“Happiness cannot come from without. It must come from within. It is not what we see and touch, but that which we think and feel and do”… Helen Keller (1880–1968)
Happiness is an emotion that we humans feel, dependent, not on external events but on the thoughts that accompany those external events. Throughout life, problems may arise and things may go wrong: you may make mistakes; others may treat you badly.
If the way you think about these things is negative, there’s a good chance you’ll probably blame others; or you may blame the weather; or you may even blame yourself for the bad things happening in your life.
Having a negative view of events will decide how you feel emotionally about those events: angry, frustrated, anxious, resentful, for example, and, those feelings will affect your behaviour.
In short: What you think decides how you feel and how you feel will decide how you will act in any given situation. This is the basic idea of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) — or as I like to call it: CogT.
It’s not about forcing yourself to think positively all the time or conning yourself with a ‘Pollyanna’ type outlook on life; that would be like putting lipstick on a pig. It’s about examining how you think about any given situation; if the way you think is unhelpful to your mental health, CBT can help you develop a strategy to help balance your thinking.
Although CBT is generally used as a psychotherapy, I’ve found it to be much more: CBT is a life-skills and problem-solving model and I’ve found it to be a huge asset to my personal development.