We have one life to experience the world and its surroundings, so we must find out what is it that makes us happy. I believe we find happiness in fleeting possessions only to return to our state of dissatisfaction because what we are looking for is internal not external.
As a child I grew up in a single family home. My mother left when my brother and I were young. My father being the greatest man on earth that I know; did what any great parent would do and started to work extremely hard to provide us with all the furnishings in life. I believe it was an attempt to shelter us from the pain of my mother leaving. As I entered adulthood I had such a troubled way of thinking. Often, I thought once I had something that I would finally feel the joy I had been searching for my entire life. I spent tireless nights working and partying hoping that one day I may find the girl, the job, or thing that would make me feel joy again, but year in and year out I would come up short, tired, and broke.
Eleven years later I may not have all answers, but I have a belief. I believe we achieve the highest forms of fulfillment or happiness when we are working with a sense of purpose; while feeling that what we are creating has a positive impact on the world. I think it is an inherent human emotion that longs to be apart of something bigger than ourselves, because we are already naturally apart of this larger bio-network existing on the planet. Even with all those natural feelings pulling you into a higher expression of yourself, most of us will give the answer “money” to the question what will make you happy.
Studies show that although money has a positive effect one’s evaluation of themselves, it also shows that it doesn’t have much to do with how we are are feeling emotionally .“In Pursuit of Happiness“ YouTube Video by Dr. Angus Deaton and the article called “High income improves evaluation of life but not emotional well-being,” explains that unless we are living in an impoverished country, or stricken with a disease that renders us penniless, money only really has the power to change how we evaluate our life, but not actually change our emotional state. Therefore, true happiness comes from an internal place not external.
I took a step back to examine my own ideology of what fulfillment and happiness truly means. I decided to research the top causes of stress for the majority of the population to understand what obstacles people face in pursuing happiness.
With a little digging, I came across an article that discusses the seven causes of stress and it explains the difference between, “eustress, distress, acute stress, and chronic stress”. It’s important to recognize these types of stress in ourselves so we have a basic understanding that not all stress is unhealthy. Starting with eustress which is a result of something with a positive association whether it is winning or a promotion it is healthy type of stress. Distress is associated with something negative, for example, a type of punishment, relationship complications, or financial problems. Acute stress is where the body prepares to defend itself in “fight or flight”. Lastly, chronic stress is associated with matters we deal with daily, one example being bills. Chronic stress left unattended could affect your immune system.
Here is the list of the top seven causes of stress:
- Job pressure
- Poor nutrition
- Media overload
- Sleep deprivation
Looking at the list I cannot help but notice how they all interconnect. With that in mind, I believe there is a manageable solution. We start by focusing in on making minor adjustments in three areas. If my assumptions are correct and they interconnect, then one should affect another which should affect another so on and so forth. Creating momentum helping you move along quicker than expected. For example, my girlfriend and I get up at 5 A.M. allowing us to walk for an hour together. Our walk has an immense effect on our relationship and just our day in general. It allows us to deepen our bond to each other with exercise and meaningful conversations. Starting the day off in a healthy state of mind allows me to add to my momentum bank all day.
I use each positive move in my day to help with the next, for us it would be breakfast. Food is very important to us and eating clean is something we try to stay rigorous about by sticking to a 90% vegetarian diet. We found a plant-based diet to not only be a good balance, but with some shopping around and investigative work on Pinterest for meal ideas, we found we could get our weekly food budget down to $100 a week which was a significant drop in our grocery budget. After my girlfriend heads off to work at 7-730 A.M.
I head over to a coffee shop to do some personal development: whether it is reading a book, working on a blog post, or simply talking with other like-minded people about our ideas. I feel it is imperative to find a place where people are working for a better tomorrow. Being social and feeling connected with the people in the community will only enhance your daily life. I find the coffee house very spiritual as if it is my church of choice where I come to talk and get inspiration. Around noon, I head to work, get home around 9 or 10 P.M. and do it all over again.
Saturday is our day off together where we allow ourselves some leniency in our routine, otherwise we would be robots…
So, what if today you made a choice to change one unhealthy meal for a healthy meal? What if you decided to turn off any type of media one hour earlier so you can get more sleep? In accomplishing both, you would have tackled four out of the seven causes of stress. Sounds great, right? Now, taking this a bit further imagine you did that for a week or a month. Do you think it would have any influence on your well-being?
I think it most definitely will, and it can all start today with small changes to your daily routine.