We spend much of our lives focusing upon getting happy. We pursue happiness like it is a destination on a map that we need to reach before sundown. What is happiness? Will this endless pursuit result in happiness?
What is happiness?
Happiness is a feeling or an emotional response to your state of mind and external environment. As humans we are innately driven by pain and pleasure. It is not necessarily actual pain or pleasure but our perception of the possibility that an event may lead to a painful or pleasurable experience. We fall into the trap of chasing an emotional response; our desire to achieve happiness eventually leads to being burned out by bowing to the pressure of being happy and chasing after possessions, the perfect body or a dream job. At this point it is easy to conclude that the pursuit of happiness is generating further unhappiness but when you take a closer look, it really isn’t so. Could our mind-set or focus be creating unhappiness? This feeling of being burned out is never in the pursuit of a fulfilled and balanced life; it’s the direct result of persistent mindless pursuit of one or two things and neglecting all the rest.
When you pursue a feeling you will never truly be satisfied because you are pursuing an outcome instead of seeking avenues that lead to your desired emotional response. I want you to think of a moment when you were truly happy. What was your life like? What were you doing? Who was involved? How did it feel? At this present point in time, I am happy but there have been other moments where I have been at my happiness that reveal something a little unexpected. I was 29 years old, living in Melbourne. I had an amazing group of friends, a well-paid job as well as a volunteer production management project on my schedule that filled up my weekends as well as an evening a week. I was studying a Bachelor’s degree and I was working through a couple of emotional issues. I developed a love of dancing and was attending a couple of dance classes a week, which contributed to my overall health. I was busy; I didn’t have a lot of spare time, which discredits the popular belief that a simple life will make us happier; throwing away your possessions and getting in touch with your inner hippy will make you not make you any happier. Although some people are happier by doing this, but their happiness is not a direct result of this decision. So, what contributed to my happiness?
The Secret to Happiness
Balance! Each of the seven areas of life where vibrant and were fulfilling. Is the key to being truly happy? Have you ever noticed when you start your dream job you put all your focus into your career and experience a temporary euphoria? It’s pleasurable. As a result of this euphoric moment, you innately pursue your career and unintentionally neglect the delicate equilibrium of your life. As time moves on you awake on morning, you’re tired, stressed out and you’re dreading the morning commute as well as the start of your working day. You eagerly a wait 5pm and you immediately rush out the door. You’re exhausted and you feel empty. Is this feeling an indication that you have not discovered your bliss? It’s a sign that you need to restore balance to your life.
It’s really important to pay attention to how you’re feeling; stress, anxiety and fatigue are all warning signs that your life is out of balance. It’s like a warning siren ringing through your mind. If left unchecked these warnings can lead to disease. Ask anyone who has burned themselves out? As you look back on your life these warning signs become apparent. How do you restore balance in your life?
How to Restore Balance
Take some time to reflect upon the seven key areas of your life: health, personal (emotions, mind-set), career, wealth, relationships, recreation and contribution. Give each area a score out of 10. Take note of the areas that score less than seven or choose two or three that are most important to you. Ask yourself, what does this area of my life look like at the moment? Be honest and write down a brief description. Now consider, how you would like these areas to look like? Write them down and set goals to help you bridge the gap between where you are and where you want to be.
Have you recently restored balance back to your life? How did you achieve this? Please let me know by leaving a comment below; leave as much detail as you can.
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