“I just want to be happy!” Whether you have said this, or heard it from someone else, it’s a pretty common theme in our current culture. Everyone wants to be “happy.” The only problem is they don’t know what this means or how to make it happen.
Happiness comes from the activities we engage in and attitude we hold. Learning to fill up our “half-empty glass,” finding value and opportunities in setbacks, and intentionally engaging in positive experiences can all be ways to live a happier life. Consider some the questions below to gain more insight into what happiness means to you. When are you most happy? What do you value most in your life? What do you believe the key to happiness is? Who is the happiest person you know and why? Discovering the answer to these questions will give you much needed awareness and direction on your journey to happiness.
Keys to happiness
Happiness is an emotion, and just like all other emotions it’s fleeting and impermanent, however there are certain activities and ways of living that can help us create a happier life. Below you’ll find some keys to happiness.
1. Having a healthy mind and body
- Healthy mind
Do you have strategies for reducing stress? These can include everything from stretching, exercising, deep breathing, disputing negative thoughts and beliefs, creating more balance in your life, and having moments of amusement and humor.
- Healthy body
A healthy body can come from increasing your consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables, eating whole grains, limiting animal fat, taking vitamins every day, and cutting back on sugar and caffeine. This will not only improve your emotional state but will give you greater energy and confidence.
2. Feeling good about yourself
Happiness ultimately comes from within. We all have positive traits and things to be proud of. Feeling good about ourselves can come from using our signature strengths and developing greater self-awareness about our personality, skills, talents, and values. As we develop greater self-awareness about who we are, we can begin to accept where we are in the present moment and experience a sense of peace, serenity, and contentment. This will lead us to have more moments of joy and happiness.
3. Facing problems honestly
We are not going to be problem free for our entire life, and happiness can’t protect us from life’s woes. This doesn’t mean focus on problems, worries, and regrets, but it does mean we can hold realistic expectations and meet whatever may happen with positivity. We can handle more and do more than we realize. When we respond to life’s difficulties with a sense of hope and responsibility, we can work through these effectively and become a better person because of it.
4. Being satisfied and appreciate what you have
I recently wrote a post at PsychCentral that discusses the idea of how money relates to life-satisfaction. The research I read explained that it’s not how much we have, but our perception of what we have. This is similar to many domains of life. Our expectations and perception is a major factor in the level of satisfaction we have. It’s possible to never be satisfied despite countless accomplishments, possessions, and opportunities. If you want to amplify your happiness, learn to appreciate the little things, and be grateful for what we have.
5. Focus on others and have good friends
Do you have friends and family that affirm and encourage your positive qualities? What about people who you can help and offer support to? Friends and family bring a deep sense of joy and communality, and can increase positive energy and that which is good in us. Relationships offer us a chance to do kind acts for others, and to receive support when needed. Reaching beyond ourselves and serving others will offer a sense of meaning and compassion.
6. Enjoying life
Do you enjoy your life overall? Do you find there are meaningful experiences and times when you really cherish what you do? Finding moments of pleasure and having fun are all important to increasing happiness. We all have the ability to experience greater happiness, but this is only possible by seeking outside hobbies, spending time with friends, and finding moments of inspiration and excitement. Look for the adventure and meaning that fills you life and start engaging more fully every day. Acting intentionally and taking responsibility for our happiness if freeing and gives us greater control of our feelings. You can begin to develop your own plan to being happier according to your personal needs and values. Practice taking control of your happiness today by using your strengths, being content with what you have, engaging in life, and building positive relationships. Photo credit: tibchris