Well, here’s a big question: What was your happiest moment?
Most of us will pinpoint a life-changing event: Falling in love, your wedding day - or the day you got divorced (!), hearing the first cry of your newborn child, a big win, graduating, getting that dream job or promotion... Such moments are of course memorable because they are so rare, some of them even once-in-a-lifetime events.
On the contrary, recent studies have confirmed the ancient wisdom - happiness is not about single, earth-shattering moments. It is about the countless little moments that may seem too insignificant to recall. The snugness of warm socks on a cold morning. Birdsong outside your window. A nice cup of tea.
Learning to be acutely aware of them, to stop and give them focused appreciation when they happen, will actually alter the way your mind works. It will change the chemicals in your brain and boost your happiness levels multiple times a day.
It’s commonly known as living in the moment.
Next time something good happens in your life - no matter how trivial it may seem - stop everything and take it in. Be aware. It’s also known as savouring. It’s not a new concept at all – I’m sure everyone has heard of the phrase ‘stop to smell the roses.’ Multitasking is all very well - and we brag about our ability to do it. But it’s literally like juggling - we can’t focus on one single thing for long enough to appreciate all its nuances. Our attention spans have shrunk to the point that we’re not tasting our food while we get lost in Neflix and check our emails and retweet and... you get the idea.
Savouring means being attentive. Notice all the good things that happen in your day and guess what? You will be happier.
Human beings operate on a hedonic treadmill. This means we generally stabilise at one level of happiness, so yes things can make you happier but this is only a temporary boost, like clothes shopping or going out for dinner with your friends. You will do it, and then you’ll feel a boost of happiness but this is only temporary and your general level stays more or less constant.