Happiness Archives - Embodied Living

What do you do to be less stressed? Before Covid-19, I used to sit around in coffee shops as regularly as possible. I would sit and watch life pass by, think and daydream – and sometimes write. Having thought about why was drawn to do this, I realised it is part of what I call the broad ‘margin’ that I like in my life. To steal a pinch from Thoreau. At its heart, I think it is all about ‘being’. Certainly being less stressed.

Creating margin

So, I ask myself, what do I do now instead to create this kind of margin in my life where I be less stressed? Two things came to mind. During lockdown I found a new hobby. Carving wood. I carve mostly pendants for jewellery and I find it beautifully consuming in a non-thinking way. I have this piece of wood, which I have found (responsibly) storm-fallen in local woods, which I know somewhat intimately. And out of which emerges something miraculous: perhaps an animal, or a symbol.

When I carve, my mind is quiet. Yes, at times the odd difficult thought emerges, but I let it go. The process of being with the natural element, takes me right back to the wood in which I found it. I can smell the trees, hear the sounds of nature and silence around me. Feel engulfed by the wood. I am not stressed in the this place. In walking with no aim in mind in that wood, I sometimes find interesting pieces to work with. In carving, I kind of have an aim, but the carving emerges, and I am not always in control. I enjoy the whole process because I puts me more into a ‘being’ mode than a ‘doing’ mode. This is a less stressful mode.

Too much time doing

I think we spend too much time ‘doing’. In this mode we are active, starting things, under pressure and a bit wired. We are more likely to be stressed. With this in mind, I watched people when I was out and about today. Coming and going, hurrying and queueing. And as I watched them I thought about the yogic concept of the gunas.  I started to notice which guna was predominant in each person. In the West certainly, we have a culture that encourages, rewards, and shapes us for doing. People often have a posture that mirrors a forward moving. go getting, achieving culture: sway back, knees hyperextended, a tense lateral myofascial line that throws the pelvis out of alignment and head hanging forward off the neck.

Existing or being?

People often simply don’t know how to ‘just be’. And their reactions to feeling stressed or overwhelmed is to do more, to keep themselves busy. Almost like if they stopped, they wouldn’t exist anymore. Of course, when they come to therapy, their body and/or their mind have already begun to ‘breakdown’ in some way. So, as I noticed the older lady behind me, who’s impatience I could feel even before she began trying to push in front of me. Or the stressed looks on shoppers faces busily scanning catalogues, or the harassed mum who quickly gulped down her takeaway coffee and was quickly on to the next task at hand. I could see ‘doing’ was written on the somatic structure of peoples’ faces, posture, body.

How can you ‘be’ more?

So I realise that margin and space is so important to me in my life.I can just ‘be’ in that space. So how can you create this type of margin in your own life? Thoreau himself went into the woods. What will you find that works? Let us know by posting in the comments below so that we can all be inspired!

For me this margin IS life. I have space to ‘be’. Of the gunas, Sattvic is light, space, lucidity, harmony. You can’t buy it or earn it by doing more or trying harder. You have to learn to be and let go of some doing and having. Perhaps this is the hardest lesson of all. Animals can be great teachers in this respect. Spend time with a cat, or a dog, or any animal and they will soon start to teach you!


Enjoyed reading this? Read more about stress here and happiness here.

The coronavirus crisis is forcing us to face something which human beings excel at avoiding. Death is the biggest taboo of them all and one which we spend a lifetime denying.

Many are writing about trauma during the COVID-19 crisis. We are in the midst of a trauma and that trauma is being triggered by many everyday things now. But I believe that what is even more important in our response to this crisis is our unconscious fear of death.

Read the full article on LifeLabs.

Most of the luxuries and many of the so-called comforts of life are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind. ~ Thoreau

I live by Thoreau’s motto: ‘I love a broad margin to my life’. I sort by space! If there’s not enough space I feel stressed which tells me to simplify, simplify!

Why Is space important?

