Success and Happiness

Many people measure success according to how much money they have or how high they have climbed on their professional and social ladder. But in reality, real success is how happy we are. We like to be successful, but when it is not accompanied by happiness, success can leave an empty and fleeting feeling, and we cannot enjoy our achievements. We all have read stories of actors, singers, or lotto winners, for example, who couldn’t cope with their newfound wealth. Although they were able to satisfy virtually any material wish, they were unable to enjoy their abundance.

“Very little is needed to make a happy life;
It is all within yourself, in your way of thinking”.

Marcus Aurelius Antonius

As outlined in the quote above, true happiness comes from within, no one can give it to you, and you cannot buy it. But happiness is available to everyone without discrimination, as long as we believe in ourselves and are willing to take the necessary steps lined out below. By improving our thinking, we open the gates to a happier life.

Yes, it is that simple, but is it easy? Everyone can find happiness within; it all depends on motivation and desire. To change one’s way of thinking requires practice and determination, it doesn’t happen overnight, and we have to be patient with ourselves. Wanting to replace unwanted thoughts, feelings of unworthiness, criticism, and judgments, etc., is the first step, and then comes the second step: “How can we replace those troublesome thoughts?” A positive affirmation or mantra tailored to our specific needs and desires is an effective way to calm the mind and allow pleasant thoughts. Meditation may give us the peace of mind required to replace our disturbing thoughts with positive ones gently. We can also use memories of pleasant and enjoyable experiences. I use affirmations often, and they work well and rapidly for me. I like to feel happy and at peace, but my health challenges sometimes generate dark clouds that roll in and obscure my mind. Repeating my affirmations make the clouds disburse, and the sky becomes bright again. At this time of my life, success and happiness translate being in peace. I no longer have material aspirations having left those behind when my life became finite.

You might want to explore what success means to you. Success is a personal goal, and it is an exciting road to travel. There is no right or wrong, and only your aspirations will guide your journey. Allowing the happiness within to be part of this journey will bring harmony and full enjoyment.

Finding happiness is the most significant success one can find, and it allows us to enjoy one’s life to the fullest. Traveling in the fast lane can be lots of fun, as long as we don’t lose happiness along the way. With happiness planted solidly within, we can fly as high as we want and appreciate life and what it has to offer at the same time.

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

 

Mindfulness

What does mindfulness mean? It means living in the moment and being aware of what is happening, both inside and outside. How do we reach this peaceful state? When we meditate, we slide into this vibration and we are in the Now. Just clearing the mind brings us in contact with this blissful feeling, and we have unlimited access to it. Mindfulness allows us to be kind and non-judgmental towards others and also ourselves.

Jon Kabat-Zinn is a professor emeritus of medicine and the creator of the Stress Reduction Clinic and the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. His technique of Mindful Yoga combines meditation and the traditional Hatha Yoga. It has spread worldwide and helps people to cope with stress, anxiety, pain, and illness (Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jon_Kabat-Zinn. Major medical institutions have accepted the mindfulness/yoga connection, and it is widely recommended for cancer patients.

Living myself with a rare, progressive and incurable cancer, being mindful helps me tremendously. It allows me to continue a meaningful life, despite the limitations this disease imposed on me. It also makes me fully aware and grateful for what my husband and friends do for me, and I feel deep gratitude for life and the blessings it offers. I am able to live a balanced life, in which I can compensate for the lows and enjoy the highs to the fullest.

In a mindful state we can more intently experience our surroundings, while feeling peace, comfort and wellbeing. Life has its ups and downs, and stress is everywhere. Let’s remember, though, that we have the choice between being battered by life’s waves, or remaining anchored and remaining focused and mindful. We can only live a fulfilled life and help others when we are balanced, loving, and live in the present. A leaf floating in the wind offers no support, it just goes wherever the wind takes it.

We can achieve awareness through meditation. Not only will we be able to live a more mindful and happier life, but we will also improve our health and be better equipped to handle stress. If you haven’t started yet, don’t wait any longer. You cannot afford it.

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

We Have Choices

Choices allow us to make decisions, which can reach or at least bring us closer to the lives we envision. In most ways, we are free to make our choices without restrictions or limitations as long as we stay within the boundaries of laws, culture, traditions, and our code of ethics, to name a few. Every morning we can decide how our day will progress. Are we hanging on to yesterday or are we worried about tomorrow? The only beneficial choice is to choose today since there is not much we can do about yesterday. It is entirely up to us how we want to feel, and the day will usually unfold accordingly.

We decide how we will live our lives. Our choices are the driving force, and they are our responsibility. There are times when they don’t seem to bring the desired results, but that is when we should remind ourselves that we can make a different decision leading us in another direction.

There are events which make us feel out of control, like a serious illness for example. We might not feel directly responsible but somewhere along the way we made a choice or choices, consciously or unconsciously, which provided fertile ground for the health challenge. I speak from personal experience, and although I do not know what decision I made to allow the disease to develop, I take responsibility for it. We might not be able to regain our former health, but we can choose to live and enjoy every day to the fullest. A key factor is that we feel empowered and not like a victim. Nothing happens to us without our collaboration, although we might not always be aware of it.

Choices are important, and we should be aware of how they make us feel. Do they bring peace and a tranquil mind, or stress and apprehension? Are we doing things which make us uncomfortable? The answer is clear: we should feel good about our choices so that they become beneficial. Even in the case of a decision which doesn’t work out, as long as we felt right about the choice when making it, we can take comfort in knowing that we did the best we could, and it is just a detour on our journey.

We often feel pressured to make a choice right that minute, but with some practice, we can find a way to take a step back and gently make people understand that we need time to think about it. Of course, there will always be moments where an instant choice is required, but as long as we base our decision on mindfulness, it will likely be a good one.

Living in the moment, the Now, is a fundamental decision. It will shape your life and how you feel about it. Like Thich Nhat Hanh wrote: “Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life.”

Silvia Coggin, CPC
Author and Founder of NotJustCooking.com

 

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