For this blog, I previously wrote about ‘the power of attention’. A brief reminder: researchers from Harvard University asked over 2,200 people how happy they were. The respondents had to report what they were doing at different times. That was linked to the level of happiness they experienced at that moment. The remarkable conclusion: regardless of the type of activity – whether it be shopping, working, eating, sex – it was the degree of attention that determined the 'sense of happiness'. The more attention to the moment, the greater the happiness.
Therefore, experiencing happiness is largely to do with attention. And that is precisely what is so difficult in modern society. E-mails, apps, tweets, likes or comments: the digital consumer is being constantly pricked with all kinds of messages. Unsolicited and emphatically gadgets demand our attention. On average, young people unlock their smartphones 80 times (!) per day. So it's high time for a digital diet. Of course apps have been developed for that purpose – for example Menthal – but you can also easily take charge yourself.
Begin with the source: turn off all ‘automatic messages’ on your smartphone. Check your mail at two set moments per day and unsubscribe to newsletters that you don't read anyway. Once these preconditions are in place, you create space for more inner peace. Create set time-outs in the daily routine; working for hours on end is not good for anyone. Just as important: relaxation after work. Make the time to do things you're really enjoy, whether that is sport, dining or socializing. Do you have difficulty 'finding peace'? Then consider Vipassana meditation, an accessible method for bringing body and mind in balance. There's a good reason why it is called the Art of Living…
Still being bothered by a sense of unease? Get back to basics and ask yourself the following questions: What is my true passion? If anything was possible, what would I do? What do I want to contribute to this world? Go and find your unique talents, learn from the future and discover how more freedom can result in more work satisfaction and efficiency.
Extremely rich people are not extremely happy. The effect of prosperity on happiness is much less than is often believed. A passionate life with attention for the everyday is just as important. The Greek philosopher, Aristoteles is still right: ‘Happiness depends totally on ourselves.’
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