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The Hide and Seek Of Happiness – Where To Look and How To Find It

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Finding Happiness The Bucket List

I just finished watching the film, ‘The Bucket List’, one of my all time favourite, feel-good movies. Not only do I like the entertaining duo of Morgan Freeman the benevolent, wise soul and Jack Nicholson, who has the alacrity of a 5 year old, but I also like the significance of the film. ‘Our quest in life’. I think we all spend our lives on a quest. Osho referred to life as a quest and not a question, maybe a quest for meaning, for love, perhaps an esoteric piece of wisdom and for many … the quest for happiness.

There’s a scene in The Bucket List where Nicholson reads the letter Freeman wrote him, where he says, ‘find the joy in your life.’

FIND THE JOY. How do we define joy? Is a large portion of our lives spent on the attainment of happiness and is it sustainable? Happiness is an emotion, a mood, a feeling, and a dynamic state. It isn’t a destination we miraculously arrive at, it’s about cultivating moments’ of joy throughout the journey, and most importantly … happiness is a decision. It’s derived from intrinsic motivation. If we’re continually questioning when we’ll find happiness, and what exactly will create that happiness, then we’re depending on external factors and therefore not being accountable for our own lives.

Aristotle Happiness In Life Create A Bucket ListThe Greek philosopher Aristotle, devoted his research to the study of happiness. Aristotle questioned the meaning of life and the purpose of human existence suggesting that happiness was the fundamental motivator. He related it to virtue and attainment for the greater good, as opposed to individualistic gain and defined virtue as maintaining the median. Artistotle’s theory is comparable to the Buddhist philosophy of the ‘middle path’ or the ‘middle way’, which is concerned with the balance between hedonism and abstinence.

Buddhists also advocate that contentment is a more achievable state than happiness. If we reflect on the catalysts in our lives that have generated happiness, buying a new car, passing an exam, falling in love to name a few examples, I’m sure we would discover these states are temporary, impermanent and therefore … unsustainable.

In her article ‘Being Happy’, Doctor Charmaine Saunders provides three main tips for attaining happiness which include, conquering your fears, what she refers to as ‘looking for the gem’ and seeing the magic. Dr Saunders posits that our fear stifles many aspects of our life and that instead looking for the positives is a surer way to happiness.

In 1972, Bhutan’s fourth King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, coined the phrase Gross National Happiness (GNH) to demonstrate his commitment in developing a nation established on Buddhist principles. This concept was later developed by Kara Ura The Director of the Centre for Bhutan Studies, to holistically measure the quality of national well-being.

The research concluded that the factors contributing to individual and therefore collective happiness included, the work-life balance, good governance, sustainable socio-economic development, cultural preservation, and environmental conservation and has since been adopted by various other leading nations. It seems the quest for happiness is now a global phenomenon.

 

The path to a more content life

 

The Bucket List Of Your Life

Healthy mind, healthy body

There is an old expression which refers to a healthy body in a healthy mind – Mens sana in corpore sano. I promote the regular exercise, balanced diet theory, however, I’m also an advocate for holistic health and feel that if we are in a continual state of stress and anxiety, we don’t possess the motivation to eat, eat nutritiously, cook or to engage in exercise. Our eating patterns become irregular, we crave for foods containing high quantities of sugar, salts and starch, sleep routines become disrupted and irregular and we don’t possess the impetus to exercise or even socialise. These factors can contribute to severe mental health issues including depression, anxiety disorders and a range of physical conditions.

Constant worry, stress, fatigue and physical ailments, may be an indication that you need to reassess key relationships, career, and seeking the guidance and support of a health professional, to implement changes to your lifestyle, which leads me to my next point …

 

A balanced lifestyle

‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy …’ another cliché or perhaps another universal truth? With rapid globalisation and technological advancement, human beings are in a constant state of flux. Work demands, financial obligations and family commitments are common stressors which can affect our quality of life. Happiness is about maintaining the balance between the physical, emotional, and spiritual.

