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How to be Happy

Mindful Monday – February 12, 2018

“Our society has a tremendous engine for creating dissatisfaction, desire and craving. Happiness is going to be this, it’s going to be that, but it’s never going to be just enjoying yourself where you are and as you are. For most of us, cultivating simplicity and contentment might take some real effort.” – David Nichtern

There’s a meme that says something along the lines of, “You don’t decide what to buy and then go to Target, you go to Target and Target tells you what you need.” I definitely can relate. Without fail, I always leave Target with two throw pillows and a candle I had no intention of buying.

None of us is free from the binds of capitalism. Each of us has a target (pun intended) on our forehead, and market researchers know how to hit the bull’s-eye. We always want more, better, faster, higher quality but cheaper. And each purchase gives us a rush of dopamine.

Maybe shopping’s not your thing… fear not! There are plenty of other ways we get those dopamine hits: social media, video games, T.V., sweets, caffeine, gambling, drinking, drugs, etc. Often, these things feel really good in the moment, and are okay in moderation. But due to the instant gratification associated with them, overindulgence or dependence are always near… and the consequences can be dire.

It is worthwhile to observe the frequency and patterns of these instant gratification behaviors. Imagine that instant gratification behaviors are on one side of the scale, and on the other side are activities you do one-mindfully, without screens (like yoga, spending time in nature, walking, spending time with friends and family, meditation, gardening, eating meals without screens). Does the scale reflect the life you want? Balancing the scale takes a lot of conscious effort; however, it can begin right now, with something as simple as looking out the window for a moment.

Tolstoy is credited with saying, If you want to be happy, be. True happiness is always available to us, if we allow ourselves to witness the miracle of being, in the present moment.

-Rebecca

 

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