Most of us have been raised to think that in order to be happy we have to change our external world, such as finding what we love, doing what we are passionate about, surrounding ourselves with people whom we love and eliminating the negative people in our life etc. We have been programed to depend on others to gain happiness, instead of recognizing that happiness always comes from within.
What if the happiness we feel deep down inside is all in the mind, not from external circumstances? Now, you may be wondering, "How can this be? This sounds a bit unrealistic, too simplistic to be true." Please don’t brush over this question, because if you can truly understand this, your life will never be the same. The key thing to recognize here is that each of us has been influenced by the notion that in order to be happy we have to change our external world. This is the number one myth that has disabled many of us in our ability to achieve happiness in our life, in an ongoing sustainable way.
“Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.” ~ Omar Khayyam
The truth is, our greatest happiness does not depend on the conditions of life in which chance has placed us. A recent study conducted at Harvard University revealed that 'the human mind is a wandering mind, and a wandering mind is an unhappy mind'. The study discovered that our happiness is indeed highly sensitive to the contents of our moment-to-moment experience. And one of the most powerful predictors of happiness is something we often do without even realizing it: mind-wandering.
Evidently, mind-wandering is a default mode of operation for most of us. Our minds are pervaded, to a remarkable degree, by the non-present, thinking about something other than what we’re doing. We all have had those moments of: I'm here, but I'm not here. We spend a lot of waking hours thinking about what isn’t going on around us, thinking about the things that happened in the past, or might happen in the future, or may never happen at all, and this mind-wandering typically makes us unhappy.
In addition to alerting us to just how much our minds wander, the Harvard University study confirmed that our happiness may have more to do with the contents of our moment-to-moment experiences than with the major conditions of our lives. The study clearly showed that we’re happiest when truly being and focusing on what we’re doing.
According to the study, the particular way we spend our day doesn’t tell much about how happy we are. They revealed that most of us are happiest when our thoughts and actions are perfectly in line with one another, even if it’s a simple task like eating, brushing teeth or getting dressed. Mental presence leads to happiness! One of the first things we need to understand and accept if we want to live a happy life, is that true happiness is a state of mind, a choice, a way of living. It is not determined by what's happening around us, but rather what's happening inside us.
Our happiness is within our control.... We can make a choice to take charge of our wandering mind by workingon being present throughout our day andtraining ourselves to put our full attention on what we’re doing. For example, if we are brushing our teeth and being totally present with the activity of brushing teeth, we will be much happier than if we are brushing our teeth and thinking of our holiday.
The good news for most of us is that happiness is just a mindset away for each one of us. For we have the power to prevent our mind from wandering. To train your mind to wander less, begin by practicing the art of matching your thoughts to your action. It takes practice and dedication, but it can be done!