Happiness is not permanent. For you to have happiness, and also to continue to experience happiness, you must nourish it. How do you feed your happiness?
Happiness can be found in simple things. An expression of sheer joy on an infants’ face can lighten your heart. A walk in nature observing the beauty all around you can lift your mood. The sound of laughter is sometimes infectious. Smells and sounds from cooking foods can warm your soul.
In moments like these, happiness is easy. Feeding your happiness during these times is a piece of cake. Unfortunately happy moments can be replaced with difficulties. Too often we are exposed to negativity that causes pain and suffering. We face stressful daily challenges. We hear horrific tragedies and witness suffering in both our personal lives and in the news. We watch with great sadness as a loved one goes through a traumatic experience. Nourishing happiness during these periods is far more demanding. But still, it can be done.
During these times, I practice mindfulness. Focusing on my breath allows me to be present in the moment. Being conscious of breath brings my mind home so that I can become free of the distractions of my thoughts and emotions. I follow my breath in and out and become aware of the movement in my body as I breathe. I try to let go of all that does not serve the present moment and feel my body relax to become one with my mind.
Mindfulness will not shelter you from difficult feelings and situations; but it can put them all in context. Mindful awareness cultivates compassion and understanding. Compassion and understanding lead to acceptance and peace. This is why it’s so important to practice mindfulness every day; to continue to be present in this moment. This is how I feed my happiness.
Make it a point to feed your happiness every day. Without daily nourishment, we weaken our ability to be present and to be at peace. We starve our happiness and find ourselves swirling in thoughts wrought with worries and stress. We begin to react instead of respond. We hurt those we love, including ourselves.
Some days you won’t have a lot of spare time. Take a few deep breaths anyway, and practice being aware of your thoughts and actions. On difficult days, you may feel discouraged with your personal challenges. Practice for a few moments, several times releasing your thoughts and being present. When you find yourself already happy continue to make time for your mindfulness practice, allow the feeling of joy to spread through you and those around you as you breathe. Over time, you will discover that your mindfulness practice helps to bring balance feeding your happiness even during turbulent times. Vivian Greene said it best:
“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass; it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”