Happiness through the present moment
Instead, I sat there for forty-five minutes. I noticed my phone across the room, and instead of getting up to get it (always a risky choice, when you don’t know how quickly the doc is arriving), I started meditating. I won’t lie to you and claim that I meditated for forty-five whole minutes, but I did for a long while. Then I looked around, read the diplomas on the wall, meditated some more, and finally, the doctor walked in.
I won’t tell you that I was euphoric in this waiting period, but I was content. I was grounded, unbothered, using my tools, and I didn’t feel like a slave to my short attention span. I realized, after the fact, that that moment felt really good. Happiness in the present moment—contentment in my body and in my mind, free of distractions.
We build up to this. I can access this from a few years of practicing meditation (and man is it not always very pretty), but it’s truly one of the simplest, least expensive, accessible tools we have in our toolbox. For calming our nervous system, for strengthening and mastering our mind, and turns out, even for finding happiness.
As we conclude this module on happiness, consider which tools for increasing your happiness feel most relevant and accessible to you. Perhaps you’re a fitness enthusiast, and the thought of upping your mood through exercise appeals to you immensely. Perhaps you’ve dipped your toes into mindfulness, and the thought of present-moment happiness feels good. Maybe you know that your happy place is rooted in connection, and you find happiness through time with loved ones.
Whatever it is, do more of it. (And I’ll bet you find yourself doing less drinking, as a result.)
Diener, E. (2000). Subjective well-being: The science of happiness and a proposal for a national index. American Psychologist, 55(1), 34-43.
Harris, S. (2014). Waking up: A guide to spirituality without religion. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster.