Giving Attention To Happiness

When I left England in 2000 there did not seem to be much happiness around. People in modern western society tend to be self focused to the extreme, prone to criticise rather than support or applaud, and with little time or inclination to devote to others. Relationships can be a battleground rather than a haven of mutual support. Thinking about it now, I did not know anyone who I could say was really happy. I was acquainted with a few who might have been in a state of happiness, but I did not know them well enough to be sure.

I think by nature I am a basically happy person, but modern life and attitudes can have a way of pummeling that out of you. When you are surrounded by unhappy, discontented people who are devoted to chasing the shadows of pure materialism, then it is going to affect you. People lose touch with what happiness is, and may even be dismissive if they sense that someone might actually be happy.

Happiness is no longer a natural state of being in Western society, and to those who have lost touch with what happiness is, a process of re-education may be needed. Here are a few things that may help you in that process:

1. Give time and focus to the things in your life that can make you happy; how can you be happy if you do not know what will make you happy?

2. Give time and attention to making those around you happy. If any of them are habitually self pitying and miserable, with no good reason, then maybe they should not have a place in your world.

3. Give time and attention to eliminating those elements of your life that are dragging you into the unhappiness mire. Pinpoint them, and then set about methodically either removing them or diminishing their influence.

4. Vow never to be jealous. If you see somebody else who seems happy and elated, feed positively off that happiness aura, and do not mutter such negative responses as "oh, it's alright for her, she doesn't have my problems." Reprimand yourself if ever you feel a twinge of jealousy.

5. If you find an element of your life that brings you happiness, remind yourself about it regularly. Feed it, let it grow. Never, ever take it for granted. Give the happiness itself attention, and it will burrow more deeply into your being.

I will now test you on number 4. I am very happy, and have been for a few years now. I have all I need of a non-material nature: a wonderful wife; a beautiful and joyous 17 month old daughter; the ability to work online from home doing as I please; life on a magnificent tropical island that fulfils a childhood dream; and living amongst people of a generally happy disposition. All those things come together to give me as close to a perfect life I could have dared thought possible.

I say that not to arouse envy, but to get you to think: happiness is still possible, and should be celebrated, whoever the one who has the benefit. If you are not already doing so, you could soon be the one spreading that aura of happiness; but it needs your attention, piece by piece.

Roy Thomsitt is owner and part author of">