Minimalist Monday: Don't Go Chasing Happiness

I love this Thoreau quote. It hangs in the holiday cottage we stay at in Cornwall and I just had to photograph it on our last visit. It reminds me that happiness is not a final destination we may one day reach or a rare state exclusive to the few. Happiness is actually more achievable than we think if only we can change our view of it. It's about enjoying the journey of life and finding moments of joy along the way.
Today I stumbled across an interesting BBC article which suggests we can become happier if we change our attitude. 
Can we make ourselves happier? According to studies from all over the globe collated by the World Happiness Database in Rotterdam, we can. But the path to happiness may not be where we are looking for it.
Results from the project suggest that goal setting isn't always the route to happiness. Some factors affecting your happiness such as where you live and your relationship status are not easy to change but others are. Suggested ways to happiness include:

  • Leading an active life at work and in our spare time.
  • Developing an appreciation of happiness as we gain life experiences.
  • Doing less of what doesn't make you happy – ditching the chores sometimes and making more time for relaxation and interests instead.
  • Not judging yourself too harshly – look for the beauty in yourself just as others do. Accept those compliments and believe in them. Accentuate your strengths and accept we all have imperfections.
  • Accepting you can't be happy all of the time. Learn from the lows in your life.
  • Focusing on the quality of your relationships not how many friends you have.
  • Considering the relationship between the stresses of your job versus the pay you receive. For example, is the time spent commuting to work worth the pay?

It's definitely a good read and makes many more good points. I'd love to know what you think. 

Do we set ourselves too many goals because we're unhappy? Or can goal setting be useful in creating a happier life? Is happiness actually within our grasp only we're too focused on our perceived unhappiness that it escapes us?



  1. Hi I read this article too and funnily enough I had it in mind for a blog post as well but you beat me to it! Did you find a link to the World Happiness Database to get this extra stuff. It eluded me.

    Lovely Thoreau quote. What a wise dude! x

    1. Hi there, sorry... no I didn't find any other links - I wrote this post based on the original BBC News article. Thoreau's words are indeed wise xo

  2. As a parent I'd say that it's often true that your only as happy as your least happy child. We have our evening meal together every day and find it's a great time to chat about what's bugging any of us and the usual mickey taking and banter leaves us all laughing on a regular basis - a great tonic :-D

  3. Lovely quote and a great post. I find I am more content and happier now that I am older - maybe because I have children now and I am looking at a bigger picture. I find I don't need much to make me happy, just a content little life for us. Don't know how long it will last when they turn into grumpy teenagers though! And if I have to go out to work full time that will be difficult too, but right now I am happy with what I have.

  4. Goals can be a great motivator but I think they need to stay as a motivator and not become the master. So much comes from the unexpected opportunities that if we're focused only on the goal we can miss out on things and we can lose the context of what we're doing.

    e.g paying off the mortgage is a great thing but if the best part of our lives is gone doing it then the money means nothing and the freedom we thought we'd have doesn't exist. Goals need context, they're not just an end in themselves.

  5. interesting article, need to do more of what makes us happy, the chores can wait a bit longer! I do find that hard, I like to clean up!! but yes sometimes it's okay to just choose not to do something, Heather x

  6. I agree with this article after creating a more simple life I have more time to appreciate the beauty around me and more time for friendship both of which make me happy. I'm not very good at setting goals!
    Sarah x


Thanks for reading and leaving your comments. Keep in touch xo