Practicing Happiness

“Happiness is to be practiced like the violin.”        – John Lubbock


At first glance, this quote may seem a bit contrived.  Many tend to think of happiness as being something which spontaneously arises when we are engaged in something that we like doing, e.g. “I am happy when I am gardening”.  Therefore, the more ‘I garden’, the happier I am. While there certainly is truth to this way of thinking, it can also be limiting – it relies on happiness being caused by conditions that are external to ourselves.  What happens when we ‘can’t garden’?

Happiness is a quality or state of being. A state of being can be generated from within. One simple method for generating happiness is to cultivate gratitude.   Here is a simple exercise to test this for yourself:

Close your eyes, take a few soft breaths and bring to mind someone or something that you are grateful for having in your life.   Stay with your image of the object of your gratitude and think about some of the reasons for feeling grateful.  Stay with this for ten seconds or more.

When you have finished, do you notice any changes to how you feel inside?  Do you feel happy?

Even if you only noticed a slight internal shift, you will understand that happiness can be practiced like the violin.  Imagine if you did this everyday…

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