Happiness doesn’t depend upon who you are or what you have; it rather depends solely on what you think.
Happiness: The One Goal We All Have in Common
Whether we realize it or not, lasting happiness is something we all strive for. Yes, we have these big goals and aspirations, and yes, many of us probably want that perfect relationship, that huge mansion along the coast, that fancy luxurious car, and of course more money to spend. In fact, some of us might even want power, fame, and influence.
Yes certainly, to one degree or another, we all want some or all of these things. And on the surface, it may even seem as though we want them for different reasons.
You may, for instance, want money because it gives you a sense of power. Or maybe you just want it because it provides you with needed financial security, or quite possibly because it allows you to help your family and friends. These are all, of course, legitimate reasons for wanting more money. However, deep below the surface — when we pull back all the layers of our deepest desires — we all really want just one thing. And that one thing is happiness. 🙂
Yes, of course, happiness for you might mean love, friendship, success, good health, peace-of-mind, or simply living a life without stress. We don’t call these things “happiness” however happiness is always the result. As such, no matter what it is you’re striving for, no matter what goals you are working towards, and no matter what you call it, happiness is always the underlying objective.
The Secret to Finding Lasting Happiness
We all follow our own unique path. This is a journey of ups and downs, of victories and defeats. It is also a journey where we experience euphoric highs and demoralizing lows in an attempt to find more happiness in life.
Have you ever considered that happiness is actually far more meaningful when it remains somewhat elusive and impermanent? Therefore, this journey of emotional highs and lows is actually the key to experiencing true happiness in life. But why is it this way?
We are this way because the “act” of living through the emotional lows makes us value the alternative experience. It’s because you experience setbacks that the victories seem more rewarding, and it’s because of your struggles that you come to appreciate what it means to have true peace-of-mind.
The contrast between what makes us happy and the alternative is what makes happiness so appealing to all. Nevertheless, many people often struggle to find true happiness. They struggle because they never take the time to make room for happiness to flood into their life.
Happiness, of course, isn’t so much something that we “do”, it is rather something that we “are” and “experience” as a result of the person we have become and the perspectives we have adopted over the course of a lifetime. Yes, sure you can obviously do certain things and they will make you happy. However, long-lasting happiness essentially comes from within; it comes from who we are and how we perceive ourselves, the world, and the people that surround us. Happiness is therefore very much a way of life and a choice we make about how to live that life each and every day.
But why is it that some people experience more happiness than others? And why is it that on the surface the happiest people rarely have it all? In fact, why is it that some people who seem to have all the best that life has to offer constantly feel miserable and dissatisfied? Why does happiness elude them?
How Happiness is Just a State-of-Mind
It seems as though happiness is never dependent upon outside circumstances. In fact, it just seems as though it just doesn’t rely on external factors. For instance, more money, a great relationship, a luxury car, a beautiful home, a wonderful holiday are nothing more but bandages that soothe an aching soul.
Yes, more money will certainly make people feel happy. But their happiness rarely lasts. In fact, once having “more money” starts feeling normal, people often divert back to their baseline emotional state. And for most that doesn’t translate into a great deal of happiness.
We all have a baseline emotional state. This translates into a general level of happiness that we experience day-to-day. For some people that baseline state is high, while for others it’s quite low. Yes, we move through emotional ups and downs throughout our lives, however, once those experiences are done with, we divert back to our baselines state of happiness.
What all this means is that nothing external can truly make us happy or unhappy over the long-haul. Our happiness rather depends on us… on YOU. Your happiness is, therefore, nothing more but a state-of-mind, and that state-of-mind is dependent on your level of self-worth as well as upon how you interpret the events and circumstances of your life.
This is why for many people, happiness always remains elusive. Yes, they experience temporary moments of happiness throughout their lives, however, this happiness is always dependent upon external circumstances and factors, and therefore never lasts.
But hope is of course not lost. Everyone can find more long-lasting happiness in life, however, these people must first make room for happiness to come into their lives. Only then can they experience what it truly means to be happy.
Making Room for Happiness in Your Life
So, happiness is a state-of-mind that doesn’t depend upon what we do, but rather upon who we are. However, in order to make room for happiness in your life there are certain things that you must do and also certain things that you must refrain from doing.
Making room for happiness requires that you follow a certain set of guidelines. Abiding by these guidelines helps align your focus and energies in more optimal ways, which allows you to begin inviting the “experience” of happiness into your life far more readily each day. Here are these guidelines in no particular order:
Boost Your Energy
First of all, happiness requires ENERGY. When we feel energized it’s much easier to experience happiness. On the other hand, when we feel lethargic and tired, happiness will often elude us.
