“Happiness is the only good. The time to be happy is now. The place to be happy is here. The way to be happy is to make others so. “Robert Green Ingersoll
Happiness is an elusive thing. We all chase it, we all deep down know it is out there somewhere and I think that is the problem. We spend some much time living in some day. Once I have___, or am ____ I will be happy. Once my mom/boss/friend/girlfriend/brother/neighbor coworker____ Ill be happy. This weekend___, tomorrow____ then Ill be happy. I have spent a long time trying to find happy. I have moved every year for the last 4 years because I thought just on the other side of my new lease was finally that place where everything would be perfect. After college I used to change jobs every year or two years because I thought, “YES! This new job is exactly what is going to make me happier! This extra $2 per hour and these new coworkers, THIS will be the thing that makes it all complete!”
But you know what I found out? The girl who lived in that new apartment and worked at that new job was still just me. It wasn’t my surroundings and my hardwood livingroom floor and and my new boss that were going to make me happy because the one common denominator in all things unsatisfactory in my life was ME. The sooner we can accept that finding peace and joy inside of ourselves at any given moment is the ONLY way to be happy, the sooner we can practice being happy.
Yes, I said PRACTICE being happy. When we have the habit of thinking negatively, our brain falls into these resting patters of finding the negative in things. It goes on autopilot and hunts down every possible thing that “if only it was different I would be happy. Things shouldn’t be this way. There is so much to do” and it shoulds all over the inside of your skull.
I have had raging anxiety ever since I was 14 and after a year or two I opted to go off medication. I decided I would rather learn how understand the anxiety and deal with the it rather than be numb (note: I am not telling you to stop taking you meds if you are taking them.) To be honest, sometimes it feels like my mind is going 100 miles an hour with all these potential awful situations and negative out comes and todo lists whirrrring by behind my eyes as my skin crawls and buzzes. We have all had that feeling before and while maybe I cant make it go away, I CAN recognize what is happening and stop to realize that it is NOT fact and it is NOT truth and it is NOT reality, it is simply what my mind does when it has nothing better to do. It takes conscious effort to BE happy and to ward off that feeling of being out of control. The more I started finding love and satisfaction in every moment, the easier it got.
Maybe you are reading this at your desk in a cubical at a job you hate and you are thinking “There is no way I can feel any kind of peace or happieness right now.” Here is my challenge to you. Find your breath. There will always be peace in breath. Sometimes we just need to stop and come back to the most basic of functions, breathing. Existing.
Here is what I do when I feel like my mind, life, situation etc is starting to get out of control: I simply stop what I am doing, sit back in my chair close my eyes and take 3 deep breaths. At the max inhale of each breath I hold it and feel the air in my lungs. Let it out slowly and notice what it feels like to be completely empty of breath. As I am doing this I ask myself “In this exact moment am I in any danger? Is there anything in this exact moment that is going to send my world crashing down around me. Even if my rent is due tomorrow, I just had a bad breakup, or I am behind on my work (insert your stuff here). In this one, single moment none of it can matters. On the most basic level, I am ok. I am alive. I am breathing. In this one second it is ok to just be.”
It stops the whole whiiiiirrrring of the mind and re-centers us. Its a great reminder that no matter how long your todo list or how close your deadline, in that one moment, you are ok.