Seeking Happiness    

If you just shopped with enthusiasm on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, you’re hardly alone.  This annual display of  “conspicuous consumption” gets its share of criticism from the socially/politically correct. However, few of us, including the biggest critics, can resist the temptation of attractive items at great prices no matter how much “stuff” we already have. 

What’s the deal?  Why do so many people strive but never feel as though they arrive? The answer lies in our biology. Neuroscientist Jaak Panskepp said that seeking is the most powerful and important of a human’s seven core instincts.  He linked this behavior to dopamine, the neurotransmitter that helps regulate the mammalian brain’s reward and pleasure centers.  This ”seeking” instinct is why squirrels keep looking for nuts they will most likely never eat, why whales swim around the world while already surrounded by all they need, and why humans never truly feel their desires are fulfilled and needs are met.

The bottom line is our brains are designed to want more – more money, more status, more love…..more of whatever you can imagine. It’s our nature to seek, to set goals beyond our current limits, and sometimes it leads to great achievement. But seeking doesn’t have to mean a lifetime of feeling dissatisfied.

You can feel abundant and want more at the same time – they aren’t mutually exclusive states.  Start your search for happiness by setting your goals.  Write them down and read them often.  But don’t stop there.

When you reach a goal, celebrate your success. Then take time to reflect before moving on to the next goal. Consider what matters most to you, what you need to do in order to achieve or preserve those values, and how your reality matches up with your ideal life. Getting more is the easy part – it’s often harder to know what you can let go. 

Henry David Thoreau wrote “A man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to let alone.”  It’s absolutely fine to want more of the good things in life.  Money and all that it buys can bring happiness to us and those we love.  Just remember that occasionally less is more. Money and things are meant to serve us, never the other way around.

© Clear Simple SOULutions LLC 2017