The impact of our environment on our happiness
We hear so often that happiness lies within and that external things don’t ultimately bring us happiness. I don’t disagree, but is that really the full picture?
Somewhat recently I started working with a wonderful spiritual mentor called Klaus – a former monk whose mission is to help high-achieving humans reconcile living spiritually with their striving nature and the modern world.
In one of our discussions, Klaus explained to me that “light and space make us happy”. That intrigued me since those two things are mostly external. I have certainly experienced being more creative, fulfilled and productive when working in my spacious, well-lit home office in Bath overseeing beautiful nature compared to my previous dark and tiny office in a co-working space in Shoreditch.
So to what extent does our physical environment impact our happiness?
A quote to keep in mind
“The environment affects the thinking, but it doesn’t generate it. There’s a difference between generating and affecting.
The thinking will get you to a better environment, but that requires awareness – knowing what is conducive of that creative thinking for you . And awareness will also help you make the most of that environment, appreciate it and be happy for it. Awareness generates change and happiness.”
– Klaus M. Nielsen, former monk & spiritual mentor
How to develop awareness of our environment
At the end of each day, try noting down up to 3 things that contributed positively and negatively to your state of mind. Notice how much of that has to do with your physical environment.