I am a self-employed freelance writer and if you have ever worked for yourself (or worked at a demanding job), you can probably related to the sentiment that stress from work is one of the biggest factors that can cripple your mind and body.
I’m happier than I’ve ever been in my life.
No, I haven’t won the lottery– haven’t even got a raise. No, haven’t been lounging in a seaside hammock on the coast of the South Pacific lately either.
So where’s my joy coming from? From being more and more alive each day.
Everyone reading these words is saying, “Wait a minute, last time I checked I was alive.” Yes, I know, but my question to you is: are you becoming more alive each day? This, I believe, is the key to living a happy life.
We’ve been deep-cleaning around the house lately: donating old clothes and getting rid of any extras that have been unused for sometime. In order to create ease with our daily routine, we’ve been simplifying our home and life.
My husband and I have a lot of random items from previous moves that we’ve been unable to shake – mainly sentiment that has spared numerous boxes of trinkets from our childhood or souvenirs from our travels.
But we honestly have no use for any of this stuff. They’re space-takers – they’re extras.
In an effort to simplify our life, we often turn to our material possessions: de-cluttering, donating, and organizing our space to create a sense of calm.
I have a confession to make. And that is…
I am the luckiest person in the Universe.
This is my little secret. It’s a secret because it sounds like magic fairy dust and flying unicorns, and generally makes me sound crazy.
When I moved into my first apartment in college, I remember telling my flat-mate Tanya I am the luckiest person in the world and she looked at me like I was a weirdo. Now, ten years later, if she hears me repeat this to someone new she will nod her head in agreement, while saying “Yup! I’ve seen it. It’s true.”
Somewhere in my teenage years, I had picked up this simple concept: that perhaps, if I viewed myself as a lucky person, good things would happen to me. In a way, it has become this self-fulfilling prophecy that feels incredibly calming. At the same time, it has brought a lot of good fortune into my life.
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the meaning of life and the impermanent nature of it all. Observing how we do what we do, the struggles we put ourselves through, the drama, the pain and the suffering.
I was just getting on a flight when I opened that link on my phone, and by the time I had finished reading it, tears were streaming down. I spent the rest of that flight, and weekend reflecting on the meaning of life.
“What is the point of life, when we come to the end?” I wondered.
I lost my mother to cancer when I was just 13. Experts at the time said that it would have a psychological impact on me, and friends and family later told me that it did.
I still don’t truly understand how it affected me and I believe the answers have been locked in a box in my mind with a key I cannot (or choose not to) find. Maybe there is nothing in that box, or maybe I’m just not ready to open it. Whatever the case may be, I’ve never really spent any time digging into the emotional impact of her death, and couldn’t tell you how the various intricacies of my psychology would differ today if she is still here today.
Having said this, there was one dramatic change that I did pick up on: I become fearlessly independent and driven.
The day I got the news that I had won the good mood blogger contest, felt like winning the lottery. Two months of built-up excitement, anxiety, and hard-earned daily marketing efforts had finally come to an end.
I remember the moment it happened, I felt a sense of relief and elation wash over my body, and I finally took a deep breath—for the first time in a few months, it seemed.
That same day, just a few hours later, I was running around doing last minute preparations for Ryan’s birthday party, and dealing with other personal drama. Suffice it to say that I was no longer in this bubble of joy and elation.
Given a choice, wouldn’t you choose to live the sweet life instead of a bitter life? But how do we change our thinking such that life becomes sweet? This article takes a look at this topic of creating the sweet life using a simple analogy with candy flavors.
Think about this: 98% of the ingredients of a sweet orange skittle and a sour apple skittle are the same. Every single kind of skittle has the same sugar, corn syrup, and hydrogenated palm kernel oil.
Yet, even with 98% of the same ingredients, the experience of a mouthful of sweet orange skittles is totally different than the experience of a mouthful of sour apple skittles.
How? How can the experience of the sweet skittle be so different than the sour? The answer, of course, is the flavor that was added. The flavor makes all the difference.
It was a Thursday night in July of 1996 when my quest for finding happiness began. I was sitting on the floor of my luxury apartment doing paperwork when it hit me that the path I was on was not the path for me.
I was twenty-five, wealthy (six figures in the bank) and had achieved every single material goal I ever wanted. I literally thought I had it all. My closets were filled with designer clothes and fancy shoes. My bathroom cabinets were filled with luxury cosmetics. Everything was great except for two things: I was miserable and I felt empty.
Here’s a gentle reminder that Happiness is a state within us. It is a chemical reaction based on where we put our focus, and from which perspective we choose to experience the world.
We are the ones who hold the key to lasting happiness. And we are the only ones who can deprive ourselves of the happiness that we all desire and deserve.
Sometimes, all it takes is a whisper of gratitude, to draw our focus back to our hearts and away from the discontentment and negativity that our minds are naturally attracted to.
This past Christmas, I took on the responsibility of cooking for our extended family. And when I was in the kitchen, preparing the food, I found my mind wandering off, thinking about negative things, thinking about things to complain about, thinking about certain people who made me upset.