The Art of Happiness

Do you know how your thoughts drift you away from your fulfilled and happy life? Maybe you always thought that happiness is butterfly which is always slipping through your fingertips?

the art of happiness

I’m not going to give you a definition of what ‘happiness’ is. Each of us has his own definition, which is in accordance with our values and belief system.

Lately, I’ve been watching “The affair” TV series. The main protagonist, Noah Solloway, had it all. A beautiful and loving wife, 4 healthy kids and a cosy home in the city. Yet, he was not happy. Later on, in the next seasons, he divorced his wife, took another woman and had a baby with her. Yet, he was not happy. I won’t spill the beans of how it all ends.

How many of you out there are like Noah Solloway?

Never happy with what you have. Never knowing what you actually want. Not appreciating what you have. Drifting through life insatiably.

HAPPINESS IS ANOTHER FORM OF CREATION. YOU DESIGN IT WITH YOUR THOUGHTS.

Sounds easy, hm? Easy for someone who is well aware of the power of our thoughts and is already using it.

What if, let’s say, you grew up in a poor family with a negative view on everything? What if all your friends around complain about how hard it is to earn well or to meet a good life partner? What if you don’t believe in yourself, because no one else believes in the success of your business idea?

Discover 5 mental habits on how you can create more happiness in your life.

1. PERCEPTION

The first step on your way to happiness is the ability to perceive good things in your life. If you go through your day thinking only about the bad stuff, bad weather, bad boss and lack of money, no wonder you attract it in your life.

Think about the positive things that happened during your day. Maybe someone gave you a smile on the tram or you drank a cup of your favourite coffee?

2. GRATEFULNESS

Every morning, straight after your wake-up, think about 4 things that you are grateful for today. The more positive things you perceive the higher your happiness level 🙂

3. LETTING GO

Let go of grudges ad anger towards people in your life. Are you still angry with your parents that they criticise you all the time? Time to let go. Time to give a hug to your dad and tell him how much you love him. Holding grudges and anger destroys you inside. As soon as you let go, regardless of the other person’s feelings, you find peace and clear off your head from negative emotions.

4. PURSUE YOUR DREAMS

Have dreams. Dare to dream and fulfil your dreams. This can give you so much power when you’re on your way to creating the life you want. You dream about meeting your other half? Then go out more, socialise, have the courage to meet new people.

5. APPRECIATE YOUR ROOTS

Even if you don’t like your family town or you have difficult relations with your parents, learn to appreciate your roots. Your family gave you everything they could. They fed you, educated you and loved you. Yes. Even when they didn’t know how to show this love. You owe them respect. They created you. Thanks to them you could come to this world and experience this life. Learn to appreciate it.

Let me end this post with a quote from my favourite philosopher Marcus Aurelius:

“Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself in your way of thinking”

And what’s your view on that?

Let me know in comments.

What would you tell to your 10-year-old self?

1. Life is a game Aleksandra. It’s neither a Moroccan bazaar nor an ascetic cave. If you wanna play good learn the rules of the game called Life.

2. Love yourself because you are beautiful the way you are. Don’t listen to your colleagues making fun of your body. Let yourself be.

3. Be grateful for everything you have and the family who surrounds you. These persons might depart any moment and it’s important to love them the way you love yourself. Show them your affection and love. Even if they don’t show it to you.

4. Play, swing and have fun in the playground. The time for books and learning will come later.

5. Each failure is a next step towards your success. Those who don’t make mistakes never grow and never learn. So take your bike again, fall again and learn how to ride!

Don’t spread your pain in installments. Let go of your past.

Take a look at your past. What do you see? Is it the source of your strength and experience or the source of a recurring pain and suffering?

How old are you? Even if you’re still young, you’ve been through some experiences in your life. Some of them were pleasant, wonderful, worth to remember. But there were also the moments which you don’t want to remember, but somehow they come back to the surface of your life like dead fish which emerge at the surface of the water in a river-flow.

Which memories take up the most space in your mind?

Pleasant ones or turbulent ones from your past? Still the same old movie that’s haunting you, trying to revive same old scene, like in a song by Roxy?

How to deal with the negative experiences from your past?
Skiing can be the answer.

