In the multiple hats that I wear, from a Communication Skills Coach to an HR Professional, to a mother of two kids, I continuously observe.

Probably due to my academic roots in sociology, I love observing people and noticing how they behave in different environments as well as how they react to the evolving situations around them. Some people seem to be agitated most of the time, others get nervous or excited when presented with certain situations, and then there are the few who are calm most of the time. I find the latter group particularly intriguing.

Most people say that I am an energetic and enthusiastic person, passionate about what I do. I tend to agree with them. And whilst I love being an outgoing extrovert who speaks her mind, over the years I have learnt to appreciate the importance of being reflective, of choosing when to speak up, of being particularly careful in how to place one’s words, of listening more and speaking less and of absorbing what people are saying beyond the actual words spoken. 

When I meet people for the first time, I typically ask them about the work that they do, but the question which is more meaningful for me is whether they enjoy what they are doing and what it is in the role that they do which they find fulfilling. I suppose my questioning arises primarily due to my HR background, yet it is also strongly related to my curiosity about what makes people happy.

The quest for happiness is universal. In every age, in every country, people have sought happiness within their environment, their families, their place of work and their communities. The most fundamental human need is to live a healthy, happy and prosperous life. The level of prosperity which one desires varies from one person to another, yet everyone without exception wishes for a healthy and happy life. But not everyone is able to achieve this. The challenges of life seem to somehow deprive us of this contentment. 

People deal with difficult situations and circumstances differently – some remain calm and composed whilst others lose their cool. Then there are those who are healthy and achieve career and financial success but are still not happy, whilst others live in simplicity and live a content and full life.

At times, we mistakenly attach happiness to certain things and the moment they are missing, we lose our spark. And whilst we encounter a number of obstacles that become disturbances for happiness, the heart of the matter is an individual’s state of mind. The question is how to make the mind stronger to deal with the adverse situations that life throws at us. So lately, I have become more immersed with practicing a calmer and content state of mind. 

I would like to share the practices that I have found most beneficial with you:

1. Be grateful

I constantly seek to practice gratitude – when I acknowledge the great things in my life on a continuous basis, it enables me to maintain an optimistic outlook and interestingly, more positive things seem to come my way. In the evening, I ask my kids to tell me three good things that happened to them in the course of their day, as I want to instill this mindset in them too. Appreciating the great things in our life, as simple as they may be, is a fantastic way of cultivating happiness.

2. Know what is in my control

I do not allow myself to become a victim when something goes wrong or gets in the way. I work hard and persevere. Along the way, however, I have learnt that I need to accept that I cannot control everything – that there are things which are in my control and those I am responsible for, but there are other matters which are beyond my control. 

3. Let go of unpleasant thoughts or feelings

Regrets can hold us back and make us unhappy. As our thoughts affect our energy, I think about the kind of energy I want to nurture. As opposed to becoming concerned with matters that weigh us down, it is so much more resourceful to focus on the things that can uplift us. Be willing to move on and grow stronger.

4. Be in the present

Whenever I am working on a challenging project or assignment, I seek to enjoy what I am doing and pause to appreciate the good work I’m doing at that point in time. When I am with my family, I seek to truly engage with them. My kids have helped me realise the importance of living in the moment; worry a little less about the future and concentrate more on enjoying the moment, being physically and mentally in the now. 

5. Celebrate my wins

From being the kind of person that typically jumps from one completed project straight on to the other, I now recognise the importance of pausing and looking back at what I have been able to achieve. This sense of accomplishment then fuels me with excitement of what else I can possibly achieve, and that’s a journey I want to embrace!

The pursuit of happiness is a relentless quest. The purpose of life is not just to survive from one day to the next, but is to attain internal happiness and fulfillment along the way. No matter what your definition of true happiness is, living a happy and fulfilled life is within your reach. On the days when you feel empty, sad or confused, turn your focus to the legacy you want to leave behind. That will enable you to lift your spirits again. Reflect, re-tune your focus and show the will to shine again! To a bright 2022!

You can reach Michelle Fenech Seguna on [email protected]  or access www.speaktomove.com.mt for more information.

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