Finding Peace in Happiness
Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Dani of Positively Present. Thanks Dani!
Often when people think about being happy, they think about the giddy, exhilarating feeling that comes with things like falling in love or getting a promotion or having a child. And that is happiness, but it’s only a kind of happiness. Happiness comes in so many different forms and it’s not always as easy to recognize as one might think. While I love that over-the-top feeling of joy I get when something exciting happens to me, I realize that it’s not the same as lasting happiness. In fact, I’m not sure if it’s the same thing as happiness in general.
As I was sitting here writing I decided to check out the definition of happiness. According to Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary, happiness is “a state of well-being and contentment.” Lately I’ve been feeling very joyful, excited, and giddy and I’ve been claiming that this feeling is happiness, but is that really true? I cannot say that I am necessarily content because, to me, contentment is in opposition with the idea of excitement. I when I am content, I am at peace. When I am excited (as I have been lately), my mind and heart are racing. I may be joyful, but I am not necessarily content.
So it seems to me that for quite some time I’ve had an inaccurate perception of what it means to be happy. For so long, I’ve been seeking that head-over-heels happiness that comes with a rush of adrenaline and the novelty of something new and exciting, but, deep down, I know that’s not really what I’m looking for. And I realize that this may explain why I am often left feeling disappointed after the rush of joy I experience. It was great, wonderful, amazing – and then it’s over. And I find myself again searching for the next rush of joy, the next thing that will speed up my heart and make me wake up smiling. When I think about that kind of happiness, I realize that there is a beginning, a high, and then an end…and I don’t think that’s what true happiness is all about.
True happiness, as the definition states, is about well-being and contentment. True happiness is lasting. It’s not something that rushes by, filling you with so much excitement you think you could just burst. It’s something that stays, that hangs around for a long, long time, and that is there even when things aren’t going well. Happiness is an internal force that brings you to a place where you don’t need those rushes of joy, where you are content to just be. Knowing this is the first step in attaining this state of well-being, but it doesn’t make it any easier to actually get there.
I know I want that kind of happiness. In fact, I think I have it already within me, but I don’t yet always have the tools (or the mental focus) to access it. I get wrapped up in what’s happening right now – the good or the bad or the new – and push thoughts of lasting contentment to the back burner of my mind. I want to find that blissful state of contentment, to access that place in me where I know it’s resting and waiting, but it’s not always an easy thing to do. It really requires a lot of effort to find a peaceful sort of happiness, to make peace with happiness. Every day I’m thinking more about it and every day I’m striving more towards that goal of finding that true sort of happiness. In order to achieve that dictionary definition of happiness – that state of well-being and contentment – I’ve decided that I must do the following:
- Accept every situation for what it is.
- Avoid over-hyping situations.
- Take care of my body and mind.
- Find ways to cultivate inner peace.
- Live joyfully in the moment.
- Slow down and stop rushing around.
Once I work on these six things (and I will work on them every day!), I know I’ll be that much closer to understanding that true sense of happiness, the kind of happiness that will last, the kind of happiness that will bring me peace.
About the Author
Dani is a twenty-something blogger who writes about living positively in the present moment. Having lived the first twenty-five years of her life thinking negatively, Dani decided to turn her life around, to start thinking positively, and to share her journey towards a more positive life with others. Check out her blog: www.positivelypresent.com or follow Dani on Twitter at www.twitter.com/positivepresent.