The pursuit of happiness can be the source of our unhappiness.

This tip brings up a lot to think about. It’s not a simple statement by any means. If we strive for happiness down the road, we could be missing out on the real happiness of the present. Of course we’ll continue to have goals to improve our future, but here are a few things we can do to better our current situation. 1. Be in the present. That doesn’t mean we don’t think of the future, but we need to cap it when it is no longer useful for us, and get back to what’s happening now. 2. Focus on the process instead of the result. We can’t always control results, but we have a great deal of steering power on the journey. 3. Be mindful. Awareness of the small things in the present can open up infinite possibilities. 4. Be grateful. Even if we’re at rock bottom we probably have a great deal in our life we can appreciate. 5. Create a happier path to our goal. Our achievements can be short-lived, but the journey to get there is long. It makes sense to put emphasis on the path, not just the goal.

Take action: The balance between striving for future happiness, and serenity in the present is a tricky one. If you’re one to say, “If only I won the lottery, then I’d be happy,” then it’s time to refocus. Meditation helps a lot of people with this quest, but if reflection is not for you, try a simple two-minute purposeful pause to come back to the present.

Inspired by Dan Harris’ book, 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in my Head, Reduced Stress without Losing my Edge, and Found Self-help that Actually Works – A True Story.

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