Last week was international happiness day and I’ve been celebrating all week by reminding myself of what makes me happy and sharing my advice on happiness with others. It’s something we’re all in pursuit of yet so often missing the mark. It’s the question we’re all trying to find the answer to. What is happiness and how do we get it? Happiness is not the mere absence of suffering or temporary cessation of unhappiness. It’s less about elation and perfection more about how we react to challenges, about purpose and fulfilment, being connected to who you are. To mark the close of my week long celebration of happiness here are 10 things we need to know about happiness
- It’s the journey not the destination
We seem to think that happiness is not possible in the here and now. It’s a struggle now so we can enjoy happiness later (perhaps when we retire?) We seem to think happiness is always some far off destination we’re aiming for. A point we eventually reach, a place where everything is perfect. But tomorrow never comes and nor does perfection. The good and bad will come and go but every day we have a chance to be happy, in how we chose to live, how we react and how we treat ourselves and others.
We spend so much of our time worrying about the future or going over the past that we often miss the here and now and therefore the moments of happiness that exist in the present. If we are too busy looking for the pot of gold we miss the beauty of the rainbow.
- It’s not a thing we search for and find
We see happiness as something outside of ourselves, something external we have to pursue and ‘find’.
We fill our lives with the business of searching for many things and all this pursuit is for one reason, our happiness, yet the very pursuit is taking us further away from the goal. You may want a house, car, job, partner but all you really want is the feeling these things bring; love, status, wealth. The pursuit of all these things is for the sake of happiness. I think we’ve all been there, thinking; “If I could just have this then I’ll be happy”, but when you get this it becomes a case of, “I just want that then I’ll be happy”. It’s a bottomless bucket of constant craving with no fulfilment.
Caught in this pursuit of happiness it is easy to believe the grass is greener on the other side, but even when you get there the future will always seem better. This leads to permanent dissatisfaction and un-fulfilment. We know this because the car we drive and the house we live in at one point were new and it was amazing but the novelty eventually wears off and leaves us wanting more, needing to be fulfilled again
- It’s the small things
In celebration every day last week I posted a photo of something that made me happy. Generally this was the wonderful food I ate, the sun shining, getting outside in nature, cuddling up on the sofa with my partner, talking to my family, patting the cute dog that we met in the park and being on the beach. It wasn’t my house, my bank balance, my car (because I don’t have one) or my job title. It was the small things, often free things that meant the most and brought a smile to my face. As Brene Brown says, so often we are so busy chasing down the extraordinary moments that we think will bring us happiness that we miss the ordinary moments of joy that already exist in each day.
It is in fact the little things that are the big things – like our health, love, the food on our table and the roof over our head.
Read the rest of the article here published by elephant journal