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Finding Your Happiness

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INTRODUCTION Studies show that most of us are not happy I ve been writing and speaking on this topic for many years and have come to the conclusion that we aren t happy because we aren t thinking and acting happy This booklet a compilation of three of my previous articles takes you on my PATH toward nding and keeping happiness Follow it to your happiness Mindfully Chris Shea

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PATH is made up of 4 interconnected strategies to help us focus our thoughts feelings and behaviors to best respond to the world in a healthy way The rst step in practicing PATH is to practice mindfulness Take a moment throughout the day to recognize how you are feeling in the present moment Regardless of what you re feeling acknowledge it without judging it If you wish to feel differently then ask yourself what you can do differently If there is nothing at the moment you can change then accept it and nd something else you can change Chris Shea

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CHAPTER 1 How I Became SelfCon dent And Happy While growing up I was extremely shy and unaware if my abilities and talents This lack of self awareness coupled with my avoidance of others reinforced in me a belief that I wasn t capable of much in the way of outward achievement

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How I Became Self con dent And Happy I ve often been asked Have you always been this self con dent Do you ever doubt yourself I m always taken aback by these questions as I don t typically think of myself as con dent My current life activities consists of family life coaching counseling writing teaching at a university and college hosting a podcast giving lectures and speaking at conferences I keep myself active but I enjoy all that I do Is my enjoyment the self con dence people see in me Self con dence is de ned as a feeling of trust in one s abilities and talents yet this de nition presupposes that I have an awareness of my abilities and talents I feel this is the reason why many people lack self con dence they don t recognize their own abilities and therefore wrongly assume that they are unable or incapable of performing a task Actually I just described myself While growing up I was extremely shy and unaware of my abilities and talents This lack of selfawareness coupled with my avoidance of others reinforced in me a belief that I wasn t capable of much in the way of outward achievement As a child and even through my early adulthood I enjoyed the solitary pursuits of reading studying and writing Sure I had friends with whom I enjoyed activities with them but my friends were few and not among what was known as the in crowd For me and my insecurities and shyness they were safe A lack of self con dence is typically coupled with a person s self esteem and sense of self worth In my personal experience though that assumption wasn t true Although I lacked insight into my gifts and talents I did feel positive about myself I enjoyed my hobbies and the people I chose to be close to life was good My sense of self worth was high while at the same time my selfcon dence was low How can this be In my early life it meant that I did well in school but if I were given a task of importance to complete or asked to give a speech my mind would immediately jump to the thought Me I don t have the skill to do this There have to be people better at this than me At the time I failed to realize that I was asked because someone else saw the talent and ability in me I failed to take into account the perspective of the asker because I failed to recognize my own giftedness If I couldn t see it in myself I was never going to accept that someone else saw what I myself could not

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So what changed in me given my history of lack of self con dence and shyness that now I am able to speak to large crowds teach university classes and train groups of peers There s no one event or aha moment which made all the difference For me it was a progressive shift through meditation where I became more self aware of my giftedness as well as of my weaknesses It is in accepting both aspects of myself that I feel have been the most transformative Here are some re ections I have learned in my adult years which have impacted my ability to be self con dent I m not responsible for other s happiness I am responsible for my feelings and my actions toward others This helps my self con dence in that I don t seek nor need the approval of others to know that I am good at what I do The constructive opinions of family and close friends I respect but needing to be liked by everyone is no longer a goal of mine Not knowing is ok Early in my career I sti ed myself in that I felt that if I didn t know everything there was to know in my eld than I was a fraud I now recognize how wrong I was but it was in me eventually realizing that even the experts in my eld didn t know everything for me to gain con dence in my own knowledge and experience of my eld What I don t know I will learn from others and so continue to grow

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I became empowered in my self con dence every time I stepped out of my comfort zone only to realize that I did well The more times I gave something a try and ended with positive results the more I became con dent in my abilities Yes those times when it didn t go well seemed to set me back more than the positive times moved me forward but regardless I kept on keeping on I m not perfect when it comes to public speaking or teaching etc but I do my best and more times than not there is positive feedback from the audience Had I not moved out of my comfort zone my self con dence would still be quite low Take time for yourself Self care is vitally important to physical and mental health Spending time nurturing yourself and meditating provides you the opportunity to know yourself better In this self knowledge you will nd your con dence and your growth opportunities Work on both As I mentioned above self con dence is not to be equated with always being right or knowing everything Self con dence grows from an understanding of who you are the positives and negatives We all have growth opportunities so don t let the fact that you are not perfect stop you from feeling self con dent Feel selfcon dent knowing that you are both talented and awed perfect in some aspects yet need to grow in others In my continuing journey of self con dence I realize that I don t need to be perfect in all knowledge or skill but I do need to be self re ective with a willingness to grow Take the time to learn about yourself then step out of your comfort zone and give it try If it works well wonderful do it again If it doesn t work well wonderful learn from it then do it again

