Being happy just by being

This week I had the happiest day of my life.
I didn’t receive any good news.
I didn’t win anything.
I didn’t get any gifts.
Nothing special happened.
But I had the happiest day of my life.

I started the day as always with gratitude, meditation and sports.

I decided to spend the day mindfully, by being in the moment, being fully aware of my body, my mind, my thoughts, my feelings and my surroundings.

Even though I would arrive later than I wanted to, I decided to walk to work. I didn’t want to miss a sunny day.

I breathed in the cool air deeply. The wind was caressing me. My eyes were experiencing heaven on earth. Green, yellow, pink, red, brown, orange leaves of the trees lining up on both sides of the road took my breath away. My heart beat as if I had a crush on someone. The sound leaves made as I walked was a playful music to my ears. I arrived my workplace feeling live energy all over my body.

I started working with great happiness. But by time I drifted away from that great happiness. There were tasks I was struggling with. Especially with one I struggled very much, I became hopeless and started making negative judgements about the development of this task and myself. Then also I got a meeting invitation from my manager saying ” We need to talk face to face about this topic”. I started writing scenarios in my mind, I thought my manager will now justify my negative judgements. I got even more upset. Then I remembered to pause. I said “Stop” to myself with affection, I paused and had a look at my feelings.

These days I am trying to pause as soon as I realize that I making negative judgements about myself.  Negative judgments have no benefits. I can only be happy, successful, whatever I want to be if only I cooperate with myself, if I take my side. This is something I am learning lately. All I knew was I could improve myself by evaluating myself critically. I had internalized being critical by being against myself, by correcting, disciplining myself after listing everything I find wrong about myself. I now understand that was hurting me in the long-term. So now whenever I feel I start with negative judgments, I pause and work on the feeling with affection.-

I paused. I  thought about what I was believing in, what I was thinking. I was thinking “This thing is going to be a big problem, I will not be able to handle it. I will have a lot of stress, I will struggle very much, I will be humiliated.”. These thoughts were making me feel small, weak, lacking. But I couldn’t know if those thoughts were true. I was just “fortunetelling” and writing a scenario.  It was impossible to know the future. I couldn’t know for sure I would struggle very much and I couldn’t handle it. I had handled many things before. I could very well handle this as well. Why was I reaching for this thought automatically even though it made me feel so bad? Because this thought was preparing me for the worst, it was turning uncertainty – although it was painful – to a certainty. But I understood it was not helping me so I let go of this thought. I couldn’t know the future but I would do my best and trust that it would all turn out alright.

Organizing my thoughts gave my back my peace and I continued working. At the meeting with my manager I let him speak first and tell me why he wanted that meeting. He said he couldn’t follow-up the topic and wanted to inform himself by getting a status report from me. There was nothing for me to get scared! But if I had fallen victim to my fears, my future projections, my judgments, maybe I would have started speaking and made a defending / attacking speech which in t zrn would have created a problem that had not existed. But it went smoothly. I told him what I knew and what I did with confidence and joy. It turned out to be a very effective and engaging meeting and I became again very happy.

I had my lunch with mindfulness like a feast. I inhaled the smell of the food. I became aware of the quantity of my bite each bite. Then I rolled the food around in my mouth and became aware of its state, the fluids, the particles…I became aware of the changes of taste and physical state of the food as I chewed. I heard  to the sound it made. I thought about the food’s motion in my body after I swallowed it. I tried to feel how much space it occupied in my stomach. After I finished eating I felt the happy fullness feeling and imagined all the good the food did to my body, how it mended my cells, how it made me stronger. The meal made me even happier.

After lunch I gained momentum and completed my tasks easily and happily. I walked home. It got darker and cooler outside. The cool weather made me feel alive. When I arrived home, I felt grateful that I had a place and time to rest. I enjoyed the time with the family. I tidied up a bit and read a bit. I went to bad with happiness.

An ordinary day became my happiest day because I spent it mindfully. I could reach out and bring the happiness inside me, in my nature. When this happiness was blocked by fears and distorted cognitions; I paused and became aware of these blockages, these thoughts. Then evaluated each of them one by one, understood the function of these thoughts with affection and then let them go. And so I found the happiness in my nature.

How difficult days we go through, we all carry within us the capacity to be happy. The following help me to realize this capacity, maybe they help you too:

  1. Opening my senses
    When I open my senses I realize the pure beauty in life and the joy the little things give, Colors, smells, shapes, states… The variety in the nature, the feelings of other beings, our similarities, our differences…
  2. Living mindfully 
    I became aware of my joys and my struggles as I live mindfully. I can get so much satisfaction out of an ordinary dinner. I can go deep to the root of my struggles, realize the reasons, solve the problems or find a way to live with them without tearing myself apart.
  3. Pausing
    When all is too much or Fight-or-Flight response sets in, I pause. I take a couple of deep breaths. During these breaths everything is as it should be, I don’t have to do anything, I don’t have to decide, I just am, I am where I should be. Everything is as it should be. This feeling helps me to get out of the fight-or-flight response and see the reasons beneath my feelings.
  4. Showing affection to myself and letting the distorted cognition go 
    When I pause, I am already half way there of solving the problem. I first ask myself the following question: “What do I believe right now?”. (In the example from my work problem I had believed that I couldn’t handle it.) Then I ask “Is this belief true?” and see the distortion. “How does it feel like to live with this belief?” I ask. I realize the negative feelings (feeling not enough, weak, small, invaluable, unsuccessful etc.) and show affection to myself. “Why do I automatically hold on to this belief?” I ask and find the benefit of this negative belief (It was saving me from uncertainty and wasted effort in the example). I think “How would I be, how would my life be if I didn’t have this belief?” I imagine how confident, happy, successful I would be. After seeing that the benefit of this belief isn’t actually a benefit I want and not having this belief helps me to be as I want to be, it is easier for me to let go off the belief and make the first step despite the belief“ and this first step makes me feel amazing.
  5. Gratitude
    When I wake up, I start with feeling grateful for being alive and healthy. If I feel sad or blue, I make a list of things I am grateful for. After realizing how long the list is I start feeling better.

What do you think? What do you do for your happiness? Is there something you can start implementing from this post?

With love,