Humanity has come up with many strategies and ideas for creating more happiness in our lives—from chemistry to therapy, we’ve tried nearly everything. And every one of these remains dependent on a cause for happiness. When we harness our awareness, however, we are controlling the real switch behind the mind-body connection.
How Awareness Makes You Happy
- Awareness tells you what is actually going on. More often than not, reality isn’t what makes you unhappy—it’s your perception of reality that makes you unhappy. Beneath the chatter of the reactive and time-line mind, there is simple existence. We fear the simplicity of existence because there’s no goal to chase, and boredom is a great fear. However, when we can ignite awareness, our senses come alive. The sun kisses our skin, snow tickles our nose, and even the sound of traffic becomes chaotic beauty.
- Awareness makes you solution oriented. We are great problem finders and not such clever problem solvers. When we become aware, we find out what’s actually going on. Awareness shows things as they are, but not worse than they are, and helps us see it better than it is. Creativity is born out of awareness, which always leads to solution. And I don’t know anyone whose happy bone isn’t tickled by a creative solution to his or her problems.
- Awareness makes you a choice maker. Solutions are a choice. When we are focused on our problem-based perception, we feel like great victims of life. We never feel we have a choice; instead, we are a trapped spectator to life’s tragedies. With awareness we flip the light switch on—we see clearly again and realize that all solutions are a choice in our hands. Nothing is more empowering than knowing we always have a choice.
- Awareness helps us make happy decisions. Whenever we make a good choice, we’re moved by healthy brain chemicals. It’s difficult to make the right choice when we’re entrenched in the sights of a scary reality. Even the strongest efforts seem to fail, only adding to a feeling of sadness and negativity. By awakening to awareness, we are able to always make decisions that naturally ignite positive neurotransmitters like endorphins and dopamine.
- Awareness imprints long-term pathways for happiness. What we don’t realize is that it’s just as easy—if not easier—to be happy and make positive choices as it is to be upset and make poor choices.
It’s unfortunate that more people don’t know this vital truth. Most learn in the first place that old habits and ego-created illusions are the only solution. Most of us learn from our parents who learned from their parents who learn from a fearful society that life is scary and we have no ability to consciously choose happiness. We can’t blame anyone, it does no good; we can, however, wake up on our own. The more people who choose to solve their problems from awareness will create more awareness in others. Like happiness, awareness is contagious.
Connecting to Awareness
In terms of well-being, we can rise higher in awareness and authentic happiness by asking, “What am I really hungry for?” This question and journey starts the process of truly becoming happy. Be aware of what’s really going on when you find answers. Your awareness will give you answers, but you have to be paying close attention.
You may find that what you’re really looking for is always one of the following:
- Comfort, security, certainty
- Love and affection
- A sense of belonging
- Accomplishment, success, achievement
- Creative expression
- Meaning and purpose
These basic needs of humans dictate many of our actions. But because we remain unaware, we go without what we are really seeking. We often eat to meet one of these needs and develop emotional eating simply because we are not in-tune with our needs. For example, when you look at how we respond stress—which is usually a lack of fulfillment—people fall back on meeting the lowest possible needs: comfort, security, certainty. In times when we feel unfulfilled and stressed, it’s often easier to run back home to be loved, buy a bigger house, or order a pizza to let us feel comforted and certain. Food usually always belongs at the lowest levels of our needs.
What Are You Really Hungry For?
It may be helpful to map out your own “hierarchy of needs” as a guide to true happiness. Otherwise, it will be all too easy to become the beautiful person with an eating disorder, the insecure money mogul who insists to live in a house too big to find himself in, or the “empty-nester” who worries constantly about her grown children. These are all classic cases of unfulfilled, unhappy people who have lost their sense of direction. Without the awareness of where true happiness lies, you will likely reach for comfort, security, and safety, while remaining utterly frustrated when you attempt to fill these higher needs.
When you discover your true needs, you can attend to them and will not be compelled to retreat to the lowest basic needs. When you have a map to fulfillment and are aware of your needs, your self-esteem raises. Chocolate doesn’t fulfill you anymore because you have something much more valuable. Chocolate, cake, alcohol, and sadness are replaced by creativity, excitement, meaning, purpose, and fulfillment. These “highers” cancel out the “lowers.”
So what aching hunger have you canceled out or simple ignored because of your and others’ lack of awareness? Are you craving a creative outlet; do you want to be a dancer, a singer, start a business, travel the world, or write poetry? Bring your awareness back to what is truly going on with you and let your spirit out to play again.