Tag Archives: Choice

Happiness is not a Destination

19 Sep

What makes us happy?

Psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky conducted an experiment on “The How of Happiness” and the results are truly fascinating.

According to Lyubomirsky, 50% of our happiness comes from our genes.

Only 10% of our happiness is made up of – (get prepared to be blown away) – external factors, such as money, the weather, our job, the car we drive, the clothes we wear…

And the remaining 40% of our happiness is determined by…..our attitude and our behaviour in the face of each situation in our lives.

Isn’t t funny, how we all think that a job, a house, a car, a dress, or a party will change our lives from miserable to joyful? Isn’t it strange, how we believe that a salary, a title, a brand will transform our lives from Hell to Heaven?

The “things” we believe so important for our happiness actually only make up a very small percentage of it.

The rest comes from the inside – how we choose to feel, how we choose to react, how we choose to think.

We cannot always change the circumstances in our life, but what Lyubomirsky has proved is that it is enough to change our attitude to these circumstances in order to transform our lives for the better.

As Louise Hay says:

“When we cannot change a situation, we must begin to change the way we view it.”

I Choose Beauty

4 Jul

I have been using Louise Hay’s 2012 “I Can Do It” calendar every day this year and the daily messages in the calendar never fail to transform my day in a positive way.

Today’s message, for example, is as follows:

I am free to be who I want to be, living my life as I choose.

As I sat down to do my morning writing, all my thoughts revolved around this beautiful and enlightening message. The following words flowed from my pen:

I choose travel.

I choose learning.

I choose writing.

I choose nature.

I choose yoga.

I choose walks.

I choose loving relationships.

I choose honest friendships.

I choose simplicity.

I choose hard work.

I choose challenge.

I choose games.

Image rights: The Guardian:The Observer

I choose creativity.

I choose beauty.

I choose health.

I choose reading.

I choose flowers.

I choose quietness.

Image rights: Glitter and Pearls

I choose movement.

I choose dance.

I choose photography.

I choose contemplation.

I choose taking my time.

I choose music.

 

What do YOU choose?

120 Day “Do What You Love Challenge”

24 May

Two weeks ago I signed up to the 120 Day “Do What You Love Challenge”, choosing writing as my daily activity (this includes poetry, blogging, articles, short stories, songs etc.).

I decided to take the challenge for several reasons. Despite loving writing I:

  • do not write regularly
  • feel guilty spending time writing
  • do not consider writing as an ‘important’ or ‘useful’ activity

Yet despite all of this I:

  • wish I could spend more time writing
  • feel unfulfilled when I do not write for a long stretch of time
  • always have writing on my mind

Quite a paradox, isn’t it?

Just like Pollyanna Darling says – we often feel guilty doing what we love, because doing what we love has no goal apart from enjoying ourselves and feeling happy. We have become used to doing activities that bring a certain visual or material result, and we think that everything else is ‘pointless’ or ‘a waste of time’.

Indeed, writing won’t make the house cleaner and it won’t speed up the flat-hunting. Writing won’t give me a pedicureWriting in notebook on footsteps and it won’t find me a new flat. Writing won’t fill out the forms I have to send and it won’t buy me summer clothes.

BUT…it won’t get in the way of me doing those things, either.

I seem to have always had the false belief that in spending some time writing, I was choosing writing – a ‘pointless’ activity – over another – ‘useful’ – activity. After two weeks of writing every day, I realised that it is not a question of choosing one activity over the other, it is a question of making time for both.

Although I’ve only been spending ten to thirty minutes writing per day, I feel more fulfilled and calmer. I’ve seen that I have enough ideas to produce something every day and that every day brings new ideas. I’ve also started writing poetry again – something that I had abandoned for many years, giving the excuse that I was ‘not inspired’.

Perhaps it wasn’t inspiration I was lacking all along, but the courage to do what I love…

Think Locally

18 Jan

We don’t necessarily need to move to a different city or different country in order to change our lifestyle: sometimes, all we need to do is change our current habits and a whole new world will open itself up. For those of us living in the city, one thing that could have a colossal effect on our lifestyle is simply choosing ‘to go local’.

In a cosmopolitan capital like London, we are constantly taught to think globally. We are encouraged to expand our vision of the world so widely that we are always aware of what is going on across the globe. Yet despite having such a good knowledge of the larger picture, Londoners  often don’t have a clue about what is happening in their own neighbourhood. We put so much importance on the big things, that the small things seem insignificant.

As a student, all of my activities took place in central London. I would go into town for lessons, for coffee with friends, for shopping, for a walk, for dance class, for language class, for bars and clubs and all evening events. The only time I spent in my area was to come back home to sleep! It seemed like central London contained the world, and I yearned to discover bigger things than my calm residential area could ever offer. Or so it seemed.

For the past four months I have, voluntarily but subconsciously, been keeping my movements very local. And I was amazed to recognise the effects of this choice. I am calmer and more sure of myself; I have discovered my natural routine, in which I have more free time than before; I have saved money and drastically reduced my consumption. Simply spending more time in a more peaceful area of the city has remarkably slowed down my pace of life, and this in turn has given my body time to rest, my mind silence to quieten and my soul space to breathe. I feel more stable, more comfortable, more together. Empty streets, calm movements and disengagement from time have helped me rediscover my individuality.

Regaining a sense of individuality is probably one of the best things that being actively present in the local community has given me. I no longer feel like just another face in a mass of people on the tube, just another employee on the way to work, just another consumer being carried in a crowd. I am an individual who makes a noticeable contribution to the things around her. Working in the bookshop I give honest recommendations, I can put a smile on someone’s face or engage in an interesting conversation. I have got to know the sales girls at the local food store by face, and our exchange is the warmer for our small acquaintance. I always share a joke and have a chat with the guys in the local wine shop. I often recognise the people who pass me on the street, from having met or known them at some point during my time in the neighbourhood.

In the capital we are always being encouraged to make a difference, to do something good for the world, to ‘think big’. But in order to have any grasp at all of the bigger picture, we must understand the small pieces that hold it together. It is by making a constant positive contribution to the things that are closest to us that we will be able to move on to bigger things. As the proverb goes: charity begins at home. If we learn to live lovingly and peacefully with the people and things in our vicinity, then the rest of the world won’t seem like such a big challenge. If we take notice and make a contribution to what is available locally, we will not only make positive changes to our own lives but touch the lives of many others far more deeply than if we were trying to save the entire world. Our most precious things are at our fingertips.