Good News! Finally, there is scientific research to back up what psychologists and therapists have been saying for years; acting on what makes people happy has a powerful effect on their lives. In other words, the pursuit of happiness doesn’t happen to people because they are just lucky, on the contrary; bliss occurs by actively changing your current thoughts and practicing new ones. One way to accomplish this is by affirming daily positive thinking. The practice of positive affirmations was hilariously satirized by the SNL T.V. skit known as “Daily Affirmations with Stuart Smalley”. Smalley was played by actor/comedian Al Franken who sat in front of a mirror reciting phrases like “I’m Good Enough, and Smart Enough and Doggone it People Like Me”! Along with Franken and the SNL gang of writers, the practices of Positive Psychology recently gained a boost from Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky. Lyubomirsky, a research psychologist at the University of California at Riverside, published the results of her study on the brain and happiness in her book entitled, The How of Happiness. She essentially came up with the brain-pie diagram that illustrates how 5% of our happiness relates to genetics, 10% to environment, leaving 40% to what we do and how we think. This 40% is not only a significant chunk but also reinforcement for those currently practicing their positive daily affirmations!
Here’s a helpful list developed by noted Psychologist Albert Ellis, PhD. that may help you identify what negative thought processes are that can create/cause emotional upset; or as he called it your “stinking thinking”! Ellis felt this list was universal and that these common beliefs were the result of rigid thinking or demandingness of thought vs preferential thinking.
- It is a need or dire necessity to be liked or loved by all
- I must be perfect, not fallible at all times and can’t make mistakes
- Life should/must be fair
- Things should go my way or that would be awful
- I can’t stand what happens, occurs in my life
- My childhood must continue to control or determine my emotions/behavior (it’s their fault I’m a mess)
- Unhappiness is externally caused and I can’t control it
- They made me angry or I did it because of them
- Others must agree, or do as I say/think/believe
So, for those of you who want to get on board and up your happiness quotient, you can take a cue from Stuart .Write down some phrases that resonate with how you would like to feel or act, check for rigid or inflexible thinking, rephrase as a desire then repeat, repeat, repeat ! Because as Stuart always says “practice makes me perfect and doggone it I’m worthy”! Finally, this is one of my favorite positive affirmations by Marianne Williamson (paraphrased):
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure…we ask ourselves who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are younot to be..there is nothing enlightened about shrinking so others won’t feel insecure around you…as we let our own light shine liberated from fear, we unconsciously give permission to others to do the same…we are all meant to shine and make manifest the glory of god that is within us”