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How to Get Happiness by Susan Dunn

How to Get Happiness
by Susan Dunn, MA, Emotional Intelligence Coach

Im a coach who works with clients on personal and professional development issues. While no client has ever specifically asked me to help them become happier, I think its the purpose, yes? Our goals, plans and dreams are all designed to make us happier.

But what happens when we achieve a goal? Well, have you ever talked to someone who finally got a book published, or won a political campaign, found the partner they wanted, had the new baby, or got the big promotion and found them somewhat down in the dumps after a week or so?

Its a law of physics and a law of emotions that what goes up must come down. We need our successes, and certainly to have our goals and to reach them. This makes life interesting, allows us to explore ourselves and our potentials and talents, gives us a livelihood, and enriches our lives. We celebrate our successes with great joy and happiness, but this can only be a temporary state. What then?

Authentic and lasting happiness is a state of being not a state of mind. It must come from inner states, not external events. When you develop your emotional intelligence, youre more likely to achieve this state. It allows you to conduct yourself in happiness, in a positive state, through all the ups and downs of life.

Why develop your emotional intelligence? As W. L. Shirer wrote, Most true happiness comes from ones inner life, from the disposition of mind and soul. Admittedly, a good inner life is hard to achieve, especially in these trying times. It takes reflection and contemplation and self-discipline.

These are all emotional intelligence competencies which you can develop. Its well worth your time. Instead of focusing on time management, or stress management, or leadership, or communication, go to the foundational level and develop your emotional intelligence. Instead of taking a part, grab the whole. It will keep you off the pleasure roller coaster, where you expect momentary highs to last forever, or to sustain you through the inevitable challenges.

If you expect the highs to continue indefinitely, youre going to be disappointed. You have to be able to appreciate, as well, slow days, calm days, boring days, and the ordinary day because on some days thats the reality, and all we have is the day we have. You can stay present, instead of going into the future or back into the past.

The heights of emotion do not last. In the case of positive emotions, we are sorry. In the case of negative emotions, we are delighted. Think back on some major disappointment in your life, and process back over your emotional reactions. Surely there was anger, grief, sadness, frustration, even depression when it first occurred. (Or shock, which is a shutting down of emotions for protective purposes.) A week later, how did you feel? A month later? Now?

You can retrace the same with positive emotions. Put another way, after the honeymoon comes the marriage. But dont let this thought dismay you. It isnt why bother because Ill always go back to a low level. Part of developing your emotional intelligence is being able to tolerate greater levels of emotion. And things overall can become much more positive. After all, for most of us its the downward spiral after a failure or loss thats the most difficult to manage.

This receding of the initial emotion will be the course unless youve failed to develop resilience, an emotional intelligence competency. Resilience means being able to bounce back from failure, disappointment and loss without losing your enthusiasm and hope for the future. The only permanent damage from any deep emotional event would be if you came out of it bitter, cynical, or hopeless and unable to move on.

Learn to manage your emotions so you can keep a more even keel, enjoying the good, tolerating the bad, and knowing each will pass. This allows you to more greatly appreciate the good things, by the way. Sooner or later we learn to grab the moment when its good, yes? How many times have you heard someone say, I didnt appreciate it when I had it? That would be a real loss in your life, yes?

This is not about losing enthusiasm for achievements and goals. This is about laying the foundation that will allow you to maneuver better in all you do, have better outcomes and not sabotage yourself.

You see, we obstacles we throw in our own way are the ones we need to eliminate. The fear of success and the fear of failure are both about emotions. After all, the result of success is a high state of emotion, and the result of failure is a high state of emotion. Get beyond that. Go for your successes! Learn to manage your failures! Learn emotional intelligence.


About the Author
Susan Dunn, MA, Emotional Intelligence Coach, http://www.susandunn.cc . I teach individuals to master change and transform their lives through the power of emotional intelligence. Individual coaching, Internet courses, and ebooks (http://www.webstrategies.cc/ebooklibrary.html ). EQ matters more to your health, success and happiness than IQ, and it can be learned. Mailto:sdunn@susandunn.cc for FREE ezine.

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