How to Bottle Happiness
In the midst of a beautiful moment when you feel intense joy, have you ever catch yourself feeling a tinge of sadness for its passing?
I was standing at the ocean’s edge, toes dug deep into the wet sand, bracing for the waves. I heard the murmur of the sea, felt the warm sun kissing my bare shoulders, heart humbled by two pairs of small hands clutching mine. And while I made myself fully available to the experience, I couldn’t help it wish that happiness were a thing one can bottle.
In my last post, I mentioned the work of Dr. Wallace J. Nichols, a marine biologist, who authored “Blue Mind,” a book about our brain’s connection to water and how being near water creates a short cut to happiness.
According to Dr. Nichols, blue mind is a mildly meditative state, an effortless, peaceful calm. As someone who is happiest near the ocean and sunshine, I didn’t need science to tell me what I instinctively knew to be true. Yet the concept of “blue mind,” started me thinking of how I can maintain this state of mind without having to be near any body of water.
Most of us seem to navigate modern life in a perpetual state of being stressed and anxious. We are overactive yet we feel utterly underproductive.
We bounced from this heighten state to its opposite end, where we feel numb or lethargic, demotivated by the sameness of our routine.
If, occasionally, you find yourself bouncing between the two extremes, it is okay. Give your feelings time to pass.
But you must never stay here.
It is not your home. A joyful spirit does not belong in a garden of dead flowers and no sunshine. You are meant for joy.
Meditate on this: “That I am only a drop of ocean does not make me less of an ocean.”
To carry the ocean with you, practice being present. Create stillness. Master these practices by reading:
Here are other suggestions for finding and bottling your happiness.
Pause for beauty. Remember Dug, a talking dog from the animated movie “Up?” The only thing that breaks his concentration is when he spots a squirrel. Let beauty distract you. Once a day, find something that would make you pause in your tracks and yell, “Squirrel!”
Adopt a meaningful quote. Use them not only to motivate you towards a daily or long-term goal, but as a beautiful reminder of who you are or a guidepost for who you wish to be.
Keep a Bliss Box. While we now have smartphones to record our treasured moments without fuss, I like to keep a piece of happiness that I can touch and smell. So I keep a Bliss Box. Mine is a simple wooden rectangular box that smells faintly of cedar. A few of my “treasures” are a dried flower corsage from my senior prom, a class ring from a high school sweetheart, an original handwritten poem from an old boyfriend, and a conch shell from a favorite beach.
Meditate on the mundane. Know what my secret to slowing down time is? I meditate on what others might view as mundane. I can make myself be fascinated by ants stockpiling crumbs, the moon playing peek-a-boo from behind a veil of clouds, and old sneakers hanging from a power line. When I give importance to noticing details of such ordinary things, something extraordinary happens. Time expands.
What are some simple and creative ideas you have for bottling up happiness?
- Getting Off the Couch
- Positive Attitude
- Overcoming Challenge
- Overcoming Sadness
- Mental Clutter
- Being Present
- Taking Action
- Positive Self-Talk
- Life Lessons from Sports