Attention Determines Your Life and Your Happiness...

I recently read this sentence in another blog and loved the simplicity and complexity of this statement. As I think about all the ideas, emails, texts, calls, and conversations that try and capture our attention all day, it’s not surprising that most of us often feel overwhelmed.  

As I talk to my clients, family, and friends, I realize that in the busy of our lives, we are often missing the happy of the day to day. I have been wrestling with the concept of “happy” and why it’s so hard to recognize. I’m also curious if we think that happy is a destination, rather than part of our daily being. Are we waiting for some magical thing to happen (losing 10 pounds, getting a promotion, going on vacation) in order to be happy? What if the happy is happening right now and we are missing it? What if you could find moments of happiness during your commute to the office, while you are sitting in meetings, or while you are at the dinner table with your family? What if that is the happy?  What if paying attention to what you are doing and looking for moments of happiness helps lead us to happiness?

Consider the moments you are missing out on by focusing on the next thing versus the thing that is right in front of you. We often think that life will be the result of what happens next, when in actuality it is what is happening around you right now. I think the secret of this happy thing might be to appreciate what is in front of us right now, instead of thinking about or planning for the next thing. I am personally very guilty of this and through my meditation practice am finding that I am slowing down and looking for moments to be grateful. The weird thing is, once I started looking, I realized they are all around me. 

I spent an afternoon with my dad last weekend and had an incredibly connected time with him. Neither of us were on our phones or felt the need to be anywhere other than where we were – just hanging out and being together. I believe these moments of intentional connection are the places where happiness can occur. I think it’s the ability to put distractions aside and be in and with the person in front of you.  Wherever you are in the moment is where you are supposed to be. I promise the other distractions (tasks, emails, calls, texts, etc.) will be waiting for you when you are ready. You are not at the mercy of these other things; you actually get to choose what to pay attention to and when.

I challenge you to consider what is getting in your way of being here in the moment. Consider keeping a journal of when you find times of true happiness, and what are you doing during these moments. Consider turning your phone off (I know… it’s a crazy idea!) and just being with yourself or the person/task in front of you, and look for moments of happiness!


Barbara Leahy