HAPPINESS ISN‘T A DESTINATION. IT’S RIGHT HERE, AT THIS VERY MOMENT, WITHIN US.

RIKKI MAY – STUDENT SPORT WELFARE OFFICER 

​Sure, for a week or two a year an exotic all-inclusive hotel, or a beautiful country to explore could certainly be happy. Let’s look at our actual reality though here, our day to day lives.

I’ll begin with a hard-hitting quote from Eckhart Tolle, who describes himself as a spiritual teacher and a best selling author. Eckhart’s set of core beliefs surround ‘the power of now’.

“Don’t wait to be successful at some point in the future. Have a successful relationship with the present moment and be fully present in whatever you’re doing. That is success.”

Let’s look deep beneath the surface of how we can interpret happiness in a different way, whilst enjoying simple appreciation in the moment, practising mindfulness to enjoy the elements of our day that we often fail to get lost in. The moments that are overshadowed because we’re looking at the ‘next thing’.

Recently, I’ve found myself continually looking at the ‘next thing’. Counting down to when I’m able to see friends socially in a pub or a restaurant, returning to the gym after lockdown, and taking that walk down the aisle sometime next year (of an aeroplane, on a flight somewhere nice).

Whilst it’s great to look forward to the future, I found I was constantly overlooking what, and who, I had around me in the current moment. This didn’t make me happy. Actually, it made me quite unhappy at times. As you read, this may resonate with you. It’s near on impossible to show gratitude for every small experience that occurs daily with our lives, because after all if it were that simple, we’d be constantly appreciative and permanently happy. The reality is, our minds are so busy with our daily occurrences, commitments and responsibilities, alongside our ruminations of the past and our anxieties of the future.

As we approach the tail end of lockdown, it’s quite fitting to start practising mindfulness and our showing of appreciation for the very moment we’re in. When we resume our ‘regular’ routine, perhaps taking elements we’ve learnt through the self-reflection of lockdown with us (e.g I must slow down a little more), we can put these aspects into play and achieve more inner peace.

WHAT IS MINDFULNESS?

Mindfulness is commonly referred to as a practise of an ability to be fully present in the moment. A practise that has numerous benefits, such as; decreased stress levels and sadness, an increase of your focus levels, accompanied by greater happiness. It allows us to integrate into our daily lives deeper levels of self-awareness and further external awareness for what’s around us too 

How can I practise it, focusing on the NOW, not the past or the future?

These are some examples of how I’ve practised mindfulness recently that you may wish to try.

  • Cycling to the beach, taking a seat and being fully aware of the fresh sea air, the positive vibes from people having fun, acknowledging my own inner peace and levels of relaxation present
  • Taking a bath or shower and playing your favourite podcast on your speakers. Closing your eyes for minutes at a time, breathing slowly and listening to everything, word by word
  • The feeling of finishing your workout – sitting down in the fresh air in the early evening, cooling down, regulating your breathing and acknowledging an inner appreciation for what you’ve just completed as your body feels it’s had a good ‘run out’. With that, your mind feels it’s had a healthy declutter
  • Playing your favourite song – putting your phone down, listening to all of the different rhythms in it, reciting lyrics and feeling the euphoria of choruses and verses, as you have nothing else going on in the room. You’re fully present

​A final thought, in the form of a second quote that’s been echoed by many, from various different fields and professions.

“If you’re depressed, you’re living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.”

We should absolutely reflect and reminisce on our beautiful memories of the past. Self reflection is a pillar of how we enhance our personal growth, learn from mistakes, and assess what we want for the future.

Let’s certainly contemplate the future, show excitement for things and events, and look forward to the challenge and success of our future.

Just as we reflect and eagerly anticipate – it’s paramount that we put our focus towards mindfulness and equally practise inner displays and deep appreciation of our daily enjoyments.

Happiness can be found right here in front of you. It’s right here, at this very moment, within us.

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