Featured Mindfulness By Chris Akins / a couple of years ago Have you ever paid attention to the color of your world? Sounds like an odd question, but the answer may go a long way to explaining how happy – and successful – you are. Everybody knows or has met people who always seem to have a talent for being happy. These people almost never seem to be down. They can easily find the positives in bad situations, or if not the positives at least hope. These are people find joy in almost everything, no matter how big or small. They are the chronically happy. Likewise we all know or have met those that never seem to be happy, no matter what the situation. They can turn any event or environment into a negative. They can find the smallest flaws in anything, and even when there are no flaws can predict a future calamity. They focus on the risks of the world and deny the positive. These are the chronically unhappy. But why do some people seem to be happy or content in even the worst of situations, and other seem to be unhappy or malcontent even in the best of situations? Again, it has to do with the color of their world. Or more accurately, the color they perceive their world to be. If you read this blog you probably know where this is going. We all live in our own little subjective realities. Sure, there are some very objective commonalities – like gravity – in all of our realities, but aside from the physical laws of the universe (and even many of those are questionable or at least not very well understood) our realities are unique. It is the differences in our perceptions of reality that determine our baseline levels of happiness. Generally happy people and generally unhappy people not only think about the world differently, the actually *think* in different ways. They paint the world using different colors and different palettes. Happy people generally perceive events and people around them in a positive or edifying light. They literally think good thoughts about their world. And even in bad times they tend to focus not on the current badness, but on the possibility of future goodness. They paint the world in lighter, brighter colors. They run from the dark to the light. Unhappy people generally perceive their world as dangerous, gloomy, or threatening. They use different strategies for living in this dark world. They are constantly alert for bad things even when all the evidence points to good times. They paint the world in dark colors, and constantly seek to retreat from the light to the dark. Think of the possibilities! Hopefully, you can discern from the above that it is our patterns of thinking and strategies for living in our world that play a massive role in our happiness. This is not just speculation. There is a ton of research in the field of psychology to back this claim up. The lesson here is that if you are aware of the colors you are using to paint your reality, you can change the palette! Look for the good in your experiences instead of the bad, accept that challenges in life do not mean life is challenging, view your world as a place of adventure instead of a place of danger, hang out with positive people instead of negative people… and the list goes on. Activities like journaling and meditation can help you buy a new brush and new colors with which to paint your reality, and you can start now!