As such, in order to make room for happiness in your life, you must first and foremost optimize your energy and lifeforce. Do this by eating healthy, by getting enough sleep, by drinking plenty of water, by exercising, by breathing deeply, and by not overworking yourself throughout the day. Sometimes all it takes is a simple smile to get your day started on the right track. 🙂
Set Empowering Goals
Happiness requires fuel. Just like your car needs petrol, happiness also needs ingredients to help it thrive in your life. Abundant energy is, of course, one of those fuel cells. Another, fuel cell comes in the form of focusing your energy on your talents, passions and the pursuit of your most meaningful goals.
What this essentially means is that you must live with a sense of purpose. In other words, your life must have meaning. Everything you do must be performed with passion, zest, and energy. It has to be as though you are working for a higher cause that is larger and greater than yourself. Only when you live in this way will you invite true and lasting happiness into your life.
Keep Good Company
True and lasting happiness also comes from other people. It comes through the bonds and connections we build with others; it comes when we reach out, help, and contribute to improving the lives of those around us.
Yes, people are considered “external objects”, and of course true happiness doesn’t need external validation. However, the bonds that you create with other people show you what true happiness can be like. The foundations of these relationships prove to you that happiness is within your reach.
Live in the Present Moment
Happiness is not something you will find in the past, nor is it something you will find through thoughts of a better future. It is rather something that can only be found in the present moment. In fact, it’s something that is often found in the small and seemingly insignificant things that we often take for granted.
Learning to be mindful of the present moment helps you make room for happiness in your life. No longer are you strung up over what could have been; no longer are you regretting lost opportunities. Instead, you are choosing to make the most of this very moment. After all, it is only “this very moment” that you can control. You can’t change the past, and you can’t manipulate the future, but you can make the most of this moment. And that’s where true and lasting happiness is found.
What Not to Do…
People often sabotage their own happiness in a plethora of ways. In fact, many people close the door to happiness through self-sabotaging behavior that leads to more misery and pain than they can handle. For instance:
- Overreacting emotionally to events and circumstances.
- Making commitments and promises that you can’t keep.
- Talking to yourself in negative, critical and unhelpful ways.
- Obsessing about what you can’t control.
- Constantly comparing yourself to others.
- Persistently judging people and their behavior.
- Excessive eating, drinking, and over-indulgence in various addictions.
These are just a few examples of how people sabotage their own happiness each and every day. And the sad part is that they don’t even realize what they are doing. They habitually indulge in these behaviors and wonder why they feel so miserable and unhappy.
Happiness will never be a part of who you are if you don’t initially take the time to make room for it in your life. Indulging in these behaviors just doesn’t allow happiness to thrive. In fact, these behaviors repel happiness. And the sad part is that most people don’t even realize the degree to which they are hurting themselves. 🙁
What It Takes to be Truly Happy!
So, given all that we have discussed, what does it take to experience true and lasting happiness? Well, how about we take a hypothetical look at the habits and qualities of the happiest people in the world. These are people just like you and me, however with one major difference: They are ridiculously happy. 🙂
Yes, these people have their ups and downs in life, just like everybody else. However, their baseline state of happiness is through the roof. In other words, it’s at the higher end of the happiness scale. As such, these people experience happiness far more readily than most. But what actually allows them to experience this level of happiness?
First of all, happy people have a deep level of belief in themselves. They believe in themselves and in their ability to get things done. Yes, they have their doubts just like everybody else, however, their doubts are overshadowed by key qualities that shape their behavior each day. These qualities include:
On the surface, there doesn’t seem to be anything that stands out. However, when we take a closer look we notice that each quality is of value in some way that helps fuel their happiness.
For instance, gratitude helps them appreciate the little things in life; forgiveness prevents them from holding grudges; generosity allows them to be of service to others; honesty means that they live with integrity and honor; persistence and spontaneity means that they live with no regrets; self-discipline suggests that they diligently focus on what they want; optimism suggests that they never get disheartened when things don’t go their way; laughter means they don’t take themselves too seriously, and so forth.
Add to this list the fact that these people are caring, nurturing, confident, creative, proactive, and love what they do for a living, and you start to get a clear picture of what it takes to experience more happiness in life.
Happiness is however also about the company you keep. The happiest people understand that their happiness is influenced by others. As such, they choose their friends wisely, making sure that the people they spend the most time with naturally help elevate their own levels of happiness.
