With anxiety and depression at an all-time high in the western world the search for happiness is a common one. You’re not alone in the struggle to understand how to keep a positive mental perspective with all the challenges of modern life.
The search for happiness can actually sabotage your peace of mind and health by drawing attention to feelings that you’re not happy. Seeing yourself as stuck, feeling the need to find happiness, focusing you on what’s wrong instead or what’s right in your life reinforces feelings of lack.
In the movie ‘Hector and the Search for Happiness’, Hector is a quirky psychologist who is frustrated with his job and humdrum life. He leaves his lovely girlfriend Clara to learn how to find happiness and through his adventures runs the gamut of emotions including facing death. He learns that it’s the ‘happiness of pursuit’ that’s important and reunites with Clara to start a family.
Perhaps you can remember a time when you obsessed about everything you wanted to have and didn’t, almost losing the people and things you did have. When you have enough food and a home, friends, and family, it’s time to look for contentment and joy inside and to build on the relationship with yourself.
Happiness doesn’t exist in the future, it’s a moment-to-moment experience that arises when the right conditions are created in your mind and body.
Instead of seeking happiness outside yourself, start to notice and appreciate times when you feel good inside during the day.
- Waking up after a good night’s sleep and feeling cozy and warm in your bed-
- A nice cup of coffee or tea during a break from working-
- Take time to appreciate the times that you spend with people you enjoy.
Understanding that it’s these kind of experiences that have the most effect on day-to-day joy will make the search for happiness unnecessary. You’ll be less worried about the future and have less attachment to whether things turn out exactly as you planned- this is called detachment in the yoga teachings.
Detachment doesn’t mean you don’t care; it helps to keep you on an even keel. By creating stability in your thoughts, emotions, and body you’ll build the foundation for happiness, and finding and keeping a flow that supports your purpose in life will become easy.
So stop searching for happiness and start appreciating the joy you already experience today.