Strategies for Happiness – or How to Turn Your Desires into Preferences

strategii de fericireWe draw complex maps with all kinds of desires: more friends, a lover, more money, more knowledge, a better job. We strive to change the situations and the people so they fit our expectations like a glove. When we do not succeed, we are taken over by fear, frustration, distress, resentment, boredom, jealousy.


Is happiness really playing Hide and Seek with us?
The ideas of how the world “should be”, how the others “should” or “should not” treat us, are chimerical. Life has its own reasons, even if we don’t always understand them from the beginning.
But there is a wise solution in the existence’s surprising game: to manage our states so that we learn something from every situation we are in.
In general, desires come together with a state of torturing expectation that we project upon the people  and situations around us. The more intense the expectation, the stronger the misery those unfulfilled desires bring to us. But if we turn these desires into preferences, we have a good chance to stop oscillating between frustration and  seventh heaven.
If what we would prefer to happen happens, then fine! If it doesn’t, it’s almost the same. When we no longer think of that thing as an absolute condition for our happiness, we can relax and we preserve the confidence that life still has gifts waiting for us.


Detachment has a magical power: sooner or later we get it all back. If we really give up our attachments – of a material, sentimental or mental nature  – we will feel freer, more open, and more optimistic. Our mood will be spontaneously mirrored by those around us and this will improve all our relationships.
When our lives will be a whole string of preferences, and we will start loving others without reservation, choosing to help them unconditionally, we will discover that the world is a miraculous “horn of abundance” that offers us a lot more safety, pleasure, health and love than before. When we reach the point where we no longer have expectations from today and tomorrow, we arrive to fully enjoy everything we receive, to be enthusiastic like a child and to appreciate every experience we have with its true value. It is said that the secret of lasting happiness cannot be understood unless you live it.


Practice gratefulness every day
How about starting today? Save half an hour or an hour to totally enjoy what you have, to really experience a state of inner content. Having a hard time finding reasons for it? Think harder. If you look closely you will surely discover something that deserves your gratitude, something you might have missed at a first glance.
Be grateful for the food on your table, no matter if it was made for a special occasion or like any other day. (Especially if it’s not junk food…) Be grateful that you have a roof over your head that keeps you from being out in bad weather. For the comfort you have, as much as it is, without thinking of what you do not have yet.
Be grateful for the people who care for you. Focus on the simple fact that there are at least a few people in this world who love you and really care about you. Be grateful for the fact that you have the freedom to go wherever you like, to express your opinions without somebody chasing you for this, to be able to read any book or magazine you want.
If you have a lover, boyfriend or special friend, think with gratitude about the joy they bring to your life – without thinking about what you would have liked them to offer you but  they didn’t. Be grateful for the pleasant memories. Don’t struggle to reject the bad ones, just focus on the bright ones.

Be grateful for the small perceptive delights of the moment – the joys of smelling, tasting, touching, hearing. Look at the sky, at the clouds, enjoy the sunlight, the flowers or the trees on the side of the road.

Be grateful for your favourite music, for the music you usually listen to.
Be grateful for anything that makes you smile or laugh during the day. When you laugh, be thankful for the pleasant sensations the laughter brings to you.      
Be grateful for the intelligent, nice, warm and good-oriented people that exist in this world. Don’t necessarily look for them. Watch those you meet, even from the distance. 
Be grateful for the birds you hear or see on a regular day. Be grateful for the current season.


Be part of the present  
This list has nothing special about it. It is just a suggestion. You can enrich it every day, because you can discover new reasons to be grateful every day. Together with this feeling comes the need to say “thank you” to someone or for something. It is an excellent idea to pronounce this word, in your head or out loud, the way that it is easier for you.
The vivid gratitude is a way to be part of the present, to accept it by seeing the full half of the glass, to replace the wishes that make us feel frustration, revolt, misery, with preferences that leave us the freedom to enjoy what we have.
Do this “gratitude exercise” for a day, a week, a month. After you succeed a few days in a row to discover and to maintain within yourself a state of harmony and happiness, nothing can stop you for keeping this state forever. You have just discovered that the finish line of the race to happiness is actually in yourself.


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