It’s simple: it gives me time to be. It gives me vital time to discover myself, it’s spiritual. Being not doing is my goal in life. From a place of being, we can ‘do’ even more productively and powerfully, perhaps because we are not so attached to outcomes or fruits of the doing. Money becomes less important, we are not so bothered about earning ‘more’ or not having ‘enough’. We have freedom back!!

What do I do with space?

I love Dan Seigel’s ‘7 daily essential mental activities’:
I guess this is what I ‘do’ in that space. Play, meditate, create, yoga, reflect, connect, be. For example I try to spend at least 2 hours a day doing yoga, breath work and meditation and things that I do simply because I enjoy doing them.

How do you simplify to create space?

  1. Have less – for example, I choose to live in a small house, my luxury purchases are generally confined to books (though I only buy what I can read), kayaking and photography kit. I run my two businesses from flexible business units where I can upgrade or downshift month by month, according to demand.
  2. Buy less or buy used, or skill swap with a mate!
  3. Do less – I run one of my businesses with a partner, and let the people I employ work in the business, I try to keep a bigger picture view to keep things on track. And I’m careful about who or what I take on. I still do social media but I limit who or what I follow, I don’t watch TV, I create space in my diary, I actively practice saying ‘no’
  4. I often do Activities that combine play with connecting with down or in time – like kayaking!
  5. Make, grow, cook your own – I eat out less, and therefore eat more healthily (though I can easily spend 2 hours in a coffee shop thinking or writing). I’m mostly vegetarian. I’m taking over part of my dads allotment soon, part of my next wave of simple living.

These are just some ideas for starter. I’m still work in progress but feeling more content and happier than ever.

Happiness is not what you think! Many of us are trying to make ourselves happy in all kinds of ways. We chase love. We are looking to find ‘the one’ – the one person whom we feel will complete us or make our lives fulfilled. Or perhaps we are busy achieving and doing, collecting goals for our c.v. or collecting material possessions so that we feel better. But as long as we are focused on making ourselves happy, there will be unhappiness. We are focused too much on taking or having or doing.Happiness is not what you think! Many of us are trying to make ourselves happy in all kinds of ways. We chase love. We are looking to find ‘the one’ – the one person whom we feel will complete us or make our lives fulfilled. Or perhaps we are busy achieving and doing, collecting goals for our c.v. or collecting material possessions so that we feel better. But as long as we are focused on making ourselves happy, there will be unhappiness. We are focused too much on taking or having or doing.

To be happy we have to forget ourselves. We need to turn away from our self and to make others happy. To put others needs before our own. Hard to do. But joy follows quickly.

The Bhagavad Gita sums this up: “They live in wisdom who see themselves in all and all in them, who have renounced every selfish desire and sense craving tormenting the heart.”

When we learn to see our self in everyone, it’s a lot easier to put them first, before we are really put our self first. I am committed to forgetting myself, as Gandhi said ‘to reduce myself to zero’. And it is only in relationship with others that we can do this. For in those relationships are offered the difficulties and suffering, that we learn and grow. From this we can, if we chose to, learn to loosen our tight grip on our precious self and put others first. It is from giving, serving others and the world, that joy comes; not from having a lot of desires that must be satisfied.

It’s so simple and so hard to get to. Think of your primary intimate relationship. You might think that you love that person, but how much in that relationship is about your expectations of the other person. ‘If you do this, I will do that?’. How much do we expect the other person to conform to our needs and wants? Tender, truly loving relationships are full of joy and even the route to spiritual growth. Yet millions of us are competitive, individualistic and out for number one. Rare is the person who bends and gives their self to others.But even if one person in our office, home or family is like this, they bring a little heaven into our lives.

But selfless love does not mean saying yes all the time, being a ‘nice’ person. Often this is a signifier of a people pleaser , they are coming from a need to be liked. Being selfless often shows itself in an inward toughness, that enables such people to say no, have firm boundaries around attitudes, actions or desires of others that will be damaging somehow.

