If there is one place where we should be completely free, then it is in our own mind. We might have limitations in terms of what our bodies are capable of and what we're allowed to do - but our minds should be free to roam wherever we want them to.
Unfortunately, this is not the reality most of us live in. Instead, our thoughts are dictated by our circumstances and those circumstances are largely out of our control. This is why we will often find ourselves feeling dissatisfied and constantly wanting to push forward, rather than stopping to enjoy life and smell the roses.
And without meaning to get political or philosophical, our capitalist lifestyles only reinforce this nature and try to push us faster.
Are You Happy?
Most of us are constantly in a position of slight dissatisfaction. We feel as though there's 'one thing' that could make our lives better and help us to be happier. Maybe we wish we had just a little bit more money, or maybe we wish we had a bigger house. Maybe we want a better job?
Partly this will be encouraged by the media and by the material goods that we want. We want more money so we can play the latest game, wear the latest clothes and post pictures of ourselves on holiday to show to friends.
And we keep working harder and stressing more to try and accomplish these things - in turn keeping the cogs of society spinning.
Making a Change
But now take a moment to think about that game you find yourself wanting. Aren't there computer games on your shelf right now that you haven't played yet? Aren't there free games you could download today and have just as much fun with? Isn't it just marketing that is pushing you towards that next game and that next expense?
Likewise, ask yourself if having more money would really make you happier. You can travel very cheaply right now - the problem is probably more with leaving work. More responsibility isn't going to help that!
So how do you make a change and start to be freer and happier right now? The answer is that you change your focus. Instead of fixating on what you don't have and on what you want, instead start to fixate on what you already have and what you're grateful for. This is called a 'gratitude attitude' and it's the fastest route to having a satisfying and happy life.
Just filling your thoughts and aiming your focus on what you have right now in your life can bring about a whole shift in the way you feel and the way you think. Some might liken a ‘gratitude attitude’ to ‘counting your blessings’ — focusing on what is going well in your life, rather than lamenting what is going wrong.
One way to start yourself off on the right gratitude foot, so to speak, is to make a list — whether you do it with paper and pen or on your computer or other smart device, actually set aside some time to list out the things you are grateful for right now in your life. Maybe it’s the roof over your head, the food in your cupboards, the love of your partner or family, or the job that helps you make ends meet every month. Whatever your list looks like, put some actual effort into thinking about each of these points and really focus on your current state of gratitude. If you do this, I think you’ll see right away how quickly it can change your attitude!