Madeleine Eames

- Psychotherapist
- Mindfulness Teacher

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In Pursuit of Happiness

 

Good Morning and Good Day,

 

In my work over the years, I have noticed a few things. One is that we seem to be endlessly pursuing happiness, much as a result of a life where we have more leisure time than our ancestors. We can afford to think about these things, and media, particularly social media, fully supports our search. Books with the word ‘Happiness’ have exploded in the market.

 

Interestingly though, our levels of depression and anxiety are on the rise. I’m sure there are many reasons for this, but if it is ‘Happiness’ that we are looking for, have we ever stopped to think about what that means? What is it we are looking for, and how will we know when it arrives?

 

Another thing I have noticed is that it is unique for each person. What gives you happiness, might not be the same for your spouse or friend.

When people look back on their lives, they reminisce mostly about moments of meaning, as opposed to moments of pleasure. In other words, they remember the quality of moments, not the quantity of how much they did, accomplished or the money they made. They focussed on the relationships, the friends they loved, the people they helped, how they contributed to the wellbeing of others. 

So, the elusive Happiness seems to be a state of wellbeing derived from a life of meaning. And a life of meaning is derived from moments of meaning. 

 

There is nothing wrong with pleasure though… we are here to experience it! All the delicious tastes, sights, activities, joyful pursuits that we love. But they are enjoyable, fleeting and have an end that sometimes leaves us grasping for more, which unfortunately is a root cause of unhappiness! 

Meaning lasts, leaving a satisfied sense of wellbeing, a life well-lived.

Happiness is the joy of building a new house. The excitement in designing, choosing and creating a home. 

Meaning is what happens in that house. The joy, the hardships, the relationships, love, laughter and tears. The stuff of life.

Meaning is remembering who we are, what our purpose is. Click To TweetOften it’s not something big and flashy, but quiet, deep and significant. 

 

As I was bike riding with my kids yesterday on Mother’s Day, I loved the outdoors, the forest, the trees, the exercise, the fresh air. It gave me happiness. But what gave me meaning was the quality time with my kids, which these days is getting less frequent. That’s what I will remember.

 

So, as you are looking to live life on purpose, with meaning as opposed to chasing something that never seems to last, it is crucial to think about the following questions. Take out a pencil and paper, or take one question and think about it today:

 

  1.  Who are the friends I love to be around, can’t get enough of?
  2. What were my most joyful experiences, and why?
  3. What were the most meaningful experiences in my life?

 

See what you come up with and you might notice a theme. It’s time to get off the hamster wheel and focus in on moments of meaning. Then, at the end of the day, there will be enough to have lived a life on purpose, not to mention a sense of wellbeing derived from meaning. 

 

It’s time to slow down and see what really resonates with you, along with fleetings moments of pleasure.

 

Find meaningful moments today,

 

Madeleine

 

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