“Happy Hour” has a complicated history of origin, but regardless of who and how (The French or the American Navy) there was a collective awareness that at a certain time of the day between 3-7 p.m. people are at the end of their will power. The end of their blood sugar. The end of working hard. People need a boost. They need and want to get Happy.
Happy Hour is both a euphemism for what isn’t and a destination and intention to change your state, and I’m not talking zip code here.
But Happy Hour doesn’t need a designated time nor does that mean you have to suck down 3 martinis or throw back 12 beers. Happy Hour is a place in your mind. Your mind is full of thoughts. 60,000 thoughts a day scientists say. (Who is doing all that counting anyway?) Thoughts trigger feelings.
So where is the well of all well being? And how can you train your brain to serve you up a shot of straight up Happiness with a jigger of joy and a chaser of cheer?
One of the fastest ways to change your thoughts is to change your physiology.
- Stand up—better yet, JUMP UP! Throw your hands into the air as if you were cheering at your favorite football game or rock concert
- Put on some fast music and dance. I use both language and a beat that gets me pumping happy juice and shaking off the icky stuff.
- Laugh deeply from your abdomen. Even if you fake laughing—your body doesn’t know it. Laughter causes a mechanical change that stimulates many organs enhances oxygen uptake, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles, and increases the endorphinS that are released by your brain.
- Pet your dog or look at pictures of baby animals. These acts physically cause your body to secrete oxytocin: the feel good hormone of connection.
USE LANGUAGE: “Language doesn’t describe our life – it creates it.” Tony Robbins
Practicing an UPWARD spiraling rant starting with the truth and spinning upwards really changes perspective – for example:
I’m pissed I have to work late. Working late means I’ll be late to the party. Parties are fun. I like parties. I dance at parties. Dancing makes me feel good. I like feeling good. Feeling good gives me energy. Energy motivates me. When I’m motivated I can get things done. I can feel motivated right now. I can get this done and get to the party.
I hate my body. I have a body. My body gets me through the day. I couldn’t be alive without my body. I like being alive most of the time. My heart is working. My lungs are working. Everything is working even if I abuse it and criticize it. My body still shows up. My body must be loyal. I like loyalty. Good friends are loyal. My body must be my friend. I like friends. I might like my body if I focused on how much it did for me even when I hurt it. I like thinking that I could like my body. I like the idea of being at peace with my body even loving my body and wondering how I can help my body even more.
It only takes a few minutes to rant and putting passion behind it and letting it lead to a positive place instead of remaining in the negative can change your whole day.
SHIFT YOUR FOCUS
Just like a camera lens whatever you focus on will be the picture you make in your mind. The picture you make in your mind creates a thought and your thoughts create feelings.
Open the aperture of your lens or point the camera lens in a different direction. It doesn’t dismiss the problem that’s there; it just gives you a different perspective. You see it differently. When you gain perspective, i.e. see something from many different angles you are able to reframe the meaning. Having that flexibility gives you freedom and choice.
When my daughter was little I often felt as if I could’ve been a hostage negotiator by the time she was 5. Everything was a negotiation and debate. Once when we were at Toys R Us looking for a gift for a friend, she was out of the cart and walked over to a box of ducks. She kept tugging on them to take them out.
“Zoë, you can’t take the ducks out of the box.” I said. She persisted until my third admonition to which she replied; “Mother, I’m not taking the ducks out, I’m just giving them a little fresh air.”
While this was cute, there were many times that opposition led to tears, (both hers and mine!) But in my thoughtful moments, I could reframe her intense “opposition “ and see it as a strong sense of self and an inner voice that would one day serve her in tough situations.
Happiness does not come from a drink, a pill, a person, an event or a thing. Happiness is a choice that comes from a place in your mind ~ any time of day.
Make Belief Affirmation: I choose my thoughts.