• Claire Hunter

Happiness is trying to catch you

Things can be so busy in our lives that sometimes we fail to appreciate the beauty of what's around us and all the precious gifts we have to be grateful for. Even if you've had a lousy day, by virtue of the fact that you're reading this blog I'm betting you have food in the fridge, a roof over your head and the freedom to pursue a life of meaning and satisfaction. Many people around the world are denied these privileges and stopping to really appreciate that can be such a grounding thing to do.

One of the problems with modern day life is that we're often so busy and preoccupied with 'busyness' that we fail to notice the things that have gone well, and the little daily pleasures and victories. When we're perpetually in motion with 'doing' we can fail to notice the happiness that's available to us right now. For example, if I take the time to stop and look as I'm sitting here busily writing, I can see the trees on the green opposite me shimmering and dancing in the spring breeze. The house is peaceful, with just our oriental lucky cat ticking away as it waves (hence the blog picture!) I can smell my gorgeous Nag Champa incence and I'm warm and comfortable. My kids are safe and happy and I have a weekend of free time stretching out in front of me.

Before I took these few minutes to slow down, I must admit, I was a little consumed with circular thoughts about a situation in my life that's causing me some sadness right now- focusing on what is wrong, rather than on what is right. When I take just a few minutes to just stop, be silent and be still it's much easier for me to realise that so much of my life is right, perfect in fact, rather than catastrophising about what's wrong.

So, if any of this sounds familiar, I invite you to try this: stop what you're doing and take 10 deep breaths. Really feel the air moving in and out. Look around you and notice what you see, hear, smell, feel and taste. Circle your head and shrug your shoulders. Maybe tell yourself 'there is no rush, I have all the time I need'. How does it feel? Perhaps you could ask yourself what's good about this moment or what you have to be thankful for today.

Another exercise to try in the midst of busyness (which can be physical or mental busyness) is to ask yourself if you could put the brakes on for just 15 minutes right now, what would you do? How about playing with your children, phoning a friend, taking a nap, pampering yourself, lighting some candles, having some fun and being silly, star gazing, going out into the garden, tasting the rain, telling your family how much you love them, doing something creative, dancing? The list is endless! And then challenge yourself to just do it. Not later, not tomorrow, but now! And whatever you decide to do (even if it’s to ignore the challenge), slow down, give it your full attention and notice everything about it.

Happiness is often present in the little things, which we can often miss when we're moving through our lives on turbo charge. Why not insert a pause at regular intervals in your day to get into the mental habit of savouring what's good in each moment?

I'd love to hear about your experiences and whether any of this rings true for you so go ahead and comment below!

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