The pursuit of happiness

Every time I hear that phrase I think of the film The Pursuit of Happyness starring Will Smith. It’s about a young man who loses everything, his wife, his home and almost his son, but through tenacity and determination teaches himself how to make huge money investment sales and went on to make his millions. It’s the real life story of Chris Gardner who is now reputed to be worth around £50million.

The story shows that how we interpret happiness can directly affect our experience of it and how we strive to achieve it.

In October’s Psychologies Magazine an article discussed how our sense of happiness was influenced by who and what we surround ourselves with, including what we read, listen to and watch.

There is a certain pressure to attain a certain level of happiness which can have damaging effects. Other people’s views of what should make us happy doesn’t necessarily mean our sense of happiness is wrong though. We might be trying impose other’s happiness on ourselves as a way of avoiding our own feelings. Someone else’s view might provide the opportunity to challenge our own thoughts.

People often say to me that I must enjoy #bellringing and doing that makes me happy. Yes and no. I have become so accustomed to a way of life that revolves around #bellringing that I often don’t enjoy it. That’s not to say I hate it, its just become “the thing I do”. It makes me happy when I master a new method. It makes me happy to see someone else have that moment of clarity and they now understand or can do something they couldn’t before. It makes me happy when large groups of ringers get together and there’s an excitement and energy in the room. I’m not necessarily happy (but not unhappy either) about Sunday ringing every week, or practice every week. Particularly when the striking isn’t so good. These are just things I do. Like getting out of bed in the morning.

In exploring our authentic happiness, the article offered five questions (although most of them had multiple sub questions) to ponder:

  1. Write down what you define as happiness for you. Where do you feel happy? Who with? Doing what?
  2. Where does your sense of happiness come from? What influenced your happiness growing up?
  3. Who influences your happiness? Family, friends, colleagues, partner? Do you chose to be around them because they make you happy or are you around them because you are happy?
  4. What other factors influence your happiness? Do you find yourself comparing your life to someone else’s?
  5. Are you in touch with yourself? If you’re out of touch with your thoughts and feelings, you’ll be out of touch with your happiness.

What can we do to ensure a better relationship with our happiness?

I will be ensuring I do more things that make me happy and fewer things that please other people, or out of some sense of obligation. I’ve still got some birthday experience vouchers to use and now things are opening up again I’ll be getting dates booked in before the diary is taken over by #bellringing!

What will you do to connect to your happiness?


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