Thinking myself happy. It’s not a thought that crosses your mind very often but it is actually possible. I always thought my situations controlled my feelings and emotions and that if I was in a bad situation how on Earth could I be happy. But I was wrong.
I’ve recently been shown something called ‘The Cognitive Triangle’ and it looks like this – please excuse the mis-spelling of behaviour, this is obviously an American diagram…
As part of my Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (or CBT) I’m beginning to understand and discover more about this triangle more and more. Funnily enough, I do have control over my feelings and I also have control over how situations affect my thoughts and behaviours. But also, I don’t need to control everything, sometimes it’s easier just to take a step back and think “You know what, this isn’t worth feeling crap over.” This whole lack of control thing can do my head in sometimes, I’m currently learning and re-adjusting my thinking as my partner has planned a surprise holiday in a couple of weeks time and I have been given no hints! At all! I’m not that desperate for control that I am a control freak, I just like to know details like where we are going, what time, who’s going to be there etc. It helps me prepare mentally. But at the moment, I am learning to just let him do it and actually be surprised. It’s going to be great! It’s a massive learning curve, but it’s for the best!
This is how I have been living lately. If a person or a situation has made me feel anxious, or upset or angry; I think to myself, is it worth it? Those four little words have changed my life recently. Is it worth it? Usually, when it’s something that is making you feel negative, the answer is no. Is it worth beating myself up over something someone said? No. Is it worth running myself into the ground just to prove myself? No. Is it worth letting a situation control how I feel all the time? No. It is not worth it. And that is why I made a change.
Thinking myself happy is still a challenge, but you know what, it has improved my life and my well-being so much. I have so many things to be grateful for. I have a family and partner who loves me and would do anything for me. I have people who will support me and have my back no matter what. I have amazing friends that no matter how much time we spend apart, we never change. I have food on the table, a roof over my head and a car to drive. I am incredibly blessed. I live in a country that has running water, paved roads and beautiful sunrises. I have the ability to do anything I want with a bit of hard work and perseverance. The sky is the limit. I am actually getting up in the morning and exercising again. I am proving to myself that I can make the changes I need to make to improve my life. I have dreams and goals like getting married, buying a house and having kids that are actually achievable now with my loving partner. I consider myself so very lucky to be where I am right now. And that is the reason I think myself happy.
No matter how awful the situation I am in, no matter if it’s causing me to be anxious, I know deep down that I will always be alright. I have overcome every obstacle in my life so far and I will continue to do so until I am old and grey. Knowing that any situation causing me to be anxious, upset or angry, is not worth wasting energy on and telling myself in 12 months time it is probably not going to matter, is turning my way of thinking around.
Going back to ‘The Cognitive Triangle’ now. I have learnt that my feelings affect my thoughts and behaviours and vice-versa around the triangle. When my thoughts are anxious, upset or angry, I feel even more anxious and I start displaying anxious behaviours like my hands shaking, hyperventilating or crying. When my thoughts are strong and happy, I am confident and feel like I can take on the world, and I’d much rather be the strong and confident girl any day of the week. I am realising that I am in control of how I feel and I have the ability to feel happy and confident once again.
I am a strong, capable and confident woman who can do anything she puts her mind to. Nothing is going to bring me down today.
Until next time.