Who doesn’t want happiness – that feeling of elation, joy, and playfulness? Think about what your life would be like if you never experienced those feelings… or, only one monotone run-of-the-mill feeling.
What is happiness – really? Let’s not compare happiness, joy, peace, and then some. Let’s just simplify it. Happiness has a thread in all that is positive, and it has many dimensions. Below is a few definitions.
- A state of well-being and contentment
- A pleasurable or satisfying experience
- The emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what on desires
- A state of happiness or felicity
- A source or cause of delight
Other interchangeable synonyms for happiness include bliss, joy, gaiety, pleasure, ecstasy, glee, exhilaration, cheerfulness, pleasure, and gladness.
So again, imagine not feeling any of these big emotions… I don’t know about you, but I want to experience pure happiness in all its many delightful dimensions.
Happiness is more appreciated when we are coming out of sadness, pain, desolation and depression. Most of us feel a daily range of emotions, depending on what is happening in life. All emotions such as happiness, sadness, and others are constantly in motion. So it stands to reason that we can’t expect to feel one emotion all the time.
To aim to be completely happy, all of the time is unrealistic, as we need to experience a variety of emotions to remain grounded and engaged with life.
Could something more than material wealth make me happy?
Today, it is easy to see that material things don’t seem to bring the happiness people long for. There are many studies supporting that wealth doesn’t equate to overall happiness, as well as there are a significant number of people reporting depression. The notion that material things don’t buy happiness sometimes baffles people. They’ve said, “I have everything, I shouldn’t be depressed, yet I’m not happy.” Some people, who do acknowledge having everything, feel guilty for not being happy, after all, they say, “I have nothing to be depressed about; there are others that are really going through some horrific things.” “What’s my problem?”
By now, you know I’m not talking about happiness in the way of a constant feeling of joy brought on by outside influences, but a sense of contentment, peace, and satisfaction.
So how do we get all those dimensions of happiness… joy, ecstasy, and exhilaration?
Well, only chasing happiness won’t work. It is when people chase material items or substances that provide momentary pleasure, hoping to achieve lasting happiness that those undesirable outcomes emerge– anxiety and depression manifests, and we end up creating the world we are running from. Let’s say no to that way of creating happiness.
Happiness can be developed and nurtured, by building a foundation to support it. Below are a few suggestions that can help you build a foundation that promotes happiness.
1. Lay a solid foundation
Let’s face it… a healthy body is a start. With this being said, I’m not asking you to become an Olympic athlete or a model. Simply move your body, and nourish it so it can perform at its best, whatever that might look like for you.
2. Become an expert in you!
Get to know yourself! Become friends with yourself and love yourself. You won’t know what you want from life and others if you don’t know yourself.
I once heard that everyone should have a degree in his or herself… sound strange? It only means that we need to know truly ourselves. I whole-heartedly believe in this. I’ve seen over and over – a person asking another for this or that only to find out that wasn’t it. This complex phenomenon can destroy healthy relationships with others and yourself.
To know and love myself is incredibly liberating… discovering what I want and need – living within that framework, allows me to ask for what I want, refuse what I don’t want, choose and negotiate flexibility, and stay true to my needs.
3. Gain a sense of control over your life
This is a tough one for some, as some people do struggle with something that has happened or is happening to them. While we can’t control every situation, we can control how we prepare and respond to each situation. Reducing your stress surrounding the situation can substantially reduce the negative outcome of the situation itself.
4. Find purpose and meaning in life
Without a sense of purpose in life, we can end up feeling, worthless, unmotivated, and can make life, in general, feel pointless. It may not be easy to find your purpose, but it is always worth it. So find your purpose and passion and pursue it, and you will find meaning.
5. Create and enjoy pleasure in your life
So many forget this one and go through life unconscious of the beautiful pleasures that surround us. If we’d just stop to smell the roses…even simply enjoying the smell coffee in the morning, the softness of your bed, or the coarseness of the sand on the beach. You get the drift…enjoy the everyday things.
6. Think positively
Too many people beat themselves up with their thoughts. According to research, we are what we believe – we become our thoughts. So, we don’t have the luxury of negative thoughts.
7. Recognize conflicts as an opportunity for growth
As hard as it sounds, conflicts/obstacles give us the opportunity to become our best selves