Monday, January 19, 2015

how to be happy! (really!)

so I was listening to NPR today, which is one of the easiest ways to learn cool things for free that I can think of. and they were talking about this site which is where you can sign up to increase your happiness!  it basically sends you messages periodically asking how happy you are and what you're doing. then it tracks the things in your life that tend to make you (and people in general) more happy or less happy.

one of the things they've found, after doing this study for several years, is that there is one thing that everyone seems to have in common regarding happiness. when you live in the NOW, and not regretting the past or worrying about the future, you're much happier.

now, many religions teach this as well. Buddhism, for example, teaches in meditation to listen to your breathing... so as to live in the present. Jesus said not to worry about what to eat, or what to wear, because God takes care of all of that. they are pointing us toward the same "live in the present" idea that the study stated.

I started reading The Island by Aldous Huxley a few years ago, and didn't like most of it, for various reasons. but there was one idea that really stuck with me. all over his fictitious island, there are birds that occasionally just blurt out "pay attention!" reminding everyone to pay attention to the NOW and stop wandering off in their thinking, regretting the past or worrying about the future.

here is a site that gives some practical advice on living in the present.

but much of it is just realizing that's what we need to do. start savoring your meals. feeling the sun on your face. enjoying your walk. finding things you like about your job and doing those things mindfully. or, if you absolutely cannot, finding a new job where you can.

life is too short to wander through it worrying about what's next, or holding on to grudges against people who hurt you long ago. let go of those habits of thinking, and live in the now.

that, according to those who seem to know, is how to be happy.


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