If you look me up online, you might get the impression I’m a really happy person. I’m always posting uplifting and inspirational quotes and a lot of my blogs are about how to live a good life. However, the reason I write so much about positivity is because I’ve had to work very hard to win my happiness.
I’m not going to sit here and tell you a tragic tale of woe. All in all, I’ve been very blessed. However, I’ve had my dings along the way and for most of my life I’ve struggled with a lot anxiety. I’m not talking about feeling down once in a while, I’m talking about the kind of anxiety that catastrophizes your thoughts and costs you many nights sleep.
At times my anxiety was simply a shadow humming along in the background of my day and other times, it was a viscous monster roaring in my face. However, large or small, it was always there, my constant companion. Like a slow moving river, it started eroding my joy and even began affecting my relationships. That’s when I knew something had to change.
A friend suggested I see a therapist, so off I went. What I thought was going to be a few sessions with a sympathetic listener turned into years on the couch. We dissected every aspect of my life in acute detail, how I was raised, my relationships, my religion and hello, my sex life. Believe me when I say, no stone was left unturned.
In the beginning, I was nervous, but also glad to have someone help me figure out what was wrong. I started understanding myself better and feeling more confident about how to handle specific challenges. However, my anxiety really wasn’t going away. In fact, it was getting worse!
On a weekly basis, I would ask my therapist, “When am I going to be done?” What I really wanted to know was, “When I going to FEEL better. When am I going to be happy?”
It took me a while, but I started realizing I wasn’t going to find the answers I was looking for laying on that couch. Don’t get me wrong, talk therapy is a wonderful tool for the right people under the right circumstances, but for me, it had become a crutch. I found myself rehashing the same stories over and over again and instead of feeling better, it felt like I was getting sucked down a rabbit hole.
I needed a different solution.
I did a little research and found out about behavioral therapy. I’m sure there’s a more scientific way to explain this, but from what I understand and experienced, behavioral therapy is where you challenge your fears with specific actions. I tried it for three months and after those three months, my anxiety decreased more than it had in the previous five years!
As you can imagine, I was incredibly relieved to have found something that worked so well and so quickly for me. However, this article isn’t meant to be a thesis on the benefits of behavioral therapy. I am not a medical professional and can only speak from my own experience. However, I don’t believe there is only one path to happiness. There are many healing modalities available, everything from psychoanalysis to kundalini yoga. What works for one person may not for the next and what works for you at one time in your life may not later on.
The goal of all of these tools is to help us feel good in our own skin, to embody joy. That’s what happiness really is. It’s not the fleeting thrill that comes from getting a raise, scoring a big deal or even finding the perfect lover, because all those things are external. It’s understanding, accepting and freely expressing the core of who you are with as much love and as little judgement as possible.
To me, happiness is a doing, not a feeling.
It has been many years since my stint on the couch and I can honestly I’m happier now than I’ve ever been, not because my mood is always sunny, but because I know how to find my inner home base more quickly now. It’s not always easy, but the effort is always worth it.
Happiness is not a state of being, it’s a practice. No matter which path you choose to get there, it will take work. It’s not something you hope for or even just talk about, it is something cultivate. You must fight for your happiness.
I’m sharing my story here because I know to be successful in life and in business, one of the greatest resources you have is your happiness. When you are happy, you are more creative, energetic and magnetic. You are more loving, giving and usually, a lot more profitable as well. That’s why I am so passionate about helping people unearth their authentic brand. It puts them back in touch with what is deeply and personally fulfilling so they can show up in the world with joy and serve from their heart.
If you have ever struggled with finding your happiness, don’t give up. There are many ways to get there, but remember it’s not a destination, it’s a commitment. I highly encourage you to prioritize your happiness. If you do, your life will thank you. Namaste. Xo ☺
Heather Poduska has over 20 years of professional performance experience on stage as an operatic soprano, speaker and as the host of the popular podcast and television show, “Thrive.” She combines her unique performance skills with her expertise as a personal brand strategist, image consultant and business coach to teach driven entrepreneurs how to unlock their star potential and become industry leaders. Her clients have appeared on national platforms both live and online and have made thousands of dollars speaking. However, Heather’s greatest love is helping entrepreneurs get to the core of who they want to be and giving them the tools to express themselves powerfully and authentically.