The happiness fix
How can we find our happiness fix? We cannot control everything that happens around us, but we can control how we react to it, writes Silvia Barro Stones
How many times have we all said, ‘How lucky they are’ or ‘I wish I could have as much as them’? Sometimes we think that other people are better off than we are. Of course, there will always be someone who goes on expensive holidays, has more money, has a bigger house, a better car than us, or has children, a marriage, parents; someone who, all in all, appears to be happy.
But what really is happiness? Everything is relative: what is not so good for us could be very good for someone else; therefore, happiness is relative as well. To find real happiness we must be true to ourselves, we must look to where we are, to what we have and who we are. Only then we can honestly feel happy. How can we do this then? Take pen and paper and make a table similar to this:
Fill in the rows with anything you want to write (like I did for ‘Home’, for example); while you do this think positively about what you have and about you. For ‘Achievements’ think broadly, for example: own a car, have a family, be able to have holidays, qualifications, being part of any type of group. Whatever you do or own is an achievement.
Then look at the table and notice how full it is. Maybe you realise that your life is actually quite fulfilled and that you have many reasons to be happy. Maybe you have got as much as someone who you think has got ‘more’.
Or, if you look and you see any blank boxes, think again. Sometimes we overlook things that we own or that we have both materially and personally. Could you think of anything at all you could write for that particular blank box? Give it a little moment. Then if you really cannot fill in that gap, think: what can I do to change this empty part of my life? Maybe this is the missing puzzle piece in the path of happiness for you?
Open the door to happiness
Often, we get stuck in a negative thought; we want something so much which appears to be difficult to achieve that it becomes a constant apprehension. Without realising it, we become slaves of this illusive wish, and this one aspect of our life that we don’t own overshadows everything else that we hold. Like the Rolling Stones said in one of their songs: you can’t always get what you want.
We must accept that sometimes there are limitations. Moreover, if we take our attention away from this obstacle, if we don’t waste our energies on something that is not there, then we will be suddenly able to have free space in our mind for something else. Suddenly, our path is clear, it is easy to walk through and we very probably get somewhere unexpected because we are more at ease with ourselves and the world around us.
Remember not to always compare yourself to everybody else around you. Unfortunately, we all do that. We think of someone else more fortunate then us. Nevertheless, around us there will be someone who will think that we are more fortunate than them, who will wish to be as happy as us.
I really believe that our way of thinking, our way to look at reality, affects the way we perceive our life. If we think of ourselves as unlucky or as not having enough, then we live with ourselves negatively, with a sense of unfulfillment and dissatisfaction. On the other hand, if we think of ourselves as lucky, or as comfortable, then we live with ourselves positively, with a sense of satisfaction and contentedness.
They say, ‘Money brings money’, therefore I say, ‘Happiness brings happiness’: when we have a positive outlook to our life, positivity will surround us, and we will achieve more because unconsciously we will be in that state of mind that makes us happy. Controlling our mind, our thoughts and our perspective is the open door to our happiness.
Silvia Barro Stones is a yoga teacher, coach and the owner of Mindfulvita. Connect on Facebook @Mindfulvita
First published in November 2009, OM Yoga magazine has become the most popular yoga title in the UK. Available from all major supermarkets, independents and newsstands across the UK. Also available on all digital platforms.