Tag Archives: Future

Happiness Project – Week V

8 Dec

I once read somewhere (possibly in the Conversations With God series) that in order to know who we are, we must first know who we are not. Could the same theory work for happiness? During this past month of my Happiness Project, I have come to realise a few key things that make me unhappy.

I have written a list of these things below, with an accompanying reminder that could help me reverse my thought process and turn unhappiness into positivity.

 

Things that make me unhappy (and their antidote):

1)      Thinking about the future.

2)      Comparing myself to other people.

3)      Trying to live up to other people’s expectations.

4)      Focusing too much on myself.

5)      Being too busy.

6)      Spending too much energy on my job.

7)      Living by other people’s rules/beliefs/values.

8)      Judging myself – negatively.

9)   Losing faith and hope.

***

What kinds of things/thoughts bring negativity into your life?

In what way can you reverse these to create joy and fulfilment?

Happiness Project – Week II

17 Nov

Two weeks ago I realised that I was unhappy. I started a Happiness Project with a list of activities to introduce into my everyday life in order to bring positivity back into my life.

Here are my thoughts on Week II of the Happiness Project:

1) It makes me happy to have a day with a range of activities. It is most satisfying to have had a day with both mental, physical and creative activities.

2) There is not enough time in the week to do all of the things I’d like to do. But even doing one or two of these things brings joy and fulfilment.

3) Unexpected activities can bring more happiness than planned ‘happiness’ activities. I guess we can never plan out a happy day/week/life

4) Doing things for and with others brings me happiness. I often read in magazines and self-development books that we should ‘do something for ourselves’ to feel happier, but events in the past week seem to show the contrary.

5) My Happiness Project is really shedding light onto things that are very important, important, not important and unrelated to my happiness. Trying to implement my happiness resolutions into my everyday life shows whether or not doing certain things actually makes any difference to how I feel.

6) Some of my reasons for being unhappy are stupid. Yes, I admit it. But they are also things we have been made to believe by adverts and society. They are thoughts in the mind, yet how to get rid of them? First step – acceptance.

7) Things such as the passing of time, change and the future have been causing anxiousness in me for the first time in ten months. My thoughts about these things are usually full of doubt and worry. This leads to a state of nervousness and stress. Question to ask myself: why am I scared of these things?

jumping happiness8 ) Doing nothing and having too much free time brings unhappiness. I have noticed this both in myself and in others. The people who say that they did ‘absolutely nothing’ on their day off are the ones with the least energy and positivity. The people with activities and hobbies keep their body and minds active, avoiding laziness, apathy and over thinking. The latter group have no time to worry about the future because they are constantly living in and enjoying the present.

9) We can if we want to, but a lot of times we just can’t be bothered/are scared/give excuses/settle for the easy option/take the safe path/don’t believe/don’t want to fail…the list can go on. This week, we managed to get tickets for a fully-booked concert through research, phone calls and negotiation. At the beginning of the week, our attitude was “It’s fully-booked, why bother wasting time if we won’t get the tickets, anyway?”. It seems like there is always a solution!

10) Our happiness is not the most important thing on earth, contrary to modern popular thought. Our happiness should not be more important than respect towards others, helping, gratitude, thoughtfulness, care, effort, amongst many others. We cannot let our mood affect our relationships and our communication with others. I met people this week who were homeless and unemployed, yet they smiled, said please and thank you with genuine emotions, and wished everyone an excellent day. This taught me a lesson about taking out my bad mood on my close ones.

***

Aims for Week III:

-Give more energy to doing and sharing things with the people close to me.

-Remind myself of all that I am grateful to have.

-Go rollerblading.

 

Our Life’s Scenery

18 Apr

If we could take a photo of our life’s scenery, how quickly would it change?

I was away from home for four days, and when I came back I uttered a “wow” of disbelief. During this time, the buds on the trees turned into leaves and the view from my balcony changed to almost beyond recognition. Most of the changes in the photos below took place over these four days…

March 2011

April 2011

Realising how quickly change can come around in nature makes me appreciate its current state. I take in the beauty of the spring flora, knowing that it is only here for a limited time. I do not think about how beautiful the trees outside my house will look in the autumn, because I will have the opportunity to experience this in the future.  Spring is here, spring is now – I must make the most of it before nature takes its course and changes the scenery.

In the same way, let’s save our thoughts of the future until it arrives. Today, we must appreciate the beautiful scenery of our present, because it is only here for a limited time.

The Art of the Essential

13 Jan

“Are you rich?”
“I have everything. I no longer even have possessions.”
~ Malcolm de Chazal

A few months ago, I met a guy in Paris whose only possessions were the ones he could fit into his rucksack. Ever since reading L’Art de l’Essentiel (The Art of the Essential) by Dominique Loreau, I have been trying to achieve a similar sort of thing.

In her book, Loreau outlines the Feng Shui principles of space clearing that bring peace into our lives. Excess or unnecessary possessions can have a negative effect on our energy, slowing us down, making us depressed or lethargic, and eventually making our possessions become the owners of our lives.

Just before the new year, I managed to clear my shed of eleven years’ worth of junk. Clothes, books, films, music, jewellery, stationery, a bike (that I rode once, six years ago), roller blades, a tent (that I borrowed from someone five years ago), and other similar things. Friends came and took what they liked, and the rest went to charity. I followed Dominique Loreau’s basic principle: if you don’t need it or you don’t love it, let it go. Unsurprisingly, I didn’t experience any remarkable feelings of loss or regret when I parted with these things.

It was a different thing, however, when I started going through my university folders. Ninety-five percent of four years of work went into the recycling bin. Four years’ worth of lectures, homework, assignments, essays, notes, photocopies and research proved to no longer be of any worth to me. When I’d finished my first round of recycling I sat back in horror… “What was my education for if only months after finishing it, I am already throwing it away?!”. I remembered my endless battles with philosophy (one of my BA subjects) and how I thought about giving it up a few months into my first term at uni. But I didn’t, because I thought it would be ‘good for me’ in the long-run.

Sitting amongst all the philosophy papers that I was about to trash, I decided then and there never to do anything with the hope that it will be ‘good for’ or ‘useful to’ my future self. I realised that we can never guess what we will want or need in the future, so the best we can do is to make the most of the present – that way, our best possible future will unfold naturally. If we hold on to objects that we don’t use now, we ruin our present by being tied to things that have no relevance to the life we would actually like to lead. If we spend our time doing things we don’t enjoy, believing that they will be ‘useful’ for our future selves, we will end up losing opportunities to do the things we genuinely love.

Living with only the essential brings freedom and peace to our lives. We are defined by who we are and what we do, rather than by what we own. When we learn to effortlessly let go of material things, we find it easier to let go of situations, places and people.  Happiness does not lie in the things we own, but in the things we give.

 On the same topic: Art of the Essential Part IIArt of the Essential Part III