Stop time and be happy – Is it that easy?

I was thinking a long time how I could extend my day with projects to follow, with things to surround myself each day and not wait for long term goals, because it is hard to stick to those if you don’t receive any success right away. Let’s start easy, I told myself.  (Though, of course it is crucial to set goals that have a higher importance, but I will come back to that)

Two things happened shortly before the year was about to end and I was craving for a new beginning inside myself. 

First, I found my old notebook in which I had written down all points I found interesting from the book “The Art of Stopping Time” by Pedram Shojai. It is structured into 100 gongs, so hundred advices with a touch of mindfulness and buddhist thinking that help to slow down time.

With really simple ideas – gongs how he describes them, that can be applied to one day or a situation the quality of life can be increased. It also lets you explore things and thoughts that you might have never done or thought of before or at least didn’t, consciously. In the following posts I will present some of these gongs with hope that it might offer new ideas, inspiration and a slowing down of our racing world.  

The second thing is a book I was waiting for to get for quite a long time and then finally dipped into Gretchen Rubin’s so called “The Happiness Project”.

I am currently listening to the audiobook and am not even halfway through but felt energized by her from the very beginning. She was actually the one who motivated me to write further on this blog and don’t throw it all over. Sometimes it is so helpful to hear from a person who has similiar struggles and also fails, maybe not in the same ways, but still.

Failure is still such a taboo in our society, something that seems to be forbidden to talk about, even though we all make mistakes all the time. No question, it is embarrassing to admit mistakes or failure to others and even to oneself, but this attitude is made up by our own selves. What would happen if we would less criticise ourselves and be “okay” with our flaws and failures, but still be aware and eager to learn from them. 

Gretchen is a completety normal person just as you and me, that’s why by sharing her story and her thoughts combining all these goals she creates a feeling of togetherness. With her 12 commandments she sets a clear point on how she pictures her happy life. Content, let’s say use this term rather than happy because even she mentions that a happy life doesn’t mean you are not suffering. I would say it means you can deal with suffering and grief better than when you are not feeling good in your body and mind.

To achieve this state, there needs to be a lot of self-confidence, I guess and of course a stable mentality, but even if you might not obtain any of these. It is still better to try and have something than worsen the whole situation with a negative attitude or bad habits.

For example, last weekend I really wanted to go swimming, but then I felt too tired to go. I told myself to go running then, but after some hours I did feel only worse with pain in my gut. When I stepped out of the door into the cold of January, I was so proud to not be tempted to follow any bad habits of mine when I feel miserable but shift myself to a new behavioural pattern. And even if I didn’t run, I walked which was at least better than staying at home moaning about how bad I felt.

Try this out! Whenever you recognise a habit, a behaviour that doesn’t serve you. I learn myself that I am the one who decides what I think and how I behave, no one else, even if it is very hard sometimes.