by Autumn Pappas, CHHC, AADP
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…”
Perhaps no statement in American history is better known or has been more powerful and iconic than this one issued by Congress in the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, 1776. Not only does this proclamation entitle us, as Americans to powers that cannot be given away nor should be questioned; equality, life, freedom, but it also allows us the right to pursue our happiness. As Americans, “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” has become our birthright; our motto; our creed.
What does it truly mean to pursue happiness? In modern society, many of us have come to believe that the “pursuit” of happiness is the journey we take in order to achieve our desires. If we follow the pursuit, eventually we will get a bigger house, our ideal career, become more popular, choose the right mate, have the perfect family—and then we will be happy. But happiness is fleeting. Satisfaction never lasts long, and soon we are hungry for more. How can we stop this endless cycle?
First, learn to be present in the moment. Unhappiness often comes from dwelling on the past and feeling anxiety about the future. All we truly have is now. Meditation, mindfulness and breathing exercises are great tools to help you stay present in the moment. Next, be of service. Giving selflessly not only builds self-esteem, and brings meaning and connectedness to one’s life, but also enriches the lives of others. Lastly, be grateful, and share your gratitude with others. Gratitude takes merely seconds, can lift our spirits and make our hearts soar.
Happiness is a choice. It lives inside of us always; we just must learn how to tap into it. This fourth, while you sit under firework-filled skies, surrounded by your communities, families and friends; I hope you feel inspired to breathe in the moment, to extend your hand to be of service to another and lastly, that you have things in your heart to be grateful for.
Happy 4th of July!
Health Coach Autumn