Looking for Happiness

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..aren’t we all?!

But in an article from the magazine “Flow” last month I came across an idea that says we are actually unconsciously searching for excitement when we think we are looking for happiness.

My interest was piqued!

This struck a chord with me and I thought about the usual things I go to in search of happiness – music, drawing, reading a thriller or watching a drama movie, or even walking out in nature. All of these have an element of excitement in them somewhere.

So what makes us need excitement to feel happy? Is it that excitement distracts us from the somethings painful or disappointing reality of our lives? Does it act to raise endorphin levels that have been proven to stimulate happier moods?

It could be all or any or none of these.

Personally though it just made me think about what I do and why and it has sort of taken me off the hook of feeling that excitement need and simply realise that just being is enough.

Do I have to assign a judgement to every moment of my life? By doing that my own prejudices about what I feel is good or bad come into play and colour an otherwise neutral moment.

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Being is Enough

So – bottom line is I now take a moment through my day to just stop and be and enjoy it as it is – no opinions and no yearning for something more.

This is hard to do sometimes because our culture is just one of bigger, more , faster. But for thousands of years we lived a much less stimulated and overloaded life and that was all we could cope with. Right now I think in the developed world we have gone over the point of balance.

We are more stimulated, entertained and have more choice than ever – and it doesn’t seem to be making us happy.

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Slowing and Simplifying

This last month I have read a few books about slowing down and doing things manually. Each book has resonated with me and I have found myself nodding in agreement as I read – so – for those who feel overwhelmed and wish to slow down to enjoy low level ecstasy may I recommend the following books:-

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The book above champions doing things by hand wherever you can. It claims that this is the way to find happiness by doing small things with full attention. I loved the ideas and am trying to do more cooking, handicrafts and spending more time outdoors and really taking notice of what I see. It is really worthwhile.

The book below is a real hoot – written by Tom Hodgkinson of The Idler. It is full of talk about the good life when we lived closer to nature and has frequent pokes at the absurdity and dehumanising qualities of modern life in the West.

So if you are searching for happiness just check for a minute that it’s really not excitement that you are after. The realise that excitement can be rather corrosive in large and frequent doses – leading us on to bigger fixes. Stay close to the ground and cherish all of the simple things that we have and we can still do for ourselves.

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2 thoughts on “Looking for Happiness

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