The Pursuit of Happiness – It’s Not What You Think

April 8, 2011

When your mind gets used to being in a state of pursuit, always seeking, always looking for the next thing to make you happy, that becomes a habit of though. Our habitual thoughts form our lives.

If you’re not completely happy with your life, you need to figure out what your unsatisfactory habitual thoughts are, and practice thinking new ones.

Brian Johnson’s quick Philosopher’s Note video had me thinking about this this morning:

 

He speaks about the famous phrase “Pursuit of Happiness.” Turns out that back in the day, when they wrote that into the Constitution, ‘Pursuit’ actually meant something different that what it does today.*

Back in Thomas Jefferson’s day:

the “pursuit of ” something didn’t mean you chased after it, it meant you PRACTICED it. Like the pursuit of medicine. Or the pursuit of law. Or…the pursuit of happiness.

Happiness isn’t some elusive treasure we chase after. It’s a state of being. You can never find it in the future; you can only find it in the now. By practicing being happy. NOW. 🙂

Stop chasing. Start practicing.

 

How?

Accept that there are unhappy times and emotions.

Spend quality time (no cell phones or TV) with friends and family.

Exercise (even 20 minute walks).

List 5 things you’re grateful for every day (or even once a week).

Do less instead of more.

These are all tips from Harvard Happiness Expert Tal Ben-Shahar.

 

Another way to make the pursuit of happiness into a daily practice: check out the iPhone App I helped create, Livifi. Livifi gives you information on WHAT do to to improve you life, it gives you the HOW, and is a tool for forming new habits in integrating all the stuff you read about into your day-to-day life.

 

*To go off on a little tangent/rampage:  Language is a living being.  It is ever-evolving. That means word meanings AND grammatical rules; they are ALWAYS changing, depending on how people are actually using them when speaking. Trying to stop a language from changing is like trying to keep a child from growing. Not gonna work.

 

 

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2 Responses to “The Pursuit of Happiness – It’s Not What You Think”

  1. Shawnté said

    Bingo! Sometimes I’ll catch myself being cranky about something unimportant, so I try to switch my thoughts to something positive, even something simple like, “I’m so happy it’s sunny today!” or “I love it when Eddie rolls over and exposes his fat furry belly for me to pet!” Happiness is an easy “pursuit” if you open yourself up to the small things, methinks 🙂

  2. Tiffanae said

    I am always happy, even when i am sad, because there is always something, numerous things actually, to be thankful for. I step into my back garden and hear the birds and i can’t help but be so grateful…

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