The Pursuit of Happiness
People talk about the “Pursuit of Happiness”, but that is exactly why happiness is so difficult to achieve- and even when we do, it seems to fade faster than we’d like. Happiness is not something we attain; it is not somewhere we arrive. The more you “pursue” happiness, the less you’ll find it. Why?, because happiness is -and always has been- within ourselves; we just need to come back to it; to that natural state that is happiness.
Mind-blowing statistics about happiness
Despite massive economic growth, research shows that people are no happier now than half a century ago. The level of material comfort we have today is equivalent to how the top 5% lived 50 years ago, yet people are not any happier.
In the United States for example, in 1940, about one-third of all homes did not have running water, indoor toilets or bathtub/showers, and more than half had no central heating. The overall satisfaction with life back then was in average 7.5 (very happy) out of 10. Today, even with our incredibly comfortable lives and higher salaries, the average is only 7.2! But why is that so?
Are we looking in the right place?
Science has recently demonstrated that we have been looking for happiness in the wrong places and in the wrong ways.
What we think will make us happy, actually doesn’t, creating even more trouble that good. Consumerism, for instance, is the biggest suppressant of happiness; yet we still try to solve our dissatisfaction with the next purchase or going after the next desire, looking for that pleasure (not happiness) we get when it happens, but forgetting how quickly that feeling disappears.
Research shows that our circumstances -things like a high income, a bigger home and even beauty- only account for 10% of what really make us happy. Did you know, for example, that those with the highest income are only about 3,5% happier than the average person? So stressing out to earn more money and have nicer things apparently is not even worth the time and effort.
So researchers found that the key for happiness resides in the actual things we do and the way we use our mind. Things like improving your relationships, forgiving, practicing kindness and positive daydreaming is not only for free but also much more effective and long lasting than how people usually spend their time. Happiness is really a way of living more than anything else, and these skills can be learned by anyone if we have the right guidance.
The enemy within
But there is one source of unhappiness that people almost don’t talk about; an enemy so silent and sophisticated that we’re are usually not even aware of it, and that’s exactly where its power lies: its subconscious nature. That enemy is our own mental programs; negative thoughts and memories that make us dwell about the past, pessimistic use of our imagination that make us worry about the future and limiting beliefs and habits that keep us trapped.
And because our minds are naturally designed to focus on threats before anything else, these psychological threats pull our mind inwards into a default, unfocused mode, wandering superficially among the “open files” that call for resolution. This not only generates our negative states such as stress, guilt, shame, regret, anger, fear and anxiety, but it also keep us from really enjoying the present moment and all the good things that we do have.
“The moment you have a thought, laugh at it.”, Lao Tse
Happiness is simply a state of mind; a way of perceiving and approaching ourselves and the world in which we reside. And just like our mental health, our happiness tomorrow depends on the quality of our thoughts and actions today. Therefore we need to rewire (or “right-wire”) our brains, tuning ourselves to happiness. And that’s exactly what we do at Happiness Coaching Studio.