Where is Your Happiness? Past, Present, or Future??

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Where is Your Happiness? Past, Present, or Future??

By: Dr. David Thomas

Achieving a level of personal happiness previously unknown is closer than you think. Much closer. But first, it's important to stay in touch with the present.

" Stay in touch with the present? I'm thinking ... I'm already IN the present! "

Well, certainly we all are in the present, since there is nowhere else to be, but that doesn't mean our thoughts are in the present. And therein lay the challenges to our own personal happiness.

We as humans are the rarest of all species in that not only can we think, but we can think about our thinking.

And you can use this process of being aware of your self-thoughts to help you achieve contentment. It's important for you to challenge what you see and believe. This insures that your view of the world matches reality. So often what we believe is the truth, is nothing more than glimpses of the past, present, and future.

We often take only the bad from the past, quickly breeze through the present, and falsely make up the future. The result is frequently guilt about your imperfect past, anxiety about a future that doesn't exist, and impatience with the Now.

But it is the Now which can help us to live our lives today, fully alive, happy and content.

To prove the value of the present to yourself, try this:

Take a moment and sit in a comfortable place and observe.

  • What do you see? Describe the images around you.

  • What sounds are there? How many can you hear?

  • Can you smell different smells? (Some are pleasant, some maybe not!)

  • Tell yourself how the surfaces around you feel, the chair, the rug under your feet, the tightness or looseness of your clothing.

  • And finally, what tastes are apparent in your mouth?

Take a few minutes and reconnect with the world as you experience it in the now.

If you are like most people, what you experienced is a wonderful feeling of aliveness. Rarely do we allow ourselves the opportunity to enjoy the moment. But the moment is the only reality we know. It is exactly the way it should be and it cannot be anything more than that.

But we repeatedly make it out to be different. And by doing so, we have lost the opportunity to fully experience the rain, the children playing, the learning to be achieved by listening to the world seen through a grandparent's eyes, or a friend sharing one of his or her own moments. Too often we are too caught up in what will happen, or what has happened, to experience what IS happening.

This is not to say that planning for the future is unimportant, or that reminiscing is not useful and enjoyable in itself. But unfortunately, too often we become entangled in a future that has not happened and become stifled by our predictions.

We run from the saber tooth tiger that no longer exists in our modern day world. The tiger has been replaced with confronting a friend, giving a speech, driving over a bridge, or feeling discomfort from changing a habit. We create absolute horror from an uncertain future that we make real in the moment.

Staying in the moment awards you the opportunity to see the world as it is, not as you believe it should be. It allows you to observe the truth, to look at real data, not information couched in fears and anxiety.

And it is this truth, which will allow you to enjoy yourself, others, and the world around you. Because, it is exactly as it should be. You can manage any life event that presents itself. Why?? Because everyone does. You can choose to do it with pain or without pain. The evidence for these statements is present in the moment.

Dr. David L. Thomas, LMHC

About The Author

Dr. Thomas is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor with a practice in Tampa, FL. He has been counseling people to feel better for over 21 years. This article is posted at www.stressgroup.com. He is also the co-author of Quit Smoking-Be Happy! - see www.quitsmoking-behappy.com to learn more.


Aimee B 22.09.2009. 01:18

How does nonviolence relate to Philosophy? I need to know how it relates to philosophy, to my past, present, and future, and how it relates to the worlds past, present, and future.


Aimee B

Admin 22.09.2009. 01:18

Philosophy is the rational investigation of truth. Ethics and our ability to obtain happiness is a core principal throughout many system's of thought. Violence against another being, whose worth is equal to all others, should be seen as a violation against the highest ideals and morality. Violence is a step towards social upheaval and anarchy, which could be seen as diametrically opposed to philosophy.


waitforneveragain 10.04.2009. 08:26

Another question about a poem, there are already so many. Can you spend pain? Future pain is best spent in the future.
For present spending of future pain leads to insanity.
Insanity is past, present, and future pain.
Past pain never dies, otherwise it would not be pain.
Life is present pain.
All unknown and feared is future pain.
Is the absence of pain happiness?
And if constant pain leads to insanity; Can constant insanity destroy the pain?


Admin 10.04.2009. 08:26

Metaphorically yes. It makes sense in the context but not when you say it alone.


*stranger* 16.01.2009. 09:22

How can you stop worrying about everything and start living for today? I worry so much about my past and future that i really dont know what happens everyday.. i get depressed very often and find it hard to get out of it.. i don't know how to stop this.. please help me!