And what about our purpose in life? True joy in life comes from having an overriding goal, a calling, that is a mighty one. Bigger than you, serving something or someone. When I lose myself in the happiness of those close to me, around me, I am full of an inner power or glow. That is attractive, and it brings joy, and I thriveThis selfless type of service also benefits us. It’s about karma. Whatever mistakes we have made in our life, selfless service clears out their karmic influence, reducing the size of our ego and bringing us more into unity with life and the divine.

But we have to be in the midst of people, in relationship to do this. After all the most difficult thing in the world are other people. And others are our great teachers. Especially those who we find difficult or challenging in some way. What a great gift they are, clearing us out for some new delight! Rounding our personality and helping us to grow in every way. As the Buddha would say, don’t ask how much you can get, ask how much you can give, in every way possible; in the office, at home, in the kitchen, everywhere.

I am trying to follow this method for a while. I often fail. I sometimes hurt someone. But I pick myself up, dust myself off again (and repeat my mantra) and endeavour to keep trying. As a result I am noticing that I have more energy because I am not trying to compete with people any more, I try to complete them.

“Everyone must believe in something. I believe I’ll go canoeing.” Thoreau

It seems that I am in good company with my love of kayaking. Jeff Brown, Henry David Thoreau, Ray Mears all appreciate the power of this activity. After waking up today feeling down, I heard a little voice inside telling me I needed to go kayaking (a river and a canal run round the back of the housing estate I live on). After an hour or so on the water I felt so much better – energised, settled and ready for a productive day. I started to wonder what paddling can teach us about life and even business.

The six steps to power, freedom and joy (that I learnt through kayaking):

Seize the day

Waking up and spontaneously deciding, ‘whatever, I have got on today I can find time for this’ gives us a tremendous freedom and sense of control. We learn to play again. It takes some courage and it builds boldness and a sense of empowerment.

Socialise with like minded people

Too much of our time and energy can be spent with people with whom we are not well matched or who don’t enhance our life. I believe we need to actively choose who we spend our time, and our life with; because being in relationship with other people helps us to develop and enhance our self. Often those people can be very different to us but share a love of similar activities (actually I find it better if this is the case, but we often play it ‘safe’ by preferring people who are like us).

Simplicity is powerful

All we are is energy. Complicated depletes, robs us of our energy. Keep it simple and you will feel energised and motivated. Whether this is your business, your to do list, your yoga practice, your food or sex or just about anything. Strip life down to its bare essentials and you will be more of you!

Slow down and time expands

Time is relative. Stress is experienced when we have speeded up on the inside – we are ‘wired’ . When we slow down intentionally, we can expand (in our physiology and psyche) into that space created and experience a powerful state of ‘energised relaxation’, where we are focused, and simultaneously more productive and creative.

Serenity – make time for peace

Being with your self, and/or with nature, can be the most precious time spent. It gives us time with our thoughts, feelings and sensations allowing us to integrate and ‘digest’ experiences and bring more peace into our life.

Steadiness – take the rough with the smooth

It’s not what happens to us, its how we react to what happens to us (in our thoughts, emotions and feelings) that is the problem. The sun comes out, the clouds come down and it rains. It is calm and still, then the wind comes and the waves buffet us about. We CAN learn to ‘be with’ whatever comes, and not react to it, not get disturbed by it; then we start to see life differently and more energy to achieve whatever we want to achieve.

According to a 2017 article in The Independent we are happiest in our 50s, the ‘nifty 50s’ they call it.

It seems the over-50’s are happier, wealthier and more carefree than they ever have been. Personally I think that ‘wealth’ has a part to play, financial freedom can contribute much towards this chimerical notion of happiness.

The survey, which did look at 50,000 people, attributed the happiness of the over 50s to their taking up new hobbies, travelling and having a gratifying sex life. Which might explain why they also felt 10 years younger than their actual age.

The common theme was that they seemed to be having more time for personal/leisure activities.

