Happiness, captivating, enticing, elusive…
Why do we seek happiness for relief of our worries?
Counselling has this goal… to allow the client to find a way of being at peace with him/her self and accepting/embracing all others.
Sometimes this is not an easy task. Socrates believed that study and enquiry of our own motives, ideas, feelings and reactions leads to a greater understanding of “the self” and that this would lead to a happiness and joy of all that we have… in our hands, in the moment. Socrates might be asking us to use our brain, switch on our mind, our mindfulness, increase our awareness.
Andre Dubus writes beautifully in his short story “A Father’s Story” —
It is not hard to live through a day if you can live through a moment. What creates despair is the imagination, which pretends there is a future and insists on predicting millions of moments, thousands of days, and so drains you that you cannot live the moment at hand.
The discomfort these thoughts can bring is symptomatic of what is not working well for us. Mostly, worring about the future is rooted in what we have experienced in the past. Sedimented beliefs (Alfred Adler reffered to this as “mistaken beliefs) strongly influence the whole of me… my world-view.
Knowing this, having this information gives me the chance to decide if the old stuff is pertanint to todays stuff. Sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t.
By taking stock of the things we have (and I don’t mean by saying to ourselves that we should be grateful and just get on with it because there are many people worse off than us) we can begin to appreciate the good that is in the here-and-now.
Living in the now, rather than thinking about possibilities and dreams of our future as though our lives and happiness depend on their attainment. Plan for improving things, plan to find ways to prove things and then live now again.
Living in the present gives us a foundation for all that is to come. We can spend our lives remembering what was or what if or what now… but that seems to simply obscure the facts we are facing right now.
If things are bad right now…
I am not asking you to ignore that things may be bad for you right now. Sometimes we don’t get what we want and sometimes that is frustrating and even maddening… especially if we have built up a picture of how we expected it to be …which pretends there is a future and insists on predicting millions of moments…
Maybe it is better for us to have our dreams with back up, contingency plans, with a game-plan that covers all possibilities. So if we don’t get what we want we can go for the next thing we want. Then, we can only every be just a little disappointed that we didn’t get want we wanted.
Our expectations and our assumptions can be our greatest enemy and source of our greatest disappointments.
Conversely… if we can be disappointed by our expectations we can change the expectations and assumptions and be rewarded by their fulfilment.
Counselling for happiness will look at dreams and future hopes discuss what alternatives are in place if that dream is not fulfilled. Hoping to win a lottery is fine, but not if everything depends on that win.
Wanting more is a sure way of being unhappy.
It is so easy in our relatively affluent world (if you are relatively affluent) to want that little bit more… and this never ends because the moment we have that little bit more… we want a little bit more more…
Working in a job you hate will make you unhappy
Of course it is not always easy to find work that you love (someone once said find something you love doing and you will never have to work), so find some part of you job that you love doing and always remember that part of your day. Once you enter the flow of work you will find the “work” is replaced with “joy” and “love” and “satisfaction.
Study something you love so you can do something you love… is it watchmaking or gardening or swimming? Learn how to repair watches, get a job in a nursery, teach kids to swim… use of the imagination can be a powerful tool to help make you happy.
A meaningful life is sometimes attainable through combining the living well doing the things you most like to do.
You want to be happy…
Manage to find some time during the day to contemplate your navel… being optimistic and counting your blessings helps to put your mind in good space for the appreciation of the people and things around you. Looking on the bright side, seeing the cup half full rather than half empty all help you to think creatively. Thinking creatively inspires yourself and others to better things.
Doing rather than thinking about doing
If you want to be happy go out and do things. think about what you want to do and plan and rationalise all you want… but whatever else you do… go out and do it.
Happiness is mostly a by-product of doing what makes us feel fulfilled. — Benjamin Spock
Laughter is the best medicine
If you are unhappy it might work to try laughing… just laugh a lot at the silly things that happen to you and you will be surprised how happy it makes you..
Drugs and the happy Australian
According to a report from The Australia Institute nearly a third of Australians use drugs (legal or illegal) in order to attain a state of comfortableness in their lives —
“It shows that 27% of adults either take medications (such as anti-depressants and sleeping pills) for psychological reasons or consume risky levels of alcohol (more than four standard drinks a day for men). Adding those dependent on illicit drugs takes the total to over 30%.”