verb (used with object), habituated, habituating.

  1. To accustom (a person, the mind, etc.), as to a particular situation: Wealth habituated him to luxury.
  2. to frequent.

verb (used without object), habituated, habituating.

  1. To cause habituation, physiologically or psychologically.


One of the most fundamental principles of happiness is staying present; to keep attention focused on the moment, in the body, and consciously awake. That we are not particularly good at this as humans is one of those ironies that convinces, if there is a god, he has a twisted sense of humor.

 Because, the gulf between knowing something intellectually and realizing it meaningfully can be vast. Even this detail – that recognizing and enacting  truths are markedly different things – can send one into a spiral of metacognition from which it is not always easy to recover.

In this vein, and in an effort to support my best chances as happiness while simultaneously outsmarting myself, I’ve taken to plastering my surroundings with little reminders about what contentment is built out of. The admonition to sleep, to laugh is situated under prompt to find joy in the ordinary, adjacent to the suggestion to leap an build wings on the way down. A visual map of the future I am building myself every moment is charted over a wall entire and is the first thing I see when I awaken each day.

And when I actually note these things, my breathing slows, I quieten into my body, and I am instantly happier. Yet like anything to which one is constantly exposed, these objects meant to catch my attention and focus my intentions have become a kind of visual background noise. Though part of the practice is to add something new each week that it doesn’t become so familiar as to slip from my conscious consideration, it is still all too easy to look without seeing; to notice without perceiving.

Yet how delightful the project has been; to surround myself with gorgeous possibility and relentless encouragement. Never before had I considered that happiness was a practical act undertaken each day with deliberate intent. Only recently have I been able to disengage the idea that feelings inform our state of being, but do not dictate it entire. I may feel sad but it does not have to mean I am sad. That being vulnerable and emotionally animated means I am moved easily and imbued with concomitant flexibility and resilience thereby.

Much like the pleasure of warm air on my skin is heightened by pausing to notice it, so too is the value of any experience where I can dwell long enough to attend to my responses. While this process can be uncomfortable at times, it is always enlightening, and usually results in revelations I might never have encountered otherwise. I am empowered and fortified by this practice in every case. The trick then is to make a habit of noticing when I do not notice.

Seems perfectly simple…