Last week Cait Flanders wrote about how some people treated happiness as a general vibe that they exude and others pursued happiness as a destination. Thinking about this idea started me on a path that had me digging back through my notes on happiness research.
Our culture tends to treat happiness as a destination. Happiness is a goal for which you strive. And of course, the most surefire way to reach happiness is to be successful.
When someone can distill an idea or a philosophy into a short, memorable collection of words, it can become a kind of mantra for people. It can be a reminder of how they want to live their life and how to be their best selves.
In looking into ways of dealing with disappointment we explored the Stoic practice of imagining the things that could go wrong in our lives. This is a great tool for helping us blunt the painful feeling of disappointment that accompanies loss.
However, this is not the only benefit to this practice.
Hello, friends! If you are an American reader, then happy election day! Please make sure you go out and vote today. I know that this election season has been long, draining, and often demoralizing, but sitting out the election is giving up your chance to weigh in on who should make and enforce the laws. These choices matter! Especially at the state and local level. Google “my ballot” and enter your address for a run down of every office and referendum that you get to vote on. Do your research. Vote. It really does matter.
Now on to your regularly scheduled programming:
I am a person who generally makes decisions based upon logic and rational factors. As such, I avoided trying meditation for a long time. How could doing nothing for a stretch of time every day actually help me?
If you stop and think about the times when you were most happy in your life, you probably don’t think of times when you were sitting around and watching television. Instead, maybe you’ll think about a time you skied a difficult slope. Maybe you’ll think about a time where you were hanging out with your friends or playing with your kids. Maybe you’ll think about completing a challenging task.
The thing that ties our happiest moments together tends to be that we are completely engaged with what we are doing and lose track of time.