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CHAPTER 2 The Future Worries Me As It Should We xate our thoughts on the future and so complain that the future worries us If we stay focused on the future than yes I d be worried about my future too But there is a solution which I offer in my four tips for coping with the future

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The Future Worries Me As It Should If I were to ask for a show of hands how many of you would raise your hand in agreement that generally speaking I m worried about the future I m assuming most of your hands are raised in agreement Why is this so Why does the prospect of the future worries me resonate The answer is fairly simple and consists of one word unknown No one knows the future Therefore by its very nature the future is an unknown Since it s an unknown it tends to be scary because I can t properly prepare myself for it Therefore the future worries me As humans most of us desire to be in control of our daily lives although no matter how much we strive for control much of life is beyond our control The future is one of those areas outside of our control When we feel that we can t control an aspect of our lives then we feel out of control Feeling out of control is scary as we worry about where we will end up if we aren t in control So the future is not only an unknown but it s also out of our control Actually the future isn t in anybody s control So yes when the future worries me it should THAT S NORMAL When I work with clients who are worried about the future obsessing over it stressing over it I help them to understand that their feelings about their future are to be expected If we are to dwell in the future meaning keeping our thoughts focused on the future then we will be worried and anxious The statement that the future worries me is deeply felt I let my clients know that although what they re feeling is a normal response to their thought if they would rather not feel worried and anxious then they need to do only one thing change their thought If keeping my thoughts in the future causes me to worry and have anxiety does it not make sense that changing my thought removing my thoughts from the future would cause me less worry and stress The common de nition of insanity is doing the same action over and over yet expecting a different result Therefore the de nition of sanity is doing a different action and so getting a different result Here are my four tips for coping when the future worries me

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Refocus your thoughts Throughout the day whenever you feel worried or anxious pause a moment to notice where your thoughts are focused Are your thoughts focused on the past or the future If so this is the source of your worry The future worries me when I dwell in the future Consciously move your thoughts back to the present moment by consciously focusing on what you are now seeing feeling experiencing etc We have control over the present moment so keeping our thoughts focused on the present automatically reduces our worry and anxiety Change your perspective Perspective is how you see and interpret the world around you Our interpretation is derived after being ltered through how you feel about yourself If you re negative about yourself you re most likely negatively focused on the world around you and vice versa Changing our perspective on an issue allows us to view a different way of thinking which may help us nd a solution different than those we ve tried before A different solution leads to a different outcome and therefore sanity Worst case scenario When we dwell in the future we tend to focus on what can go wrong TIP referencing number 2 above a change in perspective would be changing your focus from what can go wrong to what can go right Why must it be negative Since I don t know my future why focus my thoughts in only one option the negative option Since I don t know the future isn t it possible that it could be positive Since you re already focused on what can go wrong consciously ask yourself What s the worst case scenario When you objectively and logically review what you fear as the worst case may in fact not even be that bad A few months ago I was working with a client on this very topic I used the example that what if a sinkhole developed right now and this whole building went down What s the worst case The client stated that the worst thing that could happen is that he dies I asked why that s the worst that could happen to him Of course he mentioned family kids friends etc but that s not the worst case for him it s the worst case for them If he dies he s dead there are no more worries or concerns for him So the worst case might be that he survives and is scared Yes being scared is normal What do you do next You try to climb out you either succeed at it or rescuers nally get you out but regardless the odds of being trapped in the hole alive with no one coming to save us would be rare And if you say but what about the zombie apocalypse Well in that scenario I would rather be hidden in the hole My point being worrying about a future sinkhole will cause anxiety but understanding that even the worst case scenario isn t that bad allows us to reduce our worry about an impending sinkhole Plan for the future with a reasonable expectation Please don t misinterpret what I m saying I m not saying that to live in the present means we forego any future planning Not at all First concerning the scenario for which you are planning determine those areas of the scenario for which you do and don t have control over Those areas you have no control over you need to ignore But those areas you do have control over you need to make plans Understand that the decisions you make today will impact your future plans And situations and events out of your control will impact your future plans This is why I say that we need to have a reasonable expectation We can make the best plans in the world but keep in the back of your mind that they may not come true And that s alright Why The opportunities which may open up for you instead may be better than what you wanted In the future other opportunities may exist which don t exist today and there s no way of knowing that until we live in the future s present moment So make your goals plan for your future but keep an open mind to what that future may actually reveal

