Creating Lasting Happiness

porch packageWe all know that feeling of euphoria experienced when the delivery truck pulls up at 10 a.m. and the package you have been waiting for, since you placed the order last night, has finally arrived.  It’s like Christmas, except you already know what is in the box, because you are the one who spent hours surfing the web to find the perfect disco ball bike helmet. Now you just hope its fits.  And it does.  The world is beautiful.  You wear the shiny new bike helmet on your first group ride and everyone is a buzz.  The novelty wears off though when you realize that the sun’s reflection off your sparkly showstopper is blinding your fellow riders and so you have been designated to the back for everyone’s safety. Buzzkill.  When you get home, you put the helmet on the shelf where it will collect dust for a few years until you decide you have owned it long enough to take to Goodwill.

Does the above story sound familiar?  I know it does to me and my guess is that it does to you as well.  Don’t get me wrong, it is fun to get new things but what we need to keep in mind, as our finger presses the “place order” button, is that the happiness felt from material things is fleeting.  The invigoration of the experience soon wears off and like an addiction we begin to look for our next hit.

Before you decide to check yourself into a rehab facility for a shopping addiction simply begin to become more mindful about your purchases.  The moment a thought to buy something new arises… pause.  Take a moment to bring awareness to what is happening. Then determine if the purchase is a true need or a need to bring yourself a moment of happiness.  If happiness is what you are looking for, sit with that.  Remind yourself that this type of happiness is not lasting.  It will arrive and then go as quickly as it came.

Instead of continuing to buy myself things I didn’t need I began to focus more of my energies on generosity towards others.  What I discovered was that the happiness attained from giving has a far greater lasting effect then from receiving.   It isn’t an exhilarating, running to the door with excitement kind of happiness.  It is more understated than that.  The happiness I am referring to here is subtle.  It lies quietly just below the surface and never goes away.  Instead, it builds upon itself generating even more happiness.  Like oxygen blowing gently on a flame causing the light within you to shine even brighter.  The energy of this light extends out into the Universe and brings about a positive shift to everyone and everything it touches.

The change begins with each of us. Be mindful. Be generous. Be happy. And breathe.