Living present and in the moment = Happiness
Happiness may be thought of as, ‘if only I had this, or that, I’d be happy’. None of us are immune to this line of thought and we all know that the achievement of ‘whatever it is’ will rarely lead to true happiness. It is much more elusive than that and so much more to do with what is going on inside than what is going on outside. Along the way, I have rubbed shoulders with some very wealthy people. Some have seemed to be brimming with happiness and others seem to be anything but happy – angry and stressful, if anything, so I don’t think that answer is money.
Doing anything that we enjoy doing can lead us to pleasure / happiness.
For example, if you really enjoy tasty food then going out for a meal with a close friend to a favourite restaurant may do it for you. The anticipation of doing it and looking forward to it may also create happiness, so long as it’s not too long to wait. (This is making me feel hungry!)
When we are fully engaged in an activity and giving it our 100% attention, then it is likely that we are in what might be described as a flow state. I used to do quite a lot of swimming and there is something about swimming that means that after you have kept going, when you have broken through the pain threshold, that eventually you enter a state where you feel you can just keep on swimming. When we achieve this, we sometimes feel as if life has slowed down and we are on automatic pilot. Runners will often talk about ‘runner’s high’ to describe the serotonin release feeling associated with being in this state. Other activities requiring either intense physical activity or an intense concentration will result in similar flow or zone states. When we are in the flow we typically may experience:
- A sense of blissful awareness
- A complete and exclusive focus
- A forgetting or expelling of unwanted feelings and thoughts
- A sense of inner satisfaction.
Happiness is not a destination; it is here during the journey and in the present moment
Living in the present actually helps us from living so many minutes, hours, days, weeks, months even years ahead, which we so often do and often in worry.
It’s the little things……
I was recently talking to Andy Mellor, SAS Director of Wellbeing, and he was telling me about a time he had recently travelled by train and, as the train pulled into the station, a leaf from a tree was right next to the window and on that leaf was a ladybird. Andy admitted he would not have ordinarily noticed it, but when we are present, we see the more beauty around us.
He was trying to keep himself more present and, in the moment, he did.
By using our senses, we can be present and not try to change anything but just notice and accept what is.
Next time you are walking from your car or public transport stop to your school building, just be aware of what you can see, what you can hear, what you can feel, what you can smell. Try it!
Mindfulness and being present in the moment can have the following long-term benefits:
- Reduced anxiety and stress
- Greater resilience
- Memory enhancement
- Improved concentration and mood
- Clarity and focus
- Improved health and wellbeing
Maybe you would like to try some movement to help practice being present? Our SAS Personal Trainer, Ed, and I have put together the following video demonstrating this.
A question to leave you with…
The last time you were in the shower, in your mind were you in the shower or were you in your classroom, office etc?
If you would like more information on the attainment of happiness, please feel free to contact me.