Is happiness all in your imagination? How your mind can influence your happiness.
We all use our memory and imagination to make choices about our future. However, we are not usually aware how our brains manipulate information to help us make choices. Our lack of awareness often leaves us open to making mistakes when deciding about how the future may pan out. So, the choices we make often leave us unhappy. Below are some details about how your mind controls your choices.
You try to predict the future
We trust that our predictions of the future are accurate and face disappointment when thy don”t turn out to be. Your imagination has the ability to create predictions of the future based on simple bits of information. For example, you might decide to go to the zoo. You imagine all the exciting and exotic creatures you will see. The problem is that once you have imagined this scenario for your future, you may start to believe that this is how the day will unfold. You expect things to turn out as you imagined. Based on the simple concept of going to the zoo your brain filled in all those other little details! There are an infinite number of alternative ways the day might unfold. This can cause disappointment because you have already put so much energy and trust into your illusion of what the day should be like.
Your emotions influence your future
Our current emotional state influences how we think about the future. You probably believe that your predictions about the future are rational. However, your current emotional state can strongly influence how you imagine future events. Your emotions can manipulate your perception of the future in other ways, too. Say, someone does something annoying whilst you are planning a future event with them, you might expect that that person will annoy you when the event takes place. You make your expectation a self-fulfilling prophecy by focusing on all the annoying things they do, just to prove yourself right.
You only remember weird stuff.
Your mind assumes that what you remember must happen more often. Because we are unaware of why we remember unusual events more clearly, we assume that unusual moments are more common than they are. We focus on unique events rather than the entire experience. So a few strange moments can make us remember the entire experience as being better or worse than it was. Imagine that you went out to eat at a new restaurant and George Clooney was seated at the table next to you. You were so excited you hardly noticed the mediocre meal that came out or the unattentive waiter. In fact you”d probably be pretty excited to go back to that restaurant again. Unfortunately, this can lead us to make mistakes when we try to replicate experiences. You can’t trust your memory because it remembers the strange and unique over the boring, normal stuff.
You regret not taking action.
Your brain is designed to make even bad decisions look better in hindsight. When experiences are unpleasant, we try to explain them in ways that makes us feel better. We regret not taking action because our minds find it difficult to come up with positive views of events we don’t have first-hand experience with. Our brains can’t create positives where we did nothing. The most voiced regrets are always of things people didn’t do. If you are not sure if you should do something, the best option is to just do it! You can learn from your mistakes, but you don”t learn anything from not trying.
You are happier with less choice.
You will often feel happier in a situation where we have little to no choice, than in one where you have many options. If you know that you can’t change a thing or event, you’ll probably see it in a much more positive light. Focusing on the good aspects and feeling more satisfied. Unfortunately, we don’t realise that we react in this way, so we seek situations that give us more choices and more freedom. It is actually a lack of choice and freedom that can make us happy. So, whilst we value freedom and choice, we are often happier when we can’t change things.
How to lose the illusion and be happier by choice.
Now that you know how your mind can play tricks on you here”s what you can do to live a happier life.
- Acknowledge your expectations as illusions. If you find yourself daydreaming about upcoming events take a moment to tell yourself that your thoughts and emotions are just an illusion. Then drop your expectations.
- Take risks, be bold. If you”re faced with a decision of whether to do something or not, just do it. Your mind is an expert in taking the positives out of your experiences, but it cannot do the same when you don’t act. Even if the decision does not pan out the way you expected, you will still be able to take something from the whole scenario.
- Reduce the number of choices you have. Decide on one thing and stick to it knowing that you”ll be happier with that thing if you are not focused on other options.
Are your ready to create your Happy Life?
The Happy Life Goals course has been designed to get you on track to happiness.
Kinesiology can help you detach from illusion.
Kinesiology can be used as a tool to identify and reduce stress on a subconscious level. Kinesiology provides a unique way to shift strong negative emotions, attitudes and beliefs so that we can detach from situations and see them for what they really are so that you can make the best non-biased choice for yourself.
Suggested kinesiology treatment plan.
- An initial 90 minute kinesiology consultation followed by 3 – 5 standard consultations 1 -2 weeks apart.
- Further follow-up standard consultations should be spaced between 2 -4 weeks apart or booked as needed.
Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert helps answer the question: why do we make decisions that leave us unhappy? By showing how our brains work, it aims to help us imagine our futures in new ways, ways that could leave us happier. Purchase from Book Depository.
Kristen is a qualified Kinesiologist, Coach, Counsellor an Yoga teacher. She has been helping people with their physical, emotional and spiritual journeys for over 12 years.
Kristen specialises in working with the mind-body-energy connection and the subconscious mind. She works with the energy-body as an interface between the physical and the mind.
By bringing together kinesiology, conscious coaching, counselling, dreamwork, yoga and chinese medicine Kristen can help you to balance your energy to achieve a fulfilling, successful, happier life.
Kristen’s passion is helping you to achieve inner peace, purpose and clarity by discovering your own unique truth and working towards your highest potential.
Kristen practices in Camberwell, Victoria.