Yet in 2015 the Daily Mail reckoned we make a turning point in our happiness at the age of 34. At this age, according to the research quoted in that article, we are happy because we got married, had kids, and made it in our careers. The research surveyed 2,000 people over 40, so the ‘happiness’ in question was based on people reflecting back on their life looking at moments in time. So, in many ways, the whole methodology of the research may have been different to the 2017 survey, and contributed to defining a certain concept of ‘happiness’. Either that or a lot has changed in two years!

But let’s think again about the concept of ‘happiness’. For happiness is a state, it is about peak moments in time, and by very definition it fluctuates, and does not last. Happiness is about having, it is about what we can gain and therefore is not sustainable. Personally, I don’t think it is something to which we should be setting our sights.

The very word ‘happiness’ is a subjective concept, dependent on having (something or someone) and is not sustainable . If you look in some of the readers’ comments on the earlier Daily Mail piece, this is outlined beautifully. For example:

nugget80, Hemel Hempstead, United Kingdom: “Have to say I’m way happier in my thirties than I was previously. Something to do with meeting my perfect man (after being married and divorced in early twenties) graduating from uni and getting my dream job, buying the house I’ve lived in for 13 years and going back to tbe baby years with my youngest who is now 3. Wouldn’t want to pinpoint a year but I will be 35 in 3 weeks and I wouldn’t change a thing in ny life.”

Elle, Dublin: “We’re a little smug, aren’t we? Enjoy it while it lasts because life has a habit of shaking us up just as we think we are getting comfortable. And a lot can happen in 3 weeks.”

What we have makes us happy, and what we have, inevitably, will not last. People leave us or die, children let us down or leave home, houses are repossessed, jobs are made redundant. And what about those of us who don’t have kids, haven’t made it in our careers or are single? Is there no hope for happiness?

There are practical ways of becoming happy. Neuroscience shows us that the emotion of happiness resides in the limbic system in the left hemisphere of our brain (the left pre-frontal cortex). So if we do things that stimulate this side of the brain, we can stimulate the emotion of happiness: change our thinking to be more positive; do mindfulness practices such as yoga and meditation; have fun and social interaction; enjoy pleasurable activities doing something to lose ourselves in the moment, spending time with loved ones, celebrating and appreciating accomplishment, pursuing meaning in its many forms; physical exercise.

But I want to introduce a more sustainable concept, that of contentment. Contentment is a more continuous state, a state of being, rather than a peak experience or moment in time.

As Diogenes said: “People have the most, when they are most content with the least.”

Well blow me down. This seems to be the opposite of happiness! How come?

I have worked with over a hundred people over a thousand hours, with problems including anxiety, depression, trauma, fatigue, low self esteem, OCD and from all walks of life from the unemployed, to managing directors, housewives and high flying lawyers or policemen. When I ask them what they want, they often say ‘to be happy’ but then I ask them “for what purpose happiness, what does your being happy achieve for you, in your life”, their answers are consistent: I am me; I am whole; I am the real potential me; I am complete, balanced, whole; I am John, without boasting or apology, I am just me; I am accepting of all parts of me.

Perhaps its time to re-evaluate what happiness means in our life? It’s a shame we don’t learn this in school, but it is never too late.

Our bodies know more about our happiness and the things that have happened to us in our lives than our conscious minds are aware of. Pesso Boyden system psychotherapy can help you tap into this wisdom.

The body holds the negative

We may notice tension or tightness, and have no awareness of what’s triggered it. Our faces and other areas of our body hold onto negative experiences and emotions. Without knowing it our expression may show a subtle sadness, anger or fear. Certain areas of our bodies are more highly enervated than others: in particular the face (eyes, jaw, and throat), hands, abdomen (diaphragm), feet, and pelvic area. They are very quick to tense up and slow to release.

Emotional tension at its root

All physical tension has emotional tension at its root. We think of someone who upset us and our jaw tenses, we see a place where we were once unhappy and lonely and our throat tenses around a lump, we might smell something that takes us back to a fearful situation and our stomach feels like a knot. The trouble is, we are often not consciously aware of the link between the sense and the emotional reaction. So we are left stuck or consumed with the emotional reaction.

