I often ask my clients, “What do you really want in life?” The most common response is, “I want to be happy!” The real question then becomes, “What stops so many people from achieving true happiness?”
There are 2 parts to happiness: The first is fleeting hedonistic pleasures.
This includes things like fresh baked cookies, a bowl of your favorite ice cream, hanging out with friends, plopping on the recliner & doing nothing, getting a massage, vacationing on a tropical island – all amazing! As wonderful as these are though, they only provide momentary pleasures and will never lead to sustained happiness.
Why? The nature of momentary happiness resides in your neurochemistry. A stimulus triggers a cascade of neurons in the brain which are temporary. These chemicals dissipate in your body and will return to homeostasis, a state of equilibrium.
No matter how amazing that ‘pleasure thing’ is, at some point when it comes to an end, you actually feel done. It’s your body’s natural ability to bring you back to neutral. At the same time, you start to build a tolerance, so what once might have given you a pleasurable neurochemical rush, no longer satisfies you in the same way and you desire MORE.
This is the reason people fall into lacking happiness. If you aren’t prepared for the ebbs & flows, you’ll continuously try to recapture that feeling & ultimately feel unsatiated, precisely why happiness seems elusive!
Momentary happiness is transient & doesn’t last.
Instead of trying to chase happiness, it’s important to recognize the key to sustained happiness is growth & development, which leads me to the 2nd part of happiness: fulfillment.
True happiness comes from living in the moment, being fully PRESENT to everything happening throughout the day. You’ve got to FEEL the day.
Rather than immediate gratification, we are more fulfilled with a sense of progress.
Being intentional isn’t easy.
Being present to the moment isn’t easy.
Choosing faith over fear isn’t easy.
It’s how we reach our full potential.
Feeling a sense of gratitude & fulfillment in the moment is like a personal currency deposit. Think of it like deposits in your happiness account. Literally accumulating 1 cent, 2 cents, 3 cents. Each time you sense the moment with gratitude you deposit a cent in your account.
It will require a good amount of presence to add up, which is actually a good thing! Start sensing all the moments throughout the day & after a while, your happiness account will accumulate a whole lotta ch-ch-change!
People have a hard time thinking about gratitude & fulfillment. Just watch the news & you’ll see what’s happening around the world & that’s it – you find yourself longing to escape reality. Believe me, I get this temptation…
The consequence of ‘escaping’ leaves people unhappy, anxious & disconnected.
Bearing the weight of the world isn’t going to serve you, your family, your coworkers, or your community. Instead, choose to feel the day. Choose to take inventory of your emotions. Choose to be conscious of all that is around you, especially the things that bring you joy.
Take notice of the small things that bring you happiness each day.
When you add up these small moments, you will gather momentum which fosters a sense of gratitude & appreciation.
Do a periodic check-in.
Allocate time to the things that matter and provide you with growth and personal development. Make sure you don’t waste time and energy on things that won’t matter 6 months down the line.
Identify all the energy suckers that derail your sense of vitality – things like scrolling on social media, engaging in people’s gossip or nonsense that fuels unnecessary worries and lowers your self-esteem. Most of these stealers of your happiness can be tracked to time management.
Manage your time & your energy like your happiness depends on it.
Don’t worry, be happy!