What are all the self-development blogs, books, vlogs, talks, methods used for, and why their popularity is still increasing? Why we are so crazy about the constant improvement of ourselves and everything around us? What is this holy grail of self-development? Well, in short, we want to be happy. Yeah, whatever that means. But really, what does it mean?
If you happened to experienced a sudden feeling of fullness, maybe while sitting in a cosy armchair reading a favourite magazine and sipping steaming tea, or while having super tasty lunch with your bestie, or maybe when you’ve forgotten about the whole world while playing with your pet, you might get the point of what real happiness is.
Happiness is not created of super epic stuff like conquering the world. It’s rather like seeing the wonder in every little thing. True happiness resides in the realm of small things.
I’m sure you’ve heard about blue zones determined so by Dan Buettner. In his research, he identified the longevity „hotspots” of the world. The zones are Okinawa in Japan, Sardinia, Nicoya in Costa Rica, Icaria in Greece and the Seventh-day Adventists in Loma Linda, California. People living in these places share not only longevity but also a great sense of happiness. You must be wondering what a great secret lies behind it. Well, the trick is to live simple. People from those places share common lifestyle characteristics. Simplifying we can bring them to a sense of community, balanced diet and awareness of spirituality. Buettner breaks it down to nine following points:
Moderate, regular physical activity
Having a life purpose
Controlling the level of stress
Moderate caloric intake
Moderate alcohol intake
Engagement in spirituality or religion
Engagement in family life and social life
I can almost hear you thinking Is this for real? How the hell this can have such a significant impact on an overall sense of happiness? Well, the answer to this is that happiness is a very simple thing. Simple, but not easy. Like lots of things in our life which are simple, but not easy. Let me break this down for you: if you wanna lose weight you know what to do – you need the right diet and a dose of regular exercise. We can agree that this is simple. But…is it easy? We all know the answer.
Small things lead to great happiness
It seems to me that everything starts in gratitude. Happiness begins when we realize that there are so many things that we should thank the Universe. How do I know? Because this is how I started my path to a better life. And you know what? Gratitude works, bitches.
Think, that there is somebody out there who is happy with less than you have. And think about all things you are grateful for, all the good things that happened to you, all amazing people you’ve met on your way, all chances that were given to you. And also think about all those opportunities and beautiful moments which are yet to come. Do not focus on all the material things you have, they are relevant, but not the most important. Of course, you should be grateful for them too, but turn your attention to what really matters. I’ve been getting rid of excess stuff for some time and I have to say that I feel good about it. I feel lighter. Still have many books, however those I know I won’t read again I donate to libraries. And perfumes, for which I have no excuse. But I won’t buy more. Promise.
My point is I do not own a lot of stuff. But I own lots of love for my boyfriend, my family, my pets and those few friends that I have. I own lots of joy with having a walk in the forest or with a glass of bordeaux in the evening. I own lots of passion for my favourite books, music, movies, art, poems. I own lots of satisfaction with my writing and drawing. I own lots of beautiful memories of great moments and great people. I own lots of hope and faith, and I own an incredible amount of dreams and goals that I know will be fulfilled. It’s so little and so much at the same time.
I think having a goal is the basic driving force of everything.
To be happy you need to have a reason to get out of bed every day. This is another thing that people from the blue zone have in common – they never stop working, in a sense that they have bigger and smaller things to do. Everyday. Think about all those people, not only retirees, who lead aimless living filled at most with the waiting for the next episode of the TV series. Do you think they are happy? Well, how can you be happy being dead inside? Your goal, your mission is something personal, only you decide what it is. There’s no importance hierarchy here. For one it can be changing the world, for others creating something small but satisfying.
We are all here for various reasons and they all are important.