Feeling helpless

This isn’t a problem if the emotions are positive or transcendent; such as love, joy, or awe. But when the cycle is negative we are left dis-empowered: which builds on the sense of shame. For example, two friends of mine recently went for a walk around some gardens, it was sunny and warm and the two friends were chatting and enjoying themselves. They walked past a gardener watering a bloom of pink roses, they saw the man carefully tending to the flowers and smelt the strong smell of the roses. As they continued the one lady felt elated, and joyful, yet her friend started to feel inexplicably sad and a little anxious.

These two had done a lot of self-development work and got interested in what was going on for themselves. When they got back they talked about this and one friend realised that seeing the gardener had reminded her of her childhood and her father in their garden when she was a child, a very happy time for her. The other lady realised that the smell of pink roses and the blooms reminded her of when her first husband told her he was leaving her for another woman, he had taken the opportunity on a walk in the local park. She remembered the incredible sadness and fear she felt on hearing this from a man she still loved.

Lack of awareness

For many of us, we have no awareness of the processes, and the sadness or the fear may stay with us for a while; it seems to come over us for no reason. Deepening our sense of shame, perhaps.

Sometimes our bodies speak to us by way of persistent headaches, sleeplessness, stomach disorders, numbness or a constantly tense muscle that gives us pain somewhere. Our bodies are reacting to unconsciously re-remembered past experiences that we haven’t fully processed and are loaded with negative emotions such as anger, shame and guilt. In an attempt to self-soothe these painful emotions (and even to continue to repress them) we often turn to compulsive eating or drinking patterns which aren’t the best for us in the long term.

Learning to develop awareness

If we can learn to increase our awareness of what our minds are processing and what our bodies are ‘telling’ us in the moment to moment wisdom of the felt sense inside, we can begin to have more choice about how we react to it. We can even begin to understand what it is that our bodies are re-remembering. It is because the origins are usually traced back to unresolved early memories (before the age of 7) that we get stuck. Not necessarily because the memories are terrible or traumatic. But because at that age our brain has only developed to the second level of its three part structure: the most important ‘processing’ part of our brain hasn’t yet come on line. The cortical brain only starts development around the age of 7 years and is only fully developed into our late teens or older.

Infantile neurology

So if little 4 year old Charlie has a fight with his older sister who is teasing and being mean to him and is provoked into a tantrum and hits her with a plastic track, his mum smacks him so hard he cries and he is sent to his room for a couple of hours. He doesn’t fully understand that the punishment he gets is for his behaviour.

He fails to take away a message that anger and aggression are natural little boy reactions; yet need to be contained in a loving and accepting way by sensitive parents who don’t have their own issues with anger. He internalises a sense that he is a ‘bad boy’: along with the guilt and fear that are linked to the anger.

Adult consequences

And this belief impacts on adult Charlie who is now afraid of his own anger, squashes it, becomes the nice guy desperate to please everyone (it appeases the guilt). Doesn’t do conflict and lacks assertiveness in relationships (fears the ‘consequences’ if he stands up for himself so tends to be walked over), yet has rare moments when he completely loses it, leaving him bewildered and scared.

Pesso Boyden system psychotherapy and healing

If we can take Charlie’s 49 yr old adult brain back to the event at 4 his, now online, cortical ‘executive’ functions can make meaning to resolve the event and when that happens the negative beliefs and emotions are resolved. And Charlie is free, he has more choice in how he reacts and behaves. Hereby the wisdom of the body through the ‘felt sense’ informs the higher functions of the cortical brain, new meanings are made and Charlie is free from past patternings. In a way, Charlie’s brain has been ‘rewired’.

Many of us may not get much in the way of difficult symptoms but we remain unaware of what wisdom is held in our bodies. If we could learn how to bring this to the surface and process things it will enrich our lives.

Pesso Boyden therapy workshops

Sue is running half day experiential workshops designed to help us look at what our bodies can tell us about ourselves. The aim is to raise insight and self-awareness. In a small, safe groups (6-8 people) we’ll use some gentle and powerful Pesso Boyden experiential activities to look at what surfaces from our bodies and what meaning we make in the world.

