There’s always something to do right? Everyday something new comes along to take up your energies. You have a huge list of tasks to do and you say to yourself that once these are done, then you will do the things that bring you pleasure. How often has it happened that you never quite get around to the fun activity you’d planned for yourself, once the boring stuff was done? You ended up running out of time, or were too tired, or you decided that you didn’t deserve it after all.
It’s very easy to put off happiness. It can be done on a daily basis as described above. It can also happen when you live for Friday nights, the weekend, your vacation or perhaps even retirement. I’ll work hard now, happiness can come later on. Happiness is not some fixed entity that comes with a certain time of life. It is something we can inject into our daily lives, provided we make the effort. Research has shown that even lotto winners’ happiness settles back down after the initial jubilation. Putting off happiness can impact on your health, stress levels and even your relationships.
It is important to recognise that having the belief that what you are striving for will make you happy and that’s the end of the story, is a problem. People get used to their achievements. For example, the person constantly striving for a promotion will tell themselves that the next promotion will make them happy. They are unable to enjoy the here and now and be grateful for what they have already achieved. This idea is known as the hedonic treadmill, where we continue to strive for more as we adapt to what we have accomplished. This is essentially preventing us from being happy, right now. You will be happy initially but it is not lasting happiness.
So what should you do? Well you could change your life completely. Perhaps move out of the city or change your job, but you don’t have to. It is possible to make small changes to keep your life in check. After all it is about getting happy moments on a regular basis and you only need a few minutes a day. Fill your life with small, positive experiences. One way is to attend fully to the task at hand, whether it is your evening meal or reading an email.
Find time each day to have time for yourself, even if it is just ten minutes. Perhaps consider how you use your lunch hour. Use this as a chance to unwind, rather than working on through. Also make the time to do things with your family, friends and partner. Remember to make it sooner rather than later and do things you all enjoy.
Remember, being happy right now does not mean you cannot go for promotions or plan vacations. However, when working on a goal make sure you appreciate the journey. Enjoy your planning and anticipating, but also take pleasure in what is happening right now for you.