My dad used to tell us, “Get happy!”
It would drive me crazy—especially when I was in the throes of a tantrum or fighting with one of my brothers.
The last thing I wanted to hear was that I was supposed to somehow switch my entire mood and get happy.
Because it’s not that simple, right?
Still, my dad was happy about 99% of the time. So maybe he was onto something…
In grad school I learned about Cognitive Therapy.
According to Cognitive Therapy, our thoughts influence our emotions. So when we change our thoughts, we change our feelings.
We can identify our negative thought patterns and challenge our cognitive distortions. And replace them with more effective, rational thinking.
Which makes us happy.
It seems almost too simplistic, but it works. In fact, a robust body of psych research substantiates the effectiveness of Cognitive Therapy for treating a wide array of psychopathology—especially depression and anxiety.
It turns out Dad was right all along.
I CAN get happy—if I change my thoughts.