The Quest for Happiness - Finding your Normal
With the new year clicking over, the ideas start to bubble away. Thoughts about; what am I going to do this year, who do I want to be, and what do I want to achieve. Far-fetched dreams try to resurface that you promise yourself each year - that this will be the year that I .... get fit, make more money, finally take that holiday.
There is a lot of pressure riding on the day clicking over (hello Jan 1st - we see you!). Honestly, I take weeks to sit and process what I really want for my year. I do this using my Goals with Intention workbook. However, the thing I have been seeing a whole bunch over the last few weeks is this quest for happiness on telly and on social media.
It has stirred me up - and not in a good way! There are endless marketing campaigns about finding your happiness and once you get there you will be rewarded. I think it is a load of BullShit! Why? ...
We can find happiness in the everyday! So why do we not see it? Instead, we are future tripping on what we might have 'One Day". It's exhausting this endless need to be happy, to find our happiness when in actual fact it's within arms reach each and every single day. Not later this year.
Firstly, let's talk about Happiness.
Finding your Normal
Instead of looking at happiness as this ultimate high that is only achieved at certain points in our life. We each individually need to find our middle ground. This is where the magic happens. Not everyone is wired to wake up happy each and every day. It's about finding your place of comfort that feels safe, expanded and where you can express yourself in all your glory and love on it.
Happiness is found in the place between the hard times and the successes.
Happiness can be found in the middle, the messy middle.
It's learning to create magic in the mundane.
Happiness is not just for the rich, the famous, the hardworking, the lucky.
Happiness is available to us right now.
Finding your middle
The first thing to help you find happiness in the mundane is gratitude. When we start observing what has happened throughout our day, we can reflect on how things make us feel. It's connecting with the present moment.
When we focus our attention on the present, we can be thankful for what we do have or is happening. This little switch away from the one-day philosophy enables us to live in real-time. Doing this helps to remove anxiety, frustration, overwhelm, dread, and stress and your nervous system will thank you.
This is not to say we shouldn't have dreams, its about pivoting our attention to the here and now.
Gratitude is simple - it's being appreciative of what is - this can be done in the moment, at the end or start of the day. It's feeling the sensation that comes through when we truly receive goodness.
What makes something good?
That is so simple- if you love reading - it will make you feel calm and present, bring a smile to your face, it feels good doing it. Being grateful to have time to read your book may warm your heart. These are the good moments worth celebrating. Gratitude can be from the smallest act to the most elaborate. For example, having an hour to yourself reading a book in peace to your mother-in-law taking your two kids for a couple of nights so you can have a few days with your partner. Or witnessing the most beautiful sunset to having a boss that is flexible with your work hours. All of these things are worth honouring. YES PLEASE, MORE THANK YOU.
This phrase - Yes Please, More Thank You - I learned from Jess Lively. She speaks a lot on manifestation. However, I realised that the more we see the good, the more good comes. So let that sink in for a moment.
Defining our middle
We all don't need to be bouncing off the walls to prove that we are happy. Defining your middle comes with a little patience and exploration.
We know what it's like when we feel sad (aka low) we know what it's like when we are filled with joy (aka high). What we want to do is bring these two extremes closer together to define our middle ground. Sometimes we might have an off day but this can still live in our middle it's not a low low, right? Same for those mind-blowingly good experiences, the bar needs to come down a bit to define our happiness - creating the middle helps us to celebrate more of life's simple good things. Yes all the highs are awesome, and we deserve to have them, however, we are not constantly living in that elevated state of being all the time. This is about defining our middle - our everyday happy place.
I like to look at it as closing the gap between the two extremes, making it our own lane, the one where we can see when our spirit dips in energy or goes off the charts while experiencing joy. This unique set of guide posts needs to be set for us to help maintain our emotional state of being. When we dip, we can call it out and help ourselves back into our middle ground. Because in this space there is magic, it's our sweet spot, it regulates our immune system instead of flip-flopping through the highs and lows of life. And the cool thing is that it is available to us today.
Busting the myth on Happiness
Many of us live each day with the idea that someday we will be happy - when we have or do something. Yes, there are things that definitely make me happy, like going on a holiday, and I plan them so I have them to look forward to in my calendar but that does not mean each day between each trip is ho-hum. It isn’t waiting for the moment to come & say - okay, here it is, you've got what you wanted - click the Green Happy Button and you will be injected with some potion that promises that feeling.
How many times have you thought something will make you happy but once you have got it, life is still just the same, a bit normal? I see it in my kids all the time, I want this thing mum (usually a toy) they get it (sometimes) and then at first it's the only thing they care about, and about three days later, the hype is over. They are needing another fix for this burst of joy. It's crazy.
There have been clothes I bought because I thought they would make me feel good. Then have never worn. There are products that I have bought that I thought would change me, give me that sense of satisfaction.
I’ve done it, I lived it and worn the badge of making choices based on the SHOULD.
Now I practice being in the moment. Living for today not tomorrow. This is also not be taken out of context - like racking up a 10K credit card bill. Its more about being present, indulging in the experiences you have right now - like the simplicity of drinking your favourite drinking and turning it into a pleasure instead of a chore.
To me being happy is not a check-list item, there is no quest that deems me or any of us successful once we find our happiness. The thing is we are all so uniquely different that what defines my happiness if not going to be the same as many of you. It’s this desire that life is meant to be more, we have to do more, we must succeed and have a clear path. When actually our purpose for life is to live each day with intention and gratitude for the experiences we create or happen to us.
The simple things.
So don’t overcomplicate BEING HAPPY.
Happiness is available to you right now. You don’t need to buy it!
Start practising gratitude. Ask yourself these questions each day.
What am I grateful for today?
What did I enjoy today?
What did I learn today?
If this year is going to be all kinds of amazing, stop waiting for it to be amazing. And start living each day like it counts, make the memories, the magic and enjoy it. This is where happiness lives - in the present moment, living out their best life.