Finally, happiness is about fulfilling the Six Human Needs, but most importantly it’s about growth, learning, and development. When we are learning and growing as a person, we naturally feel happier and more fulfilled. This is where a commitment to lifelong learning is essential if you seek to experience true and long-lasting happiness in your life.
There are of course many more habits and qualities that could be discussed here that naturally lead to the experience of more happiness and fulfillment. However, nurturing these qualities can take time, and developing new empowering habits isn’t easy. But that certainly doesn’t mean that you can’t begin experiencing more happiness starting today.
The Key to Happiness: Discovering Everyday Pleasures
Just imagine for a moment you could start feeling happier today. Or how about instantly at this very moment? Here within this final section, I wanted to list the little things we can do each day that will naturally make us feel happier.
Yes, certainly many of these things seem rather small and insignificant. However, that is in essence what true happiness is all about. It’s about finding the meaning of these small and insignificant things where true happiness is found. In fact, in many ways, happiness is actually found within the things that we often take for granted.
I did of course mention within an earlier section that true happiness comes from “within” and not from external sources. And the “list of pleasures” that follows actually helps you to find that source of happiness within yourself. In fact, taking action on these things will naturally help you to become more mindful of yourself and of the moment. This will then give you a deeper understanding of yourself, which will subsequently shift your perspective and view of life in more optimal ways. All of which will lead to a greater sense of happiness through more peace-of-mind.
So, let’s not delay this any further and jump right into this list of everyday pleasures that I HIGHLY recommended you indulge in. 🙂
- Take a walk outdoors in nature or along the beach.
- Just spend time floating on water with no cares in the world.
- Watch a sunset or sunrise with someone special.
- Watch kids or animals playing and being silly.
- Partake in yoga, meditation, stretching and/or exercise.
- Take a relaxing shower or warm bath to freshen your body and mind.
- Get a professional massage and completely immerse yourself in the experience.
- Watch a movie you love that inspires and feeds your passions.
- Just dance and sing uncontrollably.
- Snuggle in bed with someone you love deeply.
- Listen to inspiring music or read a great book that makes your heart sing.
- Indulge your taste buds by drinking a glass of wine, by eating chocolate, or any other food you are craving at the moment. However, don’t just gulp it down. Relish every mouthful as though it were your first and last.
- Learn something new that helps you build your knowledge and expertise.
- Take regular breaks from your work to refresh your mind, body, and spirit.
- Spend some time telling jokes and sharing funny stories with friends.
- Lovingly cuddle your partner or your child.
- Do what you can to help make other people’s lives easier and better.
- Smile kindly to a stranger.
- Tell people how much you love and appreciate them. Also, thank them for being there for you.
- Spend time getting organized to free up your time so that you can focus on these little pleasures more often. 🙂
Happiness is found in the little things that we typically indulge in daily; within the things that don’t cost us a fortune, and within the things, we take for granted. That is where true happiness lies.
These are of course just a few ways you can start discovering everyday pleasures and begin inviting more happiness into your life. I’m sure you can think of many more.
It’s kind of amusing to think about our pursuit of happiness over a lifetime. We work so hard to try and invite it into our lives, and yet all this time it’s just been sitting there right under our noses in plain sight. 🙂
Time to Assimilate these Concepts
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Gain More Knowledge…
Here are some additional links and resources that will help you learn more about this topic:
- 5 Scientifically Proven Ways to be Happier at Work @ Time
- 5 Scientific Ways to Instantly Brighten Your Day @ Huffington Post
- 7 Scientifically Proven Ways to Have a Happier Morning @ Huffington Post
- 7 Simple Ways to Feel Happier Every Day @ The Telegraph
- 10 Powerful New Insights from the Science of Happiness @ Huffington Post
- 10 Scientifically Proven Ways to be Incredibly Happy @ Inc.
- 15 Scientifically Proven Ways to be Happier @ Inc.
- 16 Scientifically-Backed Ways to Boost Your Happiness Almost Instantly @ Huffington Post
- 25 Science-Backed Ways to Feel Happier @ Greatist
- 25 Scientific Happiness Hacks @ CNN
- The New Science of Happiness @ Time
- The Science of Happiness @ Scientific America
- The Science of Happiness Turns 10. What has it taught? @ Time
- This is Scientific Proof that Happiness is a Choice @ Huffington Post
- Timeless Wisdom and the Science of Happiness @ Psych Central