What Makes a Happy and Healthy Life?
Sunday, August 2, 2015 - Author: Chris B.
The age-old question of human kind is, "What is the meaning of life?" Is it money? Is it security? Maybe it's living a stress-free life. The truth of the matter is that the key to a happier, healthier life is living in the moment and being of service to others. Imagine a world where everyone was genuinely kind to one another and helped without self-seeking intentions of getting a pat on the back. While this scenario may seem farfetched, you can begin living a better life by taking some of this advice and implementing it into your everyday life.
Take a moment to think about the stresses in your life. Bills are coming up and you may not have that much money in your bank account. You might be thinking about how you could have handled a situation better that took place last week. You can also be worrying about how you're going to put your kids through college 10 years from now. All of these situations are wasted energy and stresses that can be better focused on what you have control over today.
Lack of control is the main dilemma that all human beings suffer from, and it causes a fair amount of stress. The thought of the unknown can be extremely frightening, but it can also be debilitating for some. Instead of worrying about how you're going to handle situations that haven't happened yet or ones that are in the past, think about what you can do in the present moment. You'll realize that you have a lot more control than you think you do.
Worrying About the Future
For example, a common stress that most people have is when they have a job interview scheduled. Whether they've been unemployed for a long time or they're trying to land a job that will put them on a better career path, an upcoming interview can bring about a lot of worry. The new job means so much that people often lose focus of what they can do to prepare for the interview at that moment. You have to realize what you're capable of and what your limitations are to truly be successful.
These are some of the thoughts that may be running through a person's head when they're gearing up for this hypothetical interview:
- What if I say something the employer doesn't like?
- What if they don't like something on my resume?
- What if someone else is more qualified, and I don't get the job?
- I really need this job, and I don't know what I'm going to do financially if I don't get it.
Take a step back and look at what you can control. You can't control whether or not the employer likes what you have to say, but you can practice with a friend or family member to be prepared for potential situations. You can review and revise your resume to the best of your ability and get a second opinion on it, but if you've already showed it to the employer you must accept that it's now out of your control. It's possible that someone else is more qualified than you, but you have the opportunity to impress the employer with your interviewing skills.
If you don't get the job, it's not the end of the world. Some of the most successful people in the world were told "NO" 100 times before they landed the career that was perfect for them.
The Power of the Present Moment
Although this is one example of how learning what you have control over and what you don't, you can discover even more in The Power of Now, which is a bestseller by Eckhart Tolle. He believes that every person has an inner and an outer purpose. The outer purpose evolves over time, and the inner purpose stays with us forever. The key to having a new perspective in life is by having an awakening in which you can focus on the present.
This is not a religious book, but it is a spiritual one. Tolle took the wisdom from great teachers like Jesus and Buddha, but it is up to you to find your own spiritual peace. The idea of spirituality is clearing the mind of negation, doubt and fear. This comes from a presence of God, but this isn't a specific God to any one religion. Accepting any type of Higher Power is the first step towards relieving you of the bondage of yourself. Putting your faith in a power greater than yourself allows you to begin on the path to a spiritual awakening where you discover that even though you lack control, you have faith that positive outcomes will come your way.
Tolle stated, "Most people treat the present moment as if it were an obstacle that they need to overcome. Since the present moment is Life itself, it is an insane way to live."
In his book A New Earth, there are three modalities that are dependent on circumstances and the nature of activity. These modalities include:
If you don't have these three things, you're out of alignment with the universal purpose of life. Take a minute to think about it. How do you feel when you're lacking any of these three aspects of your life? Many people who are lacking these traits on any given day are stuck in a selfish and self-seeking mindset, which causes them to create their own misery. Dwelling on what you can't control and worrying about negative outcomes make you your own worst enemy.
Acceptance is Key
Learning how to accept every situation for what it is will help you stay in the moment. This can be a very difficult task for some because it means throwing out some lifelong conceptions, but a lack of acceptance is what can cause the most turmoil in your life. Acceptance is the first step towards surrendering to the fact that you don't have control.
Imagine getting into a car accident. Whether you were hit or you hit someone else, the best thing you can do is accept the situation for what it is. You can't go back in time and avoid the accident, so arguing with the other driver is completely null and void. If anything, it will only worsen the situation. You simply need to do the next indicated thing, which is making sure you; your passengers and anyone in the other vehicle are okay. Next, follow through with the insurance process, but don't worry about what's going to happen to your premiums because what's done is done, and all you can do is what you have the power to do at that given moment.
Getting Out of Your Own Head
The best way to get out of your own head is to help others. There are a lot of people on this planet who live everyday thinking about what they can get out of the world instead of what they can give to it. Christmas is one time of year when everyone seems a little happier and a little more willing to help, but you don't have to limit this to one season of the year. Now, this doesn't mean that you should run around giving all of your money away to the homeless, but giving a homeless person the extra change in your pocket may change his life for that day.
Instead of calling everyone you know when you're having a bad day to vent, try something new. Call friends and family when you're having a rough day and ask them how they're doing. See if they have a problem that you might be able to help with. Whether they're sick and could use a cup of soup or they just need a listening ear, you'll hang up the phone with a better sense of purpose than when you called. Eventually these types of behavior will become your new normal, and you'll find that you're living a much better life.