The majority of people are confused about the difference between happiness and peace of mind. If the average person is asked what they want in life their answer will be happy. Far fewer people respond that they want inner peace. These two states of mind are certainly closely related, and yet they are different and independent. Here we will take a look at the differences between happiness and peace of mind.
What Is Peace Of Mind?
To be at peace requires complete acceptance of how things are without any desire for anything to be different. This is one reason why peace of mind is different from happiness. Happiness is often the pursuit of worthwhile desires and ambitions, whereas peace of mind is the ability to let go of those ambitions and desires. The achievement of peace is the ability to simply accept things as they are.
The common perception is that peace represents dullness. This is a misunderstanding as this state is one of calmness rather than dullness. In fact, this state can put you in a good place to then experience more happiness. Often, when someone is always over-analyzing the situation or going over past events, it creates stress. If they’re always thinking about the future, this too can lead to discontent.
The human condition often creates discomfort in order to motivate a person into an action that will make things better. Some examples of this are if you get hungry, then you can experience discomfort until you’ve eaten. If you need to use the restroom, then you will feel discomfort until you’re able to do so. In the same way, discontent can drive a person to create a better situation for their own life or the life of their family.
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But this discomfort gets twisted and leads a person to no longer being able to be at peace. It is only when they can return to the ability to simply accept things as they are that they can feel at peace. When someone is at peace they are better able to experience happiness.
What Is Happiness?
This is a feeling that comes largely from a person’s satisfaction with their current circumstances. If a person is living a fulfilling life and they are reasonably happy with the progress they’re making then they will generally feel a sense of happiness. When someone is failing to have the kind of life that they want or find fulfilling, then they will have a sense of unhappiness.1
In general, the feeling of happiness will come and go as a person achieves or experiences things that they are happy about. The important factor about this feeling is that you can choose it under any and all circumstances. When a person changes how they view happiness, they have more control over it and can keep the feeling alive longer. An example of this would be the difference between someone who looks at a difficult situation as a challenge and another person who looks at it as a burden.
Practicing Yoga And Meditation Can Bring More Inner Peace Which Can Then Lead To Greater Happiness
Modern times are full of stress and yet meditation and yoga are things that have been practiced since ancient times to bring about a state of peace. When someone is at peace, they’re better able to pursue those things in life that bring them happiness. Learning to take time out to practice yoga and meditation can substantially enhance a person’s ability to achieve peace of mind and a state of happiness.2
Many of us find that we can never turn off the clatter in our minds. Our minds are always racing with thoughts of this and that and another thing. We think about our past and we consider all the different choices we could have made, imagining our future, we might experience a sense of discontent and a lack of satisfaction. The practice of yoga and meditation gives us the ability to quiet the mind and to focus only on the here and now. Even in a study done at Harvard University, it was found that those who could focus more often on the here-and-now were far more at peace and experienced more happiness than those who thought more often of the past and the future.
A study reported by the US government demonstrated that happiness and peace often come from acts of selflessness. There is some indication that a certain level of selfishness can produce some happiness, but doing good for others seems to be the predominant act that brings greater levels of happiness. Practicing yoga and meditation to quiet the mind and focus on the here and now and doing good for others are some of the best ways to achieve happiness and peace of mind.
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