By Ashley Smith
Happiness and Inspiration sometimes feels fleeting. With the stress of life, all our commitments, and the glaring negativity of the nightly news, happiness isn’t always the emotion that we are so easily or willing to embrace. Maybe we’re looking for more—that is, more stuff, more money, just more of everything. But happiness isn’t tied to our possessions or who we love. Happiness in so many ways is a conscious choice. So embrace it.
In Buddhism, there is the belief that “life is suffering.” And, according to Buddhism, suffering is tied to attachments. True happiness, then, comes when we let go of our attachments and when we stop tying our happiness to stuff and people. And just live life appreciating all the beauty around us and embracing the gift that is the breath we take.
Letting go of attachments isn’t easy. We all have attachments. But the easiest way to ‘get happy’ is to try to focus less on these material things and to stop believing that things and people are the only guideways to happiness and contentment.
More isn’t better. More friends don’t mean more happiness. More money makes life easier, but not always. The grass is not greener on the other side. Embrace who you are, your strengths and all the joy in your life. Stop and smell the roses. And glance at the weeds, because, yes, they matter too.
Appreciating the little things in life means embracing mindfulness. One of the easiest exercises to help embrace mindfulness is through a meditation practice. Choose a quiet spot to sit alone. Inhale through the nose and exhale through your mouth. Just concentrate on the rhythm of your breath, and try to clear your head. Allow the worries and stress to exit your mind through each breath.
Some people use crystals as a source of spiritual energy and believe that each unique crystal holds certain energies that may help direct us. While there is no scientific evidence of this, sometimes using a crystal or smooth rock as a touchstone can help soothe your worries. Look for stones that have a thumbprint, and rub the stone when you’re feeling anxious. Some call this a fidget stone or a worry stone. If using a touch stone helps soothe your mind and embrace happiness, then grab those stones! Choose a crystal or stone that showcases your favorite color or one that is symbolic of your birth month.
Exercise helps us feel happy and energized, and yoga combines physical activity with an aspect of spirituality. Yoga has its roots in Hinduism. According to the Hindu American Foundation, the Svetasvatara Upanishad states that “just as a mirror shines brightly after it has been cleaned, so does the yogi who has realized the true nature of his soul becomes integrated as one in his body, attains sense of fulfillment and remains free from sorrow.” For beginner yogis, look for classes at local recreation or fitness centers. Of course, private studios might also offer basic instruction for beginners. While there are many yoga videos online, classes are often best to help understand and learn the poses properly.
Exercise keeps our bodies healthy and also may help quiet our minds. However, fitness comes in many forms. You don’t have to head to a gym or jump into a heavy routine; walking is a great introduction to a regular fitness lifestyle. Before you begin any new routine, though, talk to your doctor about recommendations. If you have health concerns (like heart issues, bad knees, etc.), your doctor is the best resource for safe fitness activities. You also should consult a doctor if you feel depressed or may be exhibiting signs of depression.
While happiness feels like an effort on our most stressful days, you can embrace lifestyle habits that help you find happiness and embrace the positive. Meditation practices may help you live more mindfully and may help you focus on daily blessings. Yoga and a healthy fitness routine also may help guide you to a happier state of mind. Remember, though, that happiness is not about our stuff or even our friends. These things may contribute to blissful feelings, but, ultimately, they are not the definition of true happiness.
Happiness and inspiration don’t have to feel fleeting. Sometimes, all it takes is some good reading to renew your vigor or a quick jaunt across the world. Visit our blog to accomplish the former, and our list of retreats for the latter 🙂 <3