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If you’re happier, you’ll be far from selfish, anyway. You’ll exit the dark cave our depressed minds sometimes become in order to interact and bond with family and friends.
The important thing is to be prioritising your happiness, long term. If you regularly think to yourself: ‘am I happy? Why aren’t I happy?’ and do your absolute best to combat self-destructive thought and behaviour patterns as a result, you’ll be halfway there.
You’ll Become Self-Aware
What this essentially comes down to is becoming self-aware. Mindfulness, and understanding your own personality, brain and quirks is key when it comes to changing your behaviour and the way you address and deal with things.
If you regularly analyse and think about the way you respond to your life, you will become more self-aware, and more conscious of how your mind works, and how to direct it. Without slightly understanding your own individual mind, you can’t hope to apply a general solution and change your happiness levels.
Meditation is one of the best routes to clearing your mind and allowing for complete subconscious contemplation, as well as mental acuity and clarity. Now you’re probably picturing an orange robed figure sat cross-legged on the floor, probably humming. While that’s a nice, if outdated image, it doesn’t have to be the case for you.
There’s no reason why you can’t meditate on your bedroom floor, in your dressing gown, before your morning shower. Even ten to twenty minutes every morning of deep, relaxing meditation has been shown to have an incredibly positive effect on thought and mental function throughout the day, and ten to twenty minutes in the morning is not hard to maintain long term.
Meditation will make you happier by itself, but the real core of why it makes you happier is because it gives you greater understanding of your own mind and purpose. Meditation can become the key to understanding the fundamental elements of you as a person.
Turn Away From the Unachievable and Material
One of the core tenets of Buddhism, and inherent to the Hedonistic Treadmill too, is the belief in the futility of chasing short lived material gratification and status. The Hedonistic Treadmill forms the science and logic behind this.
We all live in a capitalist world where we’re told we need to work all day, almost every day, in order to buy utterly non-essential things. Few people who earn just enough to buy the bare minimum are regarded as successful in the capitalist world. No, it’s those who have the most inherently useless and pointless amounts of disposable income and possessions that are regarded as successful.
The Hedonistic Treadmill says that no matter how much you achieve at work, how much money you accumulate, how many cars you own, you will always return to the same basic baseline of happiness or pleasure. So when everyone points to Richard Branson, or some other ultra-rich figure as the epitome of success, you can explain why they aren’t.
The Hedonistic Treadmill says that no matter how much money you accumulate, you will always return to the same basic baseline of happiness. So when everyone points to Richard Branson, or some other ultra-rich figure as the epitome of success, you can explain why they aren’t. And this is incredibly freeing
This is incredibly freeing. We feel we have to pursue better and better houses, cars, jobs, whatever, but all that is nonsense. If you understand the Hedonistic Treadmill, you can live unashamedly within your means, you can forget stressing and striving to increase your material worth and value. You can take a stoical approach to your life and growth as a person, and stop measuring yourself by your bank account, or whatever insanely intangible metric that isn’t directly related to your own happiness.
What You Should Do!
If you want to change your baseline, and become a happier person with less effort, then meditation is definitely a great way to go. Alongside that exercise, hobbies, and chasing your dreams and ambitions that aren’t motivated by greed, or desire for recognition. If you’ve always wanted to paint, paint.
There are plenty of great apps out there too for gauging happiness, monitoring exercise and generally shaping your life and mind up. One such app is analyze.life, which can prove super useful. Just because you’re working on your mind doesn’t mean you have to reject technology!