Finding happiness has been part of my journey for a while now. I have learned that happiness doesn’t come from owning things, or having a lot of money. Do not get me wrong, being financially secure is a desired place to be, but being secure, content isn’t all there is to happiness. Happiness comes from within ourselves. Learning to be content where we are, learning to be more present in our lives and choosing how we respond in those moments. I’ve touched on this before, but it is becoming even more real to me at this point in my life.
I am spending the month of September focusing on being more mindful, being genuinely happy, every day. In doing this I have discovered that this is something I have to work on, focus on, and actually choose in each moment. Do I succeed? Well, the first couple of days was difficult, but it is getting easier each day. I have my daily mantras and affirmations, I am journaling most days and I am doing everything I can to surround myself with information on how to be more mindful. It definitely is a different mindset from what I have been experiencing.
I discovered a podcast called The Happiness Lab, and I love it! Through this, I discovered an online class offered by Yale University and I am learning, a lot. One of the first things I learned is that we have a set point for happiness. What?! I know, right?! When we get a gift, or something special happens, we feel elated, and this feeling of absolute joy may last a few hours even a few weeks, but eventually we return to our set point. The problem is, for some reason many of us seem to have this idea that we should always have that ‘high’ feeling. We believe that if we reach a specific point in our life, gain a specific object, etc., we will finally be happy. The truth is, you will have your moment, yes but you will return to your set point. That is normal.
The second thing I learned is we are horrible at predicting what will bring us true happiness. Turns out that typically, the opposite of what we think will make us happy is what actually brings us happiness. Now, that is a simplified way of putting something that is a little more profound. Examples that were given in THL podcast were extreme, but examples of people having tragedies that turned into absolute blessings were provided. If I had to give you a reason that his may be true, I think that reason would be it is because when something ‘tragic’ happens to us, we are often forced to step back and refocus. We find our priorities shifting; sometimes our belief systems are rewritten, and we realize that we re truly blessed and learn that going after things that are not truly soul fulfilling isn’t what we were put on this planet to do. At least this is my take on the situation.
What if you are depressed? I’m not going to sit here and tell you that you can think your way out of depression. Maybe you can, I do not know, but depression is typically a chemical imbalance in your brain, and if that is what you are experiencing – seek medical help. By all means, read all the books, and do some self-help, but speak with someone who actually specializes in the subject, there is no shame in needing help, you have to do what is ultimately best for you.
We are a week in to September, I still have quite a bit of work to do, but I am so excited to see where I am by October! I hope to continue to share my findings and experiences and to finally be done with the ‘funk’ I have been here since we left Philadelphia and since the passing of my Mom.