What is happiness? Some would define it in terms of being contented with what you have or are experiencing at the moment. Others would explain it in terms of what they own, where they live, and how much money they make. As a therapist, people frequently tell me that they determine their happiness by how others treat or regard them. Unfortunately, in that case they have completely surrendered their happiness to the whims of others. That is not a condition that I recommend.
However, I am now going to recommend that you consider another approach to happiness. Consider your dominant thoughts. Are you constantly ruminating and worrying about something that happened in your past? Or, are you obsessing about an event that may occur in the future? All the while, you are ignoring every passing moment. Just think of all the beauty that you are missing. Perhaps, if you took some time to actually smell the roses and enjoy a child’s laughter, you would find true happiness. This is the secret of the mindfulness trend that is currently popular among therapists.
By refocusing your awareness, you can decide just when it is appropriate to visit your past. No, I don’t recommend that you go there and obsess about what you cannot change. However, it may be helpful to remember your successes, times when you felt cheerful and appreciated, and even what lessons you learned from the not so good experiences. These become resources that can enrich your present and future.
Also, you can choose just how you want to view your future. Remember that it has not happened yet. So, you absolutely have the right to visualize your future anyway you wish. Of course, I would not recommend that you focus on negative outcomes. Even though it may be appropriate to be cautious at times and buckle your seat belt just in case something unwanted occurs, by imagining a favorable future you prepare your mind and body to accept your coming happiness. Additionally, you become a positive leader for those whose lives you touch. Don’t forget that the resources, which you collected when you visited your past, can be used to enhance your successes yet to come.
All of my prerecorded self-hypnosis sessions consider how a person manages the perception of time. Thus, I follow the principles just discussed. If a particular topic implies that a person is miserable because they are stuck in the past or future, I seek to free them. Then I always try to reframe their relationship with past memories and their anticipation of the future in a way that empowers them. A great example of this is my Happiness Generator self-help CD and MP3 session.