The Creative Imperative

How innovation and play beget wellbeing

Happiness vs. Now-ness

A One-Minute Exercise For Living in the Now

Spinning your child in your arms, curling up in front of a glowing fire, or even just sipping a nice Cabernet may make you happy.  All sorts of different things bring us that warm feeling that puts a smile in our eyes.  We should be fortunate enough to have these experiences.

Happiness is important and we should all pursue it, and be free to pursue it, in our own ways.  I have no beef with happiness, or the pursuit of happiness. Really, I don’t.  It’s just that it’s not all we should pursue.

 Happiness comes and happiness goes — It’s fleeting.   

 It’s not possible to be happy all of the time.  If it were, how would we know what happiness is?  At the very least we need states of non-happiness so that we have something for comparison.  Even if such a state were possible, it would probably not be very much fun.  Instead of living our lives in eternal bliss, we would all probably just melt into a state of ecstasy never to be seen or heard from again.

Find a Therapist

Search for a mental health professional near you.

Instead of constantly trying to achieve a state of being that makes us happy we should try to tip the scales and spend more of our mental energy Living in the Now. 

“Living in the Now” is kind of an odd idea, isn’t it? I mean how can you possibly not be living in the Now? If you are alive and reading this, when else are you living? The ’80s? The Renaissance?

 Living in the Now does not necessarily mean that you are happy or joyful. It’s just that whatever you are experiencing at that time you are actually experiencing it. When you are living in the Now you are consumed, taken, by the present moment.  When you are in the Now time is irrelevant—and nothing else matters except what you are doing.

If Living in the Now sounds good to you, try this little exercise on for size:

Exercise: One Minute in the Now

Look around you—all around you. Take in what you see with your eyes. Write down or say what you see. Bring your focus in to your immediate surroundings and for one-minute try to think only of what’s around you. Any thoughts or words that you say or write that have anything to do with things not around you don’t count. If you slip up, try it again. This is a way of training your mind to be in the Now.

There are various other ways of inhabiting the now, if you tried this, let me know how it worked for you.  If you didn’t, why not try it now? 

Either way, I wish you much now-ness, now, and in the future.

Ben Michaelis, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist who specializes in helping patients achieve mental health and well-being through creative expression.

more...

Subscribe to The Creative Imperative

Current Issue

Love & Lust

Who says marriage is where desire goes to die?