12 Aug What if there were alternatives to chasing happiness that could…make you happy?
Stop Chasing Happiness: 17 Alternative Ways to Live Your Best Possible Life
“If only we’d stop trying to be happy we’d have a pretty good time.” ~Edith Wharton
I have a question for you.
What would you be willing to sacrifice to be happy?
Would you be happy to let go of Netflix? Alcohol? Pizza?
Would you be willing to take up a monastic life?
Every single day of the year we’re being sold happiness. It doesn’t matter whether it’s in the form of a pill or a book or a holiday, the underlying idea is the same: What we have to sell you will make you happy.
The problem with happiness is that no one really knows exactly what it is. It’s intangible, even a little mysterious, yet still we all want to be happy. But trying to be happy is like trying to get to sleep; the harder you try, the less likely it is to happen.
So four years ago, on New Years Eve, I made the pledge to myself to stop trying to be happy.
Don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t miserable. I was just spending too much time thinking about whether or not I was happy—even though neither I, nor anyone I knew really, could give a clear answer about what this meant.
So instead of saying to myself, This year I’m going to be happy, I said, This year I’m going to try new things. I’m going to meet new people. I’m going to go to new places. I’m going to push myself out of my comfort zone.
And if I’m not happy, well, I’m not happy, but at least I’ve had some interesting experiences.
The result of this was the best (and probably happiest) year of my life, at least up to that point. And I realized something obvious in hindsight, but still profound: Happiness is something that comes a lot more easily when we stop thinking about it.
It’s more like a place you occupy than an object you obtain. Some days you’ll be there and some days you wont, but the more time you spend thinking about being happy, the less likely you are to spend time being so.
A large part of what less than happy people have is a problem with their patterns of attention.
In the same way the attention of an extrovert is naturally directed at social communication, the attention of an entrepreneur seeks out business opportunities, and an artist looks for creative expression, an unhappy person tends to look directly at happiness.
This post will explore some practices that can help you to stop focusing so hard on the idea of happiness and instead embrace the experiences and thoughts that will actually make you happy.
1. Take the word “happy” out of your vocabulary.
We all know words are used to communicate ideas. Unfortunately, sometimes a word can get overused and it becomes confusing, stifling, or even dangerous.
Here are some other words you should start to use in conversations with yourself and others about how you feel. Don’t be fooled into believing you need to experience all of them; you don’t.
If you find yourself asking, Am I happy? Replace the question with: Do I have [insert word] in my life?
- Peace of mind
2. Practice living in the present.
Letting go of past regrets and future anxieties is not easy, but it’s the fastest way to live a full and enjoyable life. Think about enjoying each moment for its own unique role in the ongoing narrative of your life.
If you want a short mantra to keep in mind: be here now.
3. Decide what you really want to do.
A lot of people that are searching for happiness will end up with “shiny object syndrome.” This is what happens when they bounce from goal to goal because they’re looking for something (or someone) to take away all their suffering.
Knowing yourself and what you truly want can help you develop purpose and focus—so much so that you don’t even have time to waste pondering happiness. You may even realize that happiness is not what you really want, that you’re willing to put up with being unhappy some of the time if it means you will have a sense of achievement…
…keep reading the full & original article HERE