car or at night. I have listened to tons of these books by now, but my hands down favorite has been “The Happiness Advantage” by Shawn Achor. I had no idea the abundance of clinical research that has been done on the subject of feeling happy. This book single handedly describes the nitty gritty of how your brain biologically changes during times when you feel happy, and how to capitalize on this positivity every day. Being a science dork and a PA, who is surviving a career in cancer, I thrive on data and evidence based medicine…so this book had me at hello. I have taken some of the principles from this book and many others to retrain my brain to find the positives in any situation, to focus on the moment and how I feel in that moment as it happens, not just observe it happening with a smile.
There are many ways you can start to do this, but some of the best and easiest ways are:
1-Write down 3 things every night that were good about your day. Do this for just 3 days and the centers in your brain that stimulate feelings of happiness with be ignited.
2- Send a gratitude letter. Write an email or a text to someone who has impacted your life and simply thank them. Yes this sounds cheesy, but the feeling it elicits will make you happy in the second it takes to write it.
3-Exercise and Eating Habits. Did you know that exercise done 5 days a week is as effective as an antidepressant?? Yup, the science is there to back it up. We are all busy. We all have an excuse. But I have your solution to be able to get this done and start you feeling happy about yourself and your life so what are you waiting for? (Email me)
4-Fail forward. When you fail, which you inevitably will..I do all the time (check out my Mom-Fails), try to find one thing about this experience that was positive and how you can build off of that.
5-Listen or Read Personal Development. Seriously, these books are amazeballs. Some of my faves are: The 5 second rule by Mel Robbins, obviously the Happiness Advantage, Crushing It by Gary Vaynerchuck.
Last weekend I sat by the pool watching my daughter and husband laugh, and I felt happy in the pit of my stomach. It is a feeling I cannot fully describe in words but only want everyone to have the opportunity to feel. Let me help you FEEL your happy with the system that has showed me how.