Read more about PBSP here.

Find out more about our PBSP modality here



Many of us, from time to time, question who we really are. We may have moments where we feel we are truly being our ‘self’ and other times where we sense we are putting on a mask or a front. Pesso Boyden System psychotherapy (PBSP) will help you become more true to our self and feel less anxiety and more pleasure and peace in your life.

We hold onto the past

Yet we hold on to feelings and experiences from our past that that limit us. If we can begin to understand that our current reality is woven from the fabric of our past experiences we can realise that we are often ‘trapped’ in living according to an old map. But what if we want to change and truly move forward in our lives?

Pain rather than pleasure as default experience

Many people experience pain rather than pleasure. Frustration instead of satisfaction. Despair as opposed to meaning and alienation not connectedness. Yet all of us in this existence can get to enjoy the bliss and joy of living.

Experience the bliss of living

This is far more accessible to those who have been reared by and have lived according to the demands of our genetic nature where we had our complex developmental needs met at every stage by sensitive and ‘good enough’ parents. Those lucky few! But what of the rest of us? How do we change our minds? This body-based psychotherapy, is one of the most profound personal development modalities you might experience to change your life and become who you truly are.

Here are some key principles of Pesso Boyden body-based psychotherapy for personal development

The Basic Needs

We have five basic needs that are part of our ‘genetic drivers’ or our human operating system. And these needs have to be met in childhood by good enough parenting.

The needs are for:

  • Nurture
  • Support
  • Protection
  • Limits
  • Place

These basic needs have to be met first of all physically in the first 5 years or so of life, then symbolically from years 6 to 10 or so and then we are able to do it for ourselves (we learn this in our teens) and be an autonomous independent adult being. It goes without saying, that all of us, to some degree or other, have gaps in these basic needs.


Our ‘memories’ consist of a combination of energy (emotions are energy), which leads to action (the aggressive behaviour that comes from the energy of say, anger) and the interaction that results from that (perhaps blame or punishment) and then the resulting meaning that we make of that (anger is bad, therefore I am bad). The negative or traumatic experiences create the old map that we become trapped in and are bound to repeat. Take the numerous men and women who consistently choose abusive partners. Strangely this ‘choice’ of relationship ends up seeing people repeating past traumas in an unconscious attempt to find a solution and an end to it. Whoever we choose as our partner, they will never be able to fulfil basic needs that weren’t met in our childhood, they are never going to be the mummy or daddy that we so desperately wanted to please or satisfy us. Yet we are locked into a constant quest to have these deep needs satisfied.


The mind is often thought to be in the brain but do you realise that we have a brain in the body? The very definition of consciousness is the microtracking of the moment by moment experiences coming from our senses in the here and now. As Damasio says, consciousness itself is the ‘feeling of what happens’. The feeling experiences of our bodies is the definition of consciousness, but we need to become aware or conscious of this felt sense in order to take control of the glorious human show that is uniquely ‘me’. In the Pesso system we say that we need to awaken the observing, executive part of the ego that has the overview of consciousness (the pilot) and which can run the show in a way that gives us more pleasure and fulfilment in life. When you properly learn the ability to microtrack your inner experience states, you come into contact with who you really are in this moment, who you have been for some years. You come home to yourself.


Who has watched a terribly angry or upset child having a full-blown tantrum turn from being red in the face to almost blue? They need an adult to hold them to help them recover and regulate their high arousal levels: in this contact they get limits. As an adult the person will then have an embodied sense of what it is like to have been held lovingly in a state of high emotional arousal and to trust that emotions like anger or aggression can contained, and are not ‘unlimited’. And ‘good enough’ parents will later teach that boy to express his feelings in words. But if the child has the opposite experience and is punished or blamed for the expression of emotions, instead of being lovingly limited he will have a less healthy relationship with his emotions. Having this experience of ‘loving limits’ in childhood can help people to feel their power and to trust that they can handle it, thereby trusting themselves more.

