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“I’ll be happy when...” - Is happiness and contentment really so conditional?

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Not waiting to be happy

We often think of getting peace of mind or being happy as being conditional upon us achieving certain goals. For example, “I’ll be happy when”....”When I get that done I’ll finally be able to relax”and so on.

The trouble is that we spend the time getting to that place in a state of mind that is neither happy or relaxed. It is as though we have given ourselves permission to only feel happy or relaxed or whatever the sought-after emotion might be when something outside of us is accomplished.

In reality this is an illusion, created by our own thinking.  We are simply feeling what we are thinking in the moment i.e feelings of stress or anxiety or discontent arising from our thinking that we will only be happy when we reach the promised land.  Yet, if you imagine just taking a few moments pause in the midst of all this doing, just a few moments time-out from all the disharmony linked to the striving to get somewhere in order to feel good. If you simply allow  your awareness to settle in the present moment and let it rest there, an amazing thing happens.  Thoughts just start to settle all by themselves. We don’t have to do anything to make this happen, except recognise that they are just thoughts, passing through our minds like clouds in the sky and we can just notice this, then we start to notice that sense of peace or wellbeing that is there all the time anyway starting to come through. Thoughts will come and thoughts will go, sometimes accompanied by negative sometimes by positive feelings, through our minds constantly.  That is our human make up.  Yet, our wellbeing has always been there – it is innate -  like the blue sky hidden by clouds. Only our getting wrapped up in our thinking and accompanying feelings, getting bogged down in our thoughts and constant striving, has clouded our ability to connect with this feeling of peace and ease and wellbeing along the way. We have simply created the illusion that it can only be experienced by us when we achieve whatever it is we feel is necessary to achieve.

Mindfulness is an incredibly effective way to gain a deeper appreciation of how our minds work and, in so doing, gain the headspace we need to really get present, enjoy life as it unfolds whilst becoming more resilient to situations and thinking that inadvertently create stress in our lives when we respond in our usual “doing” mode.  Practising mindfulness daily for just a few minutes strengthens the neural muscle in our brain connected to our “being” mode whilst our usual “doing” mode rests.  The benefits of being regularly mindful to our brain function, our health, wellbeing and our performance are proven beyond doubt and only have to be experienced to be believed.  Among these benefits is the development of a greater appreciation and enjoyment of each moment during the journey of moving towards our goals, of rubbing along with the inevitable ups and downs without getting bogged down in our thoughts and feelings connected to the downs so that we feel less like our wellbeing depends only on those goals being achieved.  It’s amazing how much more effective we become at achieving our goals when we don’t get sucked up in our unhelpful thinking patterns and put ourselves under such misguided pressure.

Wouldn’t it be such a shame to have a wonderful life but not to have actually noticed!

I teach individual sessions and 8-week mindfulness courses.

If you’d like to find out how mindfulness can help you enjoy life more rather than feeling like your happiness and peace of mind depends on something outside of you, please get in touch today for a confidential no-obligation chat.

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