Sufficient rest, exercise and a balanced, healthy diet are essential, as well as discovering a talent, hobby, enrolling in a course, learning to meditate or practicing yoga, however, make sure you engage in activities and, with people you feel enhance your life, and contribute to it positively. Whatever you choose to do and whomever you choose to do it with, just remember that everything in life is interconnected, and occurs in duality, there are always seeds of hope in despair and fear at it’s best is inspiration, it is up to us to create the balance.

 

A Bucket List

If you haven’t all ready, I would strongly recommend you rent the film ‘The Bucket List’. If anything at all, I’m sure you will at least take away with you, the courage to convert your fears and create your own bucket list. Find half an hour to sit down somewhere quiet and start creating your list. Perhaps there are things you have always wanted to do but have always deterred yourself because instead, you listen to that little voice inside your, or perhaps to that little nagging voice of others. Maybe you have always had the support of others but have never had the self-belief and confidence.

Drown out the inner noise and that voice of others and … just write it. Once you have written your list, it might also require further planning, for example, if your list contains goals that involve finances, such as travel, or a specific allocation of time, like a course of study. Don’t forget to specify your short, mid and long term goals, a time frame and additional considerations to achieve the outcome.

You have nothing to lose and everything to gain, it’s all an experience and it’s how you reframe that experience which determines the ‘real’ outcome.

To quote my Mum, who always adopts a positive approach to life ‘don’t be afraid of succeeding!’ I questioned her, thinking she made an error, and that what she meant to say was ‘don’t be afraid of failing’, but she assured me, that, ‘don’t be afraid of succeeding’ was precisely, what she meant to say.

Enjoy the journey …

Charlette is a qualified Social Worker and lecturer in ESL, and currently teaches refugees and migrants from diverse ethnic backgrounds. Charlette would like to use her writing as a catalyst for social awareness to empower, motivate and inspire people and make a meaningful difference. Her writing is informed by her increasing knowledge from her work, volunteering and activism, which contributes to her writing.

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. Peter \beaulieu

    May 12, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    Happiness because it are only akin to happenings are unsustainable and soon dissipate in short time, until the next happening, like buying ourselves a new toy or an exotic trip or the like. True unbreakable joy comes only one way, that is in serving and giving to others, whether it be our time our goods ourselves. Calamity, death of a loved one, or loss of everything we posses cannot take our joy from us if we are true givers expecting nothing in return. Try it over a sustained period, you will be amazed. It isn’t as complicated as all the things I read in this article I just read. You don’t have to be some sort of guru.

  2. dreamlinediary

    May 11, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    “Contentment is a more achievable state than happiness” just that quote alone is gold. It makes perfect sense finally. It is unsustainable to be joyously happy ALL the time, and frankly I have never met anyone who is that far ‘up’ all the time. Thankfully you have stated the most realistic thing I have ever read about happiness. xx

  3. Jaysef

    May 10, 2013 at 9:41 pm

    beautiful article charlette, nice quote at the end from your mother, that one is classic.

  4. Jacques van Heerden

    May 9, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    Nice read. Good movie which initially inspired me to start a bucket list back then too.

  5. Newton

    May 8, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    @ Burton. So true. I face experience that myself.

  6. Australian Motivational Speaker

    May 8, 2013 at 7:36 am

    Bucket list was awesome. Just got it out from the library of all places.

  7. Burton

    May 8, 2013 at 1:46 am

    Excellent article. One way I have been finding more happiness in my life is to smile at people and collect smiles back. I know it sounds funny. But I believe we must give what we want to receive. If I give enough happiness it comes back. Its amazing as I get really happy when I get a smile back. Just wanted to share this fun technique.

  8. Sebastian Daniels

    May 8, 2013 at 12:55 am

    I completely agree with what your mom said. If you never put in a full effort then you will never have to face defeat because you can always use the excuse that you didn’t try it hard enough or some other excuse. Where as if you aren’t afraid of succeeding you will put everything you can into it and just see what happens.

    Another thing which I think is important happiness is the concept of Radical Acceptance. Only when we accept things, can we change them.

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