What we tend to do with our past experiences is we revive them by thinking about them in our present. We are worried all the time when we meet a new person and we wonder “what if he or she turns out to be like my ex?”. We are afraid of being exposed to pain and suffering, of  losing ourselves again. Because we all are well-aware of how hard it is to find ourselves back on track after a painful fall.

We fail to control the thoughts about our past the way we forget to control our skis when we’re wearing them for the first time.

What we tend to do with our past experiences is we revive them by thinking about them in our present. We are worried all the time when we meet a new person and we wonder “what if he or she turns out to be like my ex?”. We are afraid of being exposed to pain and suffering, of  losing ourselves again. Because we all are well-aware of how hard it is to find ourselves back on track after a painful fall.

We fail to control the thoughts about our past the way we forget to control our skis when we’re wearing them for the first time. 

Have you ever tried cross-country skiing?

When you learn the skating technique it is essential to keep the V shape of your skis to glide and move forward. If you don’t keep the V you either fall or glide backwards. Therefore, as a beginner you need to put all your attention to keeping your V and moving forward. It’s a practice. If you check on YouTube some cross-country skating you’ll find watching it easy and it will appear to you as a relatively easy technique. But it’s only after you put your skis on and practise, you discover it’s a hard work and an enjoyable though painful exercise for your muscles.

The same goes for letting go of your past.

You cannot erase it by clicking ‘delete’ but you can store it in some part of your memory. Instead of accessing these painful memories every day, focus on keeping your skis in your V to move forward. Stay in the present and don’t let your thoughts about the past wander around. Control them the way you control your skis on a slope.

Easier said than done – you’ll say.  Indeed. Letting go of your past requires practise. It is not an in-born ability. The only things which are innate is your tendency to have a prostate cancer, the length of your thighbone or the amount of hair on your head. All the rest is up to you how you deal with it.

It is not enough to sit and tell yourself “dear thoughts about the past, please go away”. They won’t.  The more you think about them, the more influence they will have on your life. The pain will thus be spread in installments, instead of being paid at once. 

Traumatic past experiences are like small stones in your shoes that hurt your feet.

Such stones are past, disappointing relationship, broken hearts, old wounds and inability to forgive. You can cover your hurt feet with plasters with Mickey Mouse but it won’t eliminate the pain.

What you need to do is to deal with the source of the pain – take the stones out of your shoes. They won’t fall out by themselves. 

There’s one good exercise, which can help you to say goodbye to your negative memories of your past. Usually it’s people, who hurt us and produce the negative hurtful emotions. That’s why it’s essential to let go of them peacefully. The technique is called ‘the ship’.

  1. Lie down on your bed, switch off all distractions like mobile phones or computers.
  2. Close your eyes and breathe deeply for 5 minutes.
  3. Imagine you stand on a pier by a beautiful sea. Smell the fresh, salty air, hear the seagulls screams.
  4. Picture a big ship standing by the pier. This ship has everything essential for a very long, infinite journey. It is safe and modern and the person who will board the ship will have everything she or he will ever need.
  5. See a person (the one that hurt you in the past and you want to let go) strolling on the pier, walking to meet you. 
  6. Look at his/her eyes and thank him/her for everything you have experienced together and say to him/her that you are going to let them go on a beautiful infinite journey, away from your life.
  7. In this moment you may cry. Allow yourself for the tears and all the emotions. Feel them and let them be. Take the pain out. Say “thank you” again.
  8. Observe the person boarding the ship. 
  9. Then, release the anchor and watch the ship until it disappears over the horizon.
  10. Now, take a deep breath, smell the see and look forward to the horizon when new things and people will soon come to you.
  11. Take a deep breath and open your eyes. Welcome again 🙂 

You have released your past and you have sent the person who was producing the negative thoughts on an infinite journey. You let go and made space for new things to come. Well done!

We’re like pawns on the eternal board, who are never quite sure what they’ve moved towards. But it’s far better to have an unsure future than to live in the same old scene that’s been haunting us.

Let go of your past and get rid of the burden which prevents you from creating a happy future. Focus on keeping your V and moving forward. Take a ski lesson.

Enjoy your practice!

Plantation of Creativity Team