The Flowers Along the Way
With so much going on around us, it can seem hard to pause for a quick breather. But it’s in those intermittent pauses that we can discover moments of happiness. Taking regular breaks, whether it be moving from a desk or a walk outdoors, has repeatedly been shown to alleviate stress while simultaneously sharpening our minds.
We all know the proverb derived from Walter Hagen’s sentiment in the 1950s: “Don’t hurry. Don’t worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.” Since then, the active practice of mindfulness and happiness has surged quite drastically. Where once we might have reserved such practices for personal time, we now know to weave them throughout our workday.
However, many of us don’t.
Powering through may seem like a good tactic, but it comes at a cost—as is often the case when we pour most of ourselves into any one thing. This cost is that we lose sight of other important things. We forget the joy of getting lost in a good book, the euphoria after a vigorous workout, or even time with loved ones. We forget to choose happiness, a point delineated here by psychologist Monica Vermani.
Choosing happiness is something we can do for ourselves and even our teams. There should be consistency between how we treat ourselves and how we treat others—a consistency built on empathy. A conscious practice of empathy creates happiness both at home and at work, as discussed in this podcast with former Harvard senior fellow Peter de Silva.
Happiness isn’t something simply attained after a milestone event. It isn’t a distant thing to be reached for. It doesn’t lurk within a lofty job title, a new car, or a big house. Rather, happiness exists in our daily intentional choices, as expressed in this TED Talk by Tia Graham, founder of workplace happiness consultancy Arrive at Happiness.
Putting off happiness is how we lose happiness. Happiness is here and now, in the moments around us. All we need to do is stop and smell the roses.
“Happiness is a choice. You can choose to be happy. There’s going to be stress in life, but it’s your choice whether you let it affect you or not.”
― Valerie Bertinelli
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