6 Nov 2012

Stay in the moment...you just might be happier

What is happiness? Is it subjective? Is it external like getting a brand new car or house - maybe; many brands, magazines, and advertising would have you believe this, and definitely 'push' this philosophy, is it more aligned with the Buddhist mentality, that happiness is internal. Maybe it's a bit of both.

Well happiness has been the subject of many a book, course, therapy, philosophy, religion, culture, and science, and is not going to be answered in this short article! But maybe there is a small takeaway from this TED Talk by Matt Killingsworth. A short biography and synopsis of the TED Talk "While doing his PhD research with Dan Gilbert at Harvard, Matt Killingsworth invented a nifty tool for investigating happiness: an iPhone app called Track Your Happiness that captured feelings in real time. (Basically, it pings you at random times and asks: How are you feeling right now, and what are you doing?) Data captured from the study became the landmark paper "A Wandering Mind Is an Unhappy Mind PDF"

The 'what' in the happiness question is important, but also the 'when' should be asked and considered. As in what 'when' is important / essential for happiness...bit of tongue twister, but the answer should be 'now'. Too many people focus specifically on happiness in the future, which sacrifices their happiness in the 'now'. That's not to say you shouldn't think and plan for the future, that would be irresponsible, and as an ambitious person, not considering the future would be a paradox of goal setting / tracking. In short, too many people get caught up in 'what if's' and the future, they don't truly reap the amazing things that happen every day in their lives, only to get old and reflect on a life of regret.

I recently wrote a blog post with one of my favourite quotes from the Dalia Lama which summarises this extremely well - "The Dalai Lama was asked what surprised him the most; he said, "Man, because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future;he lives as if he is never going to die, and then he dies having never really lived."

TED Talk

Takeout from the TED Talk "A Wandering Mind is an Unhappy Mind"

If you like this sort of thing, have a read of another recent blog post Live life and don't regret, which has 45 Life Lessons from a 95 year old, quotes, and a TED Talk by Jane Mcgonigal that discusses her research of the regrets of the dying. Sounds awful, but a lot to be learnt.

And be happy today, you are alive and well. That is enough to be happy about...

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