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Let this thought comfort you today was yesterday s future for which you worried Was it as bad as you thought Tomorrow is today s future What decisions and plans can you make today to help you in the future of tomorrow Chris Shea

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CHAPTER 3 How To Change My Perspective And Be Happy Over the years I ve come to the realization that my perspective is a point of life we don t think of Yet perspective in uences and dictates how I feel and act

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How To Change My Perspective And Be Happy It s all about my perspective I feel that we are challenged to understand that the way we view or perceive the world around us is directly related to how we see ourselves If I have low self esteem or do not consider myself in a positive way how can I view my relationships work and my community in any way but negative Sure I can fake it and many people will believe the lie I tell them and the lie I tell myself but we know the truth During my undergraduate studies I had a professor who was very knowledgeable in his eld yet was quite miserable in his life If you met him while you both were getting the morning coffee and were to say to him good morning his response would always be don t tell me what kind of morning to have In varying degrees we ve all felt similar to that professor We can t fathom a good morning or a beautiful day or success Why Because we don t feel it within us We feel lost unloved anxious that the world is against me Those feelings are my perception and that perception in uences how we view our external world My perception becomes and indeed is my reality Reality philosophically and experientially is not widely understood I ll stay away from a philosophical discussion of reality except to reiterate that our experience of reality is based on our perceptions None of us experiences the world in precisely the same way as anyone else experiences it Our existence as it is experienced by each of us at this moment is based on how we feel about ourselves and what we have learned up to this moment All of our past experiences have taught us lessons Every choice you ve made with its resulting consequence showed you to either make that choice again or to make a different choice in the future Everything you were directly or indirectly told by family friends co workers colleagues etc have in uenced you coupled with your choices and experiences Everything which has happened to you up until this moment has in a signi cant way affected who you are right now

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Therefore in a real way we are a product of our history This is why I often say that the purpose of the past is to learn from it rather than dwell on it Since we are products of our past decisions and actions the theory is correct that if we don t like who we are today all we need to do is make different future choices and take different future actions In other words make a perspective shift If we don t like who we are today all we need to do is make different future choices and take different future actions In other words make a perspective shift Chris Shea Since we learned one way of being we can learn another different way of being We aren t stuck We can change perspective Through our experiences we not only learned ways to act but we also learned ways to think If the experience was not emotionally pleasant or an experience we want to forget we learned what is called distorted thoughts or irrational thoughts as a way of emotionally coping The reason we call speci c thoughts distorted or irrational is that these thoughts do not deal with reality nor do they lead us to happiness or inner peace When traumatic experiences happen to us our emotional response is to protect oneself How we protect oneself is by skewing in our mind the reality of the event so that it becomes a reality we can cope with In other words it becomes my perspective This new reality is different from the reality we are experiencing so that we can better deal with life The coping mechanism itself is not harmful as it allows us to cope during the emotional experience but if we continue to view our world in this skewed way we no longer interact with the world as it is but as we perceive it to be in my perspective Therefore we call these thoughts distorted or irrational thinking Identifying and understanding the origin of your distorted thinking allows you to reframe and change your thoughts to those which are healthy and will lead you to happiness and inner peace We need to change perspective Our life s challenge is to stay focused on the present moment non judgementally feeling what it is we are meant to feel at this moment then making decisions which will lead us to a healthy way of coping with life a perspective shift How do I know that I am coping healthily Your thoughts and your actions will lead to resolution of your issues and you will begin to feel inner freedom and peace for which you have longed Then you will know that you are healthily coping with life

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BOOK AN ONLINE SESSION Motivational guidance for improving one s life What makes me different from other life and wellness coaches is that I m not promising you your dreams I work in leading you to nd inner peace resulting in self love expressed in action My goal is not to make you healthy thin successful or rich Honestly I don t care if you succeed or fail in aspects of your life My goal is for you to nd inner peace regardless of what is happening in your life The key to nding this peace is spelled out in my PATH program with it s focus on teaching you to shift your priorities and perception BOOK NOW Christopher Shea and Lifesjourney 2020 Unauthorized use and or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Christopher Shea is strictly prohibited Excerpts and links may be used provided that full and clear credit is given to Christopher Shea and Lifesjourney with appropriate and speci c direction to the original content here