These principles are some of the foundations from Pesso Boyden system psychomotor and many of them are common sense or somehow intuitive to us. I will write more about the basic needs and our human operating system in another blog.

Read more about PSBP psychotherapy


The time of the year in which most people are happiest is summer, because of the brighter blue skies, warmer temperatures and longer days.

Back in 2015, nearly 150 adults aged 18 to 74 participated in a revealing study, which asked them to reflect on their own personal happiness over the course of the seasons and looked at times of the year when they were happier. Results showed that January and February were the least happy whilst summer months shot straight to the top of the scale.

Just over half of all respondents identified the clocks going forward as a factor in their experience of happiness, whilst two thirds identified brighter skies.

The survey also looked at what activities people find effective in cheering themselves up when they feel a bit down or unhappy:

  • – For men: having sex with their partner was top, closely following by vigorous physical exercise.
  • – For women: going for a walk, chatting with friends or family, as well as listening to cheerful music or playing with a pet were most effective.

Both men and women rated reflecting on the good things in life, making a conscious effort to stop feeling unhappy and try to feel positive as well as setting realistic goals and planning ahead as effective in cheering themselves up.

Overall, 87 percent of people said that they were their happy times of the year, and this was closely associated with the quality of the light in spring and summer.

Sue says: “It makes sense that we feel happier in spring and summer. Whilst most people agree these are the happiest times of the year, it’s noticeable that people aged 55 to 64 don’t agree with this. This suggests that, as we get older our sense of happiness comes more from within.”

When it comes to what people can do to cheer themselves up, clearly sex is very important to men, who perhaps tend to be more comfortable expressing themselves and having their needs met physically rather than verbally. Both men and women said that, for them, consciously trying to be positive, and tactics such as: “appreciating the good things”, “focussing on feeling positive” and “setting goals” could be effective.

Happiness is transient: the sun doesn’t shine all the time. But looking within ourselves can be a strategy to find lasting happiness.

This blog has been taken from a 2015 survey, which was conducted by Embodied Living (parent company of Embodied Counselling) assisted by research specialist, AR Consulting.

As humans, we make choices every day. Some of those increase our happiness. Others seem to defy logic and go against our wishes.

Life doesn’t always go the way we want

Our lives don’t always look the way we want them to. Perhaps we find ourselves spending days in a job we hate when we would rather be travelling the world in warmer climates. Maybe we feel stuck in a loveless marriage. Sometimes we might feel lonely and wish we had more friends. Or we might hate the pressures and stress of our life.

The way you feel

The way we feel about ourselves and how much we can open up to new people and experiences, how often we choose to smile because it feels good – none of these need to depend on your life situation.

Your happiness should not depend on your external circumstances… you always have a choice. If it isn’t so easy to change your external circumstances, you have a choice about your reactions to it.

Here are some tips to consider that will help you have more choice regardless of your life situation

  1. Enjoy the present moment – If you wait for tomorrow for change to happen, the odds are you will do the same things as you have always done. Develop the ability to see what is in front of you and what you actually have. Look to appreciate what you can be grateful for in your life instead of comparing yourself to others (there will always be someone who is better looking, has more money, a more interesting job etc) or wishing for what you haven’t got. Remember happiness is a moment by moment choice, one that many have hard time making
  2. Remember to dream – It is great to give yourself permission to dream, this can be key to living a meaningful life. Of course we need a good dose of realism too. This can provide the motivation which will have a substantial impact on your health and future happiness.
  3. Notice and appreciate the small things – Even if you are in the place you want to be, you will still experience life’s highs and lows. If you haven’t learned to enjoy the little things, your well-being will parallel your life’s circumstances. Every time something goes wrong you will feel deeply unhappy. Think about the things that give you joy. Again, focus on the present, no matter what changes; you’ll have a variety of simple pleasures to help you through.

Happiness is about how you interpret what is in front of you. How proud you are of the way you live your life. How willing you are to enjoy the simple pleasures, even if everything isn’t perfect.

More on happiness

Read more about happiness on other blogs on my site