There are days when I feel a bit crap and moments when I feel hard done by.

When I sit and stew in uncomfortable emotions.

How do I manage and cope?

How can I switch up unhappiness to happiness?

Over the years, I have pursued happiness across countless potential sources.

Each time I appear to lay my fingertips upon it briefly, it evades me again.

Happy is an internal construct; therefore, no external agent, like food, drugs, relationships, possessions, career, etc., could ever hope to create it.

Happiness can not be sought; This approach will make it forever elusive.

To seek happiness is its antithesis.

We fail to find happiness because we look in the wrong place.

In the classic panto sketch, the character on stage desperately and unsuccessfully searches for something just outside their field of vision while the audience frustratingly screams: “BEHIND YOU!” hoping that the character will turn and find it.

So close and yet so far.

Happiness directly emanates from our natural state, which is peace and joy.

We cannot alter our natural state and therefore cease to be happy, but we can inadvertently facilitate hiding it under a cloud of unhappy thoughts. 


Having unhappy thoughts is different to ‘being’ unhappy.

I’m not splitting hairs.

If I identify with the thoughts and lose my awareness within them, I will feel and ‘think’ that I am indeed unhappy.

So what’s the difference?

I can disentangle myself from those negative thoughts.

It usually begins with the arrival of a life situation that our brain perceives as unfavourable.

It may indeed be a terrible set of circumstances, or the brain may be mistaken.

Maybe I find myself on the sofa without chocolate biscuits because I am taking a break from them, or in pain due to illness, or my business may have just lost a large client.

Whichever, my brain begins to build thoughts around what’s happened.

Unhappy thoughts.

  • I don’t deserve this
  • It’s unfair
  • Why me? Why now?
  • This is the end!
  • I’ll not recover
  • My life is shit
  • I hate this
  • etc..

Dense storm clouds of opaque unhappy thoughts move across the viewfinder of my consciousness.

The trap is set.

Like a ventriloquist, my thoughts are pretending to be me.

If I buy into this pretence, I identify with my thoughts, and those storm clouds cover, hide and eclipse me from my awareness completely, and I believe I am unhappy.

I need to recall that my life situation, thoughts and feelings are NOT me;

I need to remember that I am the awareness of these things and NOT the things themselves;

I must reawaken to see what is and is not real.

The reality is that I am a happy person with some difficult and tricky circumstances in the mix.

My brain is simply creating unhappy thoughts.

Freedom from unhappy thoughts is the key.

I find freedom by realising I am not the thoughts!

I become present again.

Mindful breathing helps.

Once I have disentangled my self from the thoughts, I can direct my attention to more practical matters:

Can I change the life situation? 

If so, do it.

If not, accept it and surrender to the reality that (right now) it is what it is, and monitor it for new opportunities to improve and change.

Sometimes it is helpful to modify the narrative in my head:

Instead of: “I have no treats/rewards”, I could say: “I am choosing not to eat biscuits.”

Instead of: “I’ve lost a client; it’s a terrible blow!” I could say: “I have more time for other avenues, and it will all work out in the end”.

Instead of: “This pain is unbearable.”, I could say: “This pain will end soon.”

I don’t climb up to happiness; I sit back into it.