Admin 16.01.2009. 09:22

i go through the same thing too....
But i take it differently.
I do know that I think a lot about my future's uncertainties and about my past's mistakes or me as a child and how much better that was. I also do think about the purpose of our living... about global warming.. about why were men created if they were just here to mess up???... about God Himself at times.... about Death... about miracles...etc

but then, i know that i won't get answers to these questions by someone whom i know... i couldn't get it from my psychiatrist as well...
But i have to find it...
so i need to read books... and to understand and interpret them, i need to be in the right senses... i can't give up... this way, i'll never find solution to my problem...

what after i do find a solution to that problem???

well... i feel relaxed...i know some things for sure... this way, we help ourselves feel good... this way, everyone around us is happier to know that we feel good. in a way, we act like superheroes, na? fighting for a cause.. and finally spreading happiness...Just kidding...

so From my Personal Experience, I would say, read books, Yahoo answers may also help to answer any question that tenses you.
we all are there for u!
human to human!
But most importantly, don't give up.. only because the world thinks that you are wasting your time thinking... is not right... every one does what they want to.. they can't think the way you do doesn't mean you shouldn't! in fact... by thinking, you may actually come up with something ground breaking! you could be rich with that idea if you published it... History shows that only in intense scenarios have great minds come up with great solutions.... you may be the next Einstein!

let our minds and hearts conquer our thoughts only in the right direction! who cares about ones who can't understand us...

about the depression part, you calculate the cause and the effects, you understand the problem, then you get depressed that there is no solution to it... well don't get depressed, if you let your mind fail, one more smart brain will surrender to this idiotic selfish world! we need people like you. Who are willing to help because they know!
not because they think they know but don't actually know!
if you can't innovate a solution, you can at least make a plea to those who can... that way, your job is done...
you may say, that this way, you tend to forget about the present...
well.... what if... your present involves thinking for the betterment!
may be you are different. you may not be able to see the gardens in the morning or enjoy a good swim but that doesn't mean you are not in your present.. time is just a human mind's creation! you can make the present however you want.. you decide what you want to do now... that's your present! you wanna think.. think..
you wanna jog... jog...
don't pressure yourself that you are not doing your bit.. you are learning and analysing.. that is one thing hostile today! please don't shape yourself the world wants you to be... watch some nice movies... for me, kung fu panda helped! so did Amelie!


??y 22.06.2009. 13:59

How do you get yourself to stop thinking about the past and what might have been? And move on into the present and future?


Admin 22.06.2009. 13:59

Ok well i went through i really tough time last year, like one of the most toughest things i have ever had to deal with. I don't think i have ever been so happier in my life then what i am now. You have to create happiness; Save up money, Put something on Layby, or do something that you truly love. So that you have something to look forward to. Everything that has happend to you in the past has helped you become who you are and a emoctionally stronger person. I hate thinking about the past but sometimes it is good to see how far you have come and who you are. When the months or years go by you won't think about the past so much. Read a book before you go to bed because it will help ease your mind. Good Luck.


deepak57 14.10.2008. 15:01

Happy persons see towards future or past? What should be the source of happiness future or past though living in present period. i.e. future planning or repentance? thanks for star if given.


Admin 14.10.2008. 15:01

happiness lies in future not in past.........there is nothing in the past but one can make future perfect


Flame of Hope 11.07.2013. 05:29

Which virtues you favor most, and which ones you practically apply in your daily life? What benefits have you experienced from applying a particular virtue?
What other virtues you are thinking of applying to a certain degree in your life?

Virtues are the natural power of good within each of us and they are our reality. Focussing on virtues helps to free the path form obstacles so life´s opportunities become very clear. Life takes on a new dynamic - filled with strength, hope and possibilities.

1.Balance :
2.Brotherhood : Because you know the Father, every human being has become your soul brother.
3.Compassion : You perceive needs without judging and send out good wishes, silently.
4.Concentration :
5.Contentment : Just by writing a list of your achievements, you realize that you have all you need.
6.Courage : You have won your greatest battle: agreeing to change.
7.Creativity :Imagining new ways to build on the past, transform my present and inspire my future.
8.Delicacy : You make magic wands of your thoughts and actions to turn vulgarity into subtlety.
9.Detachment : You know that less expectations mean less disappointment.
10.Determination : Single-minded, yet flexible, I keep on moving with love and purpose towards my destination.
11.Discernment : When in doubt, you know you can trust your instinct.
12.Discipline : You obey the natural laws of the universe and receive in return protection, abundance, peace of mind.
13.Economy :
14.Enthusiasm : By listening to the child inside you, you give your soul wings to fly.
15.Faith : You remove any doubt that blocks your path forward.
16.Flexibility :
17.Freedom : You look without judging. Listen without being influenced. Enjoy without greed.
18.Friendship : You are your own best friend.
19.Generosity : I am overflowing, unselfishly contributing
20.Happiness : You receive the little miracles of daily life as winks from the Divine.
21.Harmony : When you let go, you see how life dances.
22.Honesty :
23.Hope : You know each trial is like a friend that helps you grow stronger. That?s why you always try again.
24.Humility : You are a spiritual warrior who lays down the weapons of arrogance and resists the pleasure of praise.
25.Lightness :
26.Patience : Knowing the tiny seed contains the future tree, you let your success grow in the soil of constancy.
27.Purity : Your inner beauty shines in your eyes. Each one of your qualities is a facet of the diamond within.
28.Respect :
29.Responsibility : Knowing your role is unique, you are the hero, not the spectator, in the drama of life.
30.Self-confidence : You accept your good points with humility and simply dare to be great.
31.Serenity :
32.Simplicity : You see the essentials in the charms of life and lighten your load by letting go of complications.
33.Spontaneity : Your spontaneity is like gurgling brook which quenches all thirsts and lightens burdens.
34.Strength :
35.Tolerance : Diversity glorifies the garden of life. That?s why you like different flowers in your bouquet of friends.
36.Wisdom : You balance masterly depth and childlike lightness and learn something new in each situation.


Flame of Hope

Admin 11.07.2013. 05:29

Non-violence i.e. non-infliction of suffering on any creature through mind, speech and the body. truthfulness, non-stealing, continence, abstaining from vilification, modesty, unhaughtiness, purity of body, mind and heart, contentment, endurance, holy association, spirit of service, sacrifice, charity, austerity, study of noble books written by great authors, humility, straight-forwardness, compassion, faith, discrimination, dispassion, forgiveness, patience, absence of malice, fearlessness, peace, etc.

Virtues and values give real meaning to your life. It enhances one's personality and stature. It gives lot of self-confidence, will-power, moral strength, divine wisdom, spiritual awareness, intellectual brilliance, etc.


Lava-Bean 29.12.2010. 17:52

Im in a relationship, but someone from my past has come back into my life. What should I do? I am not happy in my relationship but we live together so its tricky. The guy from the past ive known for 8 years and we still care about eachother alot. Should we just go out and see whats going on? Or is that still cheating? He is in a relationship too. Or should I just let him go? If we were meant to be together we wouldve been together for 8 years.


Admin 29.12.2010. 17:52

Keep the past in the past. Stay only friends. Sometimes it's better to remain friends than to lose them over a relationship, sometimes, well most of the time, friendships turned relationships end badly. Why don't you take care of your relationship you are in now, break up, don't settle for anything less than you're worth, and don't stay with someone just because you're afraid to be alone, don't use this guy you've known for 8 years as an excuse to end it with your present BF. Be strong girl. You're happiness is most important, but I would end it with present BF before hanging out with 8 year friendship with this other guy, you wouldn't only be cheating him, you'd be cheating yourself, because let me tell you, in my experiences when I was young and carefree, I got bit in the butt hard, taught me a lesson too. Karma is a B*!ch and she'll get ya when you least suspect it. Don't become the Homewreaker for both sides. I just ended a 10 year relationship, we're still good friends, always were actually, I guess we're a couple of the rare ones, but I would never have started something with someone while I was still in a relationship. You'll get treated or hurt by someone you truly care about in your future if you hurt this person, especially if he did nothing to deserve mistreatment. TRUST ME on this one.

Hope it turns out well for you in the end.


Point 91 09.09.2010. 02:37

How to think more positive about the future? I feel like I never have a good attitude about the future, and I seem to live in the past, in some more happy times, even though my life is awesome now, I still am not content, and always think something horrible is going to happen in the future. It takes away from any kind of content thinking, and I am sick of losing out on present moment happiness because of my negative thinking.Any advise would be much appreciated.Thanks.

Point 91

Admin 09.09.2010. 02:37

My first question is have ever been told that you have an anxiety disorder. Generalized Anxiety Disorder is a common problem which causes an individual to worry needlessly about many things. If you have this condition, it might be a good idea to get checked out by a medical professional so you can get some help with it.

You can also start to challenge your negative thinking. For instance, if you are worried that something terrible is going to happen to someone you care about, you can ask yourself, "Is that really likely to happen? My loved one is healthy, is careful when going out, and takes care of him/herself. She/She will probably be in my life for a long time."

If you find that your mind is going round and round and you can't get out of a negative loop, then talk to someone you trust who can help you get a different perspective.

You can also practice gratitude. Every night before you go to sleep, write down 5 things for which you are grateful. They can be small things such as sleeping in a comfortable bed. The idea is to switch the focus of your brain from something negative to something positive.

These are some things you can try to help take control of your negative thinking. I hope this helps you.


sistersnakegomez 20.01.2009. 05:49

How do you get over and past the mistakes you made beforehand? especially if you made bad decisions and you feel shame for the things you have done. What would you say if someone wants to bring up your past? How do you learn to forgive yourself?


Admin 20.01.2009. 05:49

How to Overcome Serious Regrets

There is no such thing as a life without any regrets. However, regrets can become either burdens that interfere with your present happiness and restrict your future, or motivation to move forward. If you find yourself overcome by regrets, here are some steps that should help you integrate them.


1. Determine what your regret really is. Do you regret something you did or something you didn't do? Something someone else did or did not do? A circumstance beyond your control? It is important to step back from the feelings of regret and identify exactly what the regret is.
2. Ask for forgiveness and make amends. Apologize for any harm you may have caused others, it does not kill to ask for forgiveness so give it a go! Forgive yourself. Forgiving others will make you happier. Be compassionate toward everyone involved.
3. Accept the circumstances. Avoid blaming others but rather take responsibility for anything that you could have better handled.
4. Deal with toxic relationships. Sometimes other people cause us to do things that leave us with serious regrets. Do you have a toxic relationship that needs to be addressed or severed?
5. Grieve for your regrets. When we feel regret, we relive guilt, sadness or anger over and over again. Allowing yourself to experience these feelings fully with the intention of moving forward can help you stop revisiting them.
6. Recognize what you have learned or gained. When you find yourself thinking of the regret, turn your thoughts to the things you have learned and the opportunities that are now yours - even if they are not what you would have preferred. There is always a lesson even in pain and sadness. Look for the lesson and focus on it instead of what might have been.
7. Write out a plan or agreement for yourself that identifies how you could avoid having this sort of regret in the future.

[edit] Tips

* Writing about your regrets, feelings, and frustrations can help understand why you did what you did and how you can learn from your mistakes.
* Talking to a trusted friend or family member can also help you identify fallacies in your thinking and give you the opportunity to sort through your feelings instead of merely experiencing them inside yourself.
* Visualize yourself acting and doing things as you move forward and leave your regrets behind.
* Seek out support groups or a counselor in order to discover how you can get relief from regret and guilt.
* Keep your situation in perspective. Remember that anything you've done is totally forgivable, even though it may seem unforgivable to you.
* Take comfort in knowing that we've all made really huge mistakes! You're not alone. If you only knew all the skeletons in people's closets, you'd know that we all do things we seriously regret at times. But, this too will pass (as they say).
* Should all else fail and leave you lacking the will to attempt anything ever again, just leave everything behind. Make every day a new beginning of your life, and past mistakes mere handicaps that you are born with. Your focus from now would be to shape your life into what you want.
* Whatever your past mistakes are, they can be redeamed and used for good if you are truly sorry. The mistakes you made can be used as teaching tools, to prevent others from making the same bad choices and getting into the same trouble you did. If you're truly changing you can work with teens and be a mentor. Sharing your story with others, with the goal of teaching, can be very healing. The rough things you went through, even if they were your fault, can even help others who have already made mistakes they regret, because you can be a friend to them which will understand how they feel and not judge them.

[edit] Warnings

* If you are feeling guilt or regret because someone abused you or sexually assaulted you, realize that you are not to blame! But, make sure that you tell the police (and your parents if you're young) so that person who hurt you will be stopped from hurting you and other victims.
* Do not over inflate the regret. Accept it as it is and do not make it bigger by dwelling on it.
* Don't rehash the event over and over by continually telling others what happened. You could actually become "addicted" to the sympathy!
* Discovering the source of your regret but not modifying your behavior to avoid the situation in the future will lead to repeated regrets, possibly of greater intensity.
* If at any point your regret turns into severe depression, withdrawal, self-harming, or suicidal thoughts, please contact a doctor, psychologist, counselor, psychiatrist, suicide hot line, mental health phone line or somebody that you trust completely. You are not alone!


Natalie 01.12.2012. 01:36

If behaviour and feelings are the result of chemical neurotransmitters, then what does that mean? Taking serotonin as a particular example, which influences behavior (among other things) and is thought to be tied to happiness, and conversely it's absence results in depression... I mean, if our feelings of happiness and self-worth come from a chemical imbalance, then what does that mean? Are we just robots? Can those feelings still be called genuine? What's the point of feeling anything or searching for happiness?


Admin 01.12.2012. 01:36

Natalie, please visit www.enewhope.org as Wayne Cordeiro may help you understand and possibly give you a satisfactory answer.

On a side note, do YOU think you are just a robot or someone special? I personally think that you are special and you have an important purpose here on this world at this moment in time. There will never be another person like you ever in the future, in the present, or in the past.


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