As a little child, the ultimate source of happiness for me was watching two raindrops race down my window. For reasons unknown, it would delight and excite me every time it rained and I would slide my glass window close to kick start a competition between two tiny raindrops. I would cheer for the winning drop and egg on the one left behind: that was what made me happy.
Like million others, I too silenced the child within me as I grew up. There came a time when I did not have any inclination to enjoy a bout of unseasonal rain or relish a cup of hot chocolate with marshmallows. Gulping down mug after mug of black coffee, I had started to equate happiness with material wealth; materialistic possessions, a better bank balance, a six figure pay check, and the latest gizmo was supposedly my ticket to happiness.
However that feeling of indescribable elation, the sheer joy that I experienced while watching raindrops race, was nowhere to be found. Today, after having truly understood what happiness is I can simplify the clichéd word into ‘something that makes you feel warm and content inside’.
The connotation of Happiness is much wider than simply being affluent; it is being content with what you have,
and who you are.
A person who has learned to seek happiness inwardly and who does not depend on external stimuli, tend to lead a happier, content, and stress-free life. As a perfectionist I strived to excel at every aspect of my life, without even once considering whether my life really needed any tending to the way it was.
This drive to compete, be perfect, and excel propelled me to a stressful life and before I knew it, I was suffering from acute anxiety and high blood pressure. That was my personal speed breaker. It forced me to re-evaluate the quality of my life and the present state of my emotional being.
What went wrong? Why didn’t my coveted possessions make me feel happy? Why is that people with less than half the amount of money I have are twice as happy? Why was I happier as a kid? The reason I came up with, after a thorough introspection, was that life back then was much simpler.
We tend to complicate life as we grow up; age doesn’t really have anything to do with the complexity of it.
Leading a simple life is within the capable means of every individual; it is simply a matter of whether one is willing to put into practice this simple way of life
I realized that the first step to making a long lasting change is to rehash my attitude. I had to change my beliefs regarding happiness, the perception of its source, and the lack thereof. Will cancelling this vacation with my family in lieu of a new contract give me more happiness or spending time with my wife frolicking around in the ocean, be my chosen definition of happiness. This is an amazing mental exercise that I regularly undertake when I’m uncertain whether I should go with my mind or heart.
I didn’t change overnight. It took me a good couple of years to actually put things into perspective, and then review and put the correct perception into practise. I follow a few strategies or ‘exercising the perception’ as I call it to help me truly understand the worth of any matter or object in terms of felicity.
Moderation is the key
My doctor had advised me to lower my intake of salt and to simplify my way of life when I was suffering from stress and blood pressure issues. I try to use his recommendation in every area of my life, as initially I was the kind of person who lived by the mantra ‘the more the merrier’.
For instance, I am a complete food lover but now when I go to a restaurant, I do not overstuff myself as I used to in the past. I now know that too much of this food, no matter how delicious it is, will convert happiness into suffering (and a terrible one at that).
It’s all about finding the right balance
I cannot stress upon this point enough. You, as a person are a whole package, and which is why you cannot just focus on one core area of your life: be it health, career, or relationships. I would often neglect my family and concentrate solely on work, which did make me rich but definitely not enriched or fulfilled.
I’m not saying that you do not find happiness in materialistic things. In fact, even today I am easily excited by any technological gadget that has been recently launched, but now I know where to draw the line. I know the true worth of both materialism and non-materialism and which of the two, I can renounce for the other.
Right-Size your expectations
Not just of your profit figures, but also expectations that you have of yourself and others around you. I used to expect, rather, force myself to work long hours. Why? So that I can bag another multi-million dollar deal and to feel “accomplished”.
I was expecting way too much from my body and mind, and even from my family, who had to go days without even a hello from me. When you have irrational expectation, you start taking thing for granted by default. By compelling myself to work for longer hours, I was taking my health for granted, along with my relationships, and even maybe my life.
There is no abstruse, well-kept secret to happiness. And no matter what therapists and life coaches tell you- always remember that the foundation on which any path to happiness, is built with simplicity as the foundation. Simplify things and you will be much happier and content.
Often I hear people lament that they don’t have any reason to be happy, and that makes me cringe inwardly thinking of how I used to do the same at one point of time. Don’t wait for years to be happy, start now, start today! Here is one reason that I can give to you: if you wake up in the morning with a certainty that you can afford three meals for that day, you should be happy
My name is Mulyadi Kurnia. I am a practitioner of meditation and yoga and has been experiencing the benefits of the practices. Having gone through the periods of stress and anxiety myself, I know first hand of how unpleasant this experience could be. Through this article, I intend to share my knowledge and experience on stress-related and wellness topics. For more information on stress management and wellness tips, visit http://www.stopstressandanxiety.com, http://www.howtotreatanxiety.preferredmall.com