Our perception and attitude towards time are major influencers of or happiness. Ultimately:
You can only be happy now. Choose to be happy now all the time and you will always be happy.
The human brain has evolved in sophistication. In addition to enhancing our survival, it has also created a major illusion. This is the concept of time. Until we are completely free from it, there are wise ways to use it to our advantage.
There are two major aspects of our relationship with time that we can take care of to improve our happiness.
1) Prioritise mindfulness over mind-wandering.
Through a famous study from 2010, followed by a TED talk in 2011, Matt Killingsworth demonstrated that mind-wandering causes unhappiness. This is not a denial of our ability to re-visit the past or plan for the future. It is merely a suggestion that:
Staying present for most of the time can substantially improve the quality of our lives.
If you were to incline the content of your moment to moment awareness towards compassion you can get even more impressive results. Matthieu Ricard, a Tibetan Buddhist monk, has been called "the world's happiest man". Scientists who studied his brain activity were astonished by the readings. They showed unseen levels of gamma waves linked to consciousness, attention, learning and memory. There was also an excess of left prefrontal cortex activity. This means Matthieu has an abnormally large capacity for happiness and a reduced tendency towards negativity.
Here is what you can do:
2) Make both your experiencing and your remembering selves happy.
Now, I'm not suggesting you have a multiple-personality disorder. Yet, according to the founder of behavioural economics, Daniel Kahneman, there are two 'selves' that help us process reality.
The 'experiencing self' lives in and knows only the present. It answers questions about whether you feel good or bad, hot or cold right now.
The 'remembering self' keeps score, creates, maintains and tells the story of your life. It creates the answer to questions about how have you been or how have you been feeling lately or over time.
In essence, how happily one lives their life (experiencing self) and how satisfied they are when they recall it (remembering self) are separate matters. Hence, apart from doing both my 12-session courses on happiness (satisfying the experiencing self) and life purpose (satisfying the remembering self) ;)
Here is what you can do:
This is a brief overview of how our relationship with time influences our happiness in major ways.
Be mindful and be considerate of your experiential and meaning-creating needs short- and long-term.
Mastering your relationship with time will boost your happiness.
Realise it is time to master your super power - to bring your mind, body, and heart in balance and alignment.
The value of happiness
Happiness influencers: Desires
Happiness influencers: Beliefs
Happiness influencers: Identity (roles)
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Martin Stefanov Petkov