Holding on to Happiness in an Unhappy World

By: Sara Bowman


I am happy. Plain, simple, all-you-could-ever-want happy.

And it’s not because I have all I could ever want; it’s because I stopped wanting. Happiness isn’t something that I found, it is something that I allowed through contentment.

My entire life, I was overcome with desire and want. I think it came from growing up low on the lower middle-class scale. I grew up with all that I needed, but not always all that I wanted. So when I got older and began working, I spent my money as soon as I earned it, subconsciously wanting to quickly buy all of the things I craved in case the money stopped.

From the moment I was able to comprehend ideas, I was constantly being told what else to want. Whether by friends, family, society or the media, I was always being told what else I needed to have in order to become who I needed to be. I was surrounded by my own inadequacies.

One day, after my quarterly closet purge to make room for my shopping trip later that day, I stopped to look at what I was doing. Not looking at what was in my ‘yes’ and ‘no’ pile, but the fact that I could even have a ‘yes and ‘no’ pile in general. And then I thought about the rest of my life. Not just my possessions, but my loving husband, my career, my health and my life as a whole. I was finally noticing that I had more than I honestly ever thought possible, and it was all staring me right in the face for the first time in 28 years.

That was the moment where I found contentment and happiness in what already was. I saw the path I had traveled and how far I had come, and I realized that I sealed my own fate, and it was a beautiful one.

That moment opened every other door that I was keeping shut. I let myself pursue yoga teacher training, search for a new career, begin a meditation practice without feeling ‘silly’ for sitting still in a room by myself, and I simply let myself be. I had finally seen what I was capable of, and it truly was greatness. This allowed me to trust myself and my journey.

You may or may not have your own ‘AHA!’ moment on your path to personal happiness, but there are a few important practices that I use that can help get or keep you there: 

  • Have an Attitude of Gratitude! A gratitude journal can be an amazing tool to help put life in perspective. I’ve never been much for journaling, so I practice my gratitude in the moment. I try to fully notice my surroundings and stay present. Then, when I see a beautiful sunrise or feel my cat purring, I spend a few moments truly appreciating the experience. 
  • Let the Past GO! It happened, it helped form a piece of you, and now it’s gone. Let it be gone and look to your bright future!
  • Unapologetically Love Yourself! You are amazing and have done amazing things. Start seeing the strength within you, even if it’s been hidden for a while. Be confident in your convictions, for they define you. By exuding your personal strength, you begin to only attract those who support you fully. 

Everyone has the ability to choose a happy life. No, that doesn’t mean that every moment will be overflowing with excitement at the marvelous miracle of life. Moments, days and months will still be boring, overwhelming, joyous, sad, unbearable, stressful, amazing and average…but moments are not a life.

You are your life, and you are amazing.

About Sara Bowman: 

Sara initially came to her mat strictly for the physical benefits, which of course she found. But more importantly she found mental and spiritual benefits through what became a very committed practice. Through her yoga practice, Sara has learned more about herself during the past 2 years of practice than she has during the previous 27 years just living life. Yoga has helped her de-stress, reduce anxiety, stay present and find true joy in day-to-day life.