The journey not the destination

I like the Action for Happiness stuff a lot.

I like the idea that instead of trying not to feel something negative (Sad, depressed, anxious) we can work on feeling happy or good or chilled instead. It’s from a school of thought called Positive Psychology. It’s the idea that rather than focus on all the things that are wrong, we focus on the things that are good. I also like that rather than just being a lot of mumbo jumbo pseudo-science, the Action for Happiness people actually did a great deal of research, looking into what helps us to feel better. So, their work is evidence-based – which means we know that it both works and is legitimate and meaningful.

Some things about the happiness movement more generally do bother me a bit. I see a lot of lovely journals in the shops these days that are all about goals and achieving happiness, calm, mindful states etc. It’s like we are now striving for happiness like it’s something that if we just work hard enough and just set ourselves enough goals we will get there. It’s quite often the same with mindfulness. But I don’t see it that way. I think happiness, and mindfulness, are journeys rather than destinations. If we’re so busy trying to reach some holy grail we might miss this journey and miss the lovely moments.

CS Lewis once wrote “One of the drawbacks about adventures is that when you come to the most beautiful places you are often too anxious and hurried to appreciate them.” At Headspace Guildford we do help many children and families with difficulties. But we also notice the small successes, the little things that they’ve managed and recognise that even in difficult situations there are things you can find which give you strength, help you along or that you can later look back on and be happy about.

There’s also some thoughts about this here:

Next I think I need to write something about savouring life when you’re mid exams and it feels really hard. Hang in there if that’s you…

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