This past January, we both attended a seminar on the components that contribute to happiness. As we listened to the participants’ voice their beliefs, one person said, “I thought I would be happy when I bought my first Mercedes. Then I thought I would be happy when I bought my ideal house. After that, I thought I would be happy when I took that glamorous Chief Editors job traveling the world in first class for the news desk. But after each one of these acquisitions, I was on to the next purchase or thing! I kept saying, I’ll be happy when….” Other attendees commented a similar reaction. Most stated that they thought happiness would occur and last when they received that new big screen TV, that next promotion, or that new office. The overall prominent remark was that none of these acquisitions or profile changes truly lasted in happiness for the individual.
What does lead to lasting happiness? It can be vastly different for each of us. From a recent study by the assistant professor of psychology at San Francisco State University, Ryan Howell presented his results at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology’s annual meeting. The study had participants answer questions about a recent purchase, either material or experiential, that they had made in the last three months with the express intent of making themselves happy. While most were generally happy with the purchase, those who wrote about experiences tended to show higher fulfillment after the experience had passed. The experiences led to more happiness than did object purchases. Professor Howell said, “When people spend money on life experiences, whether they take someone with them or buy an extra ticket, most of our life experiences involve other individuals.” Consequently, he found that people were fulfilling their need for social bonding while living through those experiences. During the experience event, they developed a sense of relation to each other. Getting closer to friends and family may be the reason why experiences generate more lasting happiness. Folks can relive the memories of those experiences many times over, in any of chapter of their lives. Let’s be happy now.
What can you do to release yourself from the endless cycle of I’ll be happy when? Try some of these:
• Be mindful of the very moment you are in. Try putting down the Blackberry or pager. Release the future to the future, let history be in the past; and, deliberately focus on the present. Change your body posture when necessary so that your breathing can fill your lungs & physical being with a rush of awareness of what is being said, your physical surroundings, even the true appreciation of the loyal love of a pet. Poor breathing robs essential energy and negatively affects your mental alertness. Qigong & Riki exercises both utilize breathing techniques renewing your ‘bio-fields’ for a vital life force.

Let’s Be Happy Now

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