Happiness is Overrated. You Should Be Chasing This Instead.

Happiness is Overrated. You Should Be Chasing This Instead.



It seems to me that a lot of people are chasing happiness. I was at a yoga workshop where we were doing introductions, and a lot of people’s goal was to ‘find happiness’.

Happiness is not a tangible object that we can find. It is an emotion. It is transient. It can be manufactured, in a second, with just a thought.

Let’s try that to manufacture it right now.

“Go to a happy place. It could be your closet, a beach resort, your kitchen, or your backyard.” Were you able to go there? It was pretty simple, right?

Or try this, “Think about someone that makes you happy.” Easy, right? If people, places, and things can make you happy in a second, why is everyone searching for it?

I used to feel really guilty when I wasn’t happy. I have an amazing life – best husband, kids, family, friends, work, home, etc. But I still found that I was getting angry and stressed sometimes. And I would think to myself, ‘Why aren’t I happy? What is wrong with me?’. How come I have all this amazingness in my life and I am still not happy at every single moment? I still fight with my husband. I still yell at my kids. I still get stressed over the bills.

But then it hit me.

I’m human. I have different emotions. I can’t be happy all the time. No one can. How can I be happy when I’m in the middle of a fight? Or during one of my daughter's meltdowns? That would be weird if I was happy then. I’d say, in general I’m probably more happy than most people most of the time. But what’s the point of comparing?

Happiness is not what we should be chasing! Because 1) It’s not possible or human to be happy at every single moment 2) It can be created at any time under most circumstances 3) Once you find it, then what?

What we really need to all do is search for fulfillment. I’m no psychologist, but I’ve heard that is why a lot of people are seriously depressed or unhappy most of the time. Because they aren’t fulfilled.

So my quest is to be fulfilled by being mindful and living in the moment. And I can always feel that I have fulfillment in my life because I know that I’m on the right path, I’m living a balanced life, and I have learned to practice ‘being in the moment’. It is a practice for sure. I'm not perfect, not do I aim to be. I try to be human and recognize and acknowledge my struggles, and I try to overcome them by being present.

How do we do that? How can we be in the moment even when we have moments of heartache, stress, and failures?

What is the only thing we truly ever really have control of? Right now. This second?

Your breath.

If you stop what you’re doing for a few seconds, and focus on your breathing, the only thing you have control of right now, that’s how you can ‘be in the moment’. Think about what happens when people have a panic attack, lose their temper, or are overwhelmed by stress. They’re always told to.. “Take a deep breath.” That’s because if you can calm down your nervous system by breathing, then you can control your next step.

Thich Nhat Hanh, a very wise Vietnamese monk says, “If you take care of the present, the future takes care of itself.” I love it. It’s one of my favourite sayings. And it is so true. What good is the future, if your health sucks and no one loves you. If you take care of the present, and start living in the moment, things will start falling into place in your life.

A lot of us live for ‘tomorrow’. We convince ourselves that we need to work so hard to pay for retirement living. But while you’re working away now, you don’t make time for your health and you don’t take care of your relationships. If you keep this up, you’ll have no one to enjoy your retirement with. So do yourself a favour, and take care of right now.

And if you’re stuck, start with taking a deep breath.


Next step is expressing gratitude. Gratitude for what you do have. The breath you take, the perspectives you have, the lessons you’ve learned. And take a slow step every day in search of your path. Once you learn to be in the moment, you will seize control of your life, and there’s no greater reward than that.


Happiness is transient and can easily slip through your fingers. But feeling grateful and being present in our lives is something that most people live a whole life without ever truly understanding.

Sincerely Always,

Nancy Ma

What do you think? Am I on to something or do you think this is a load of poop. Comment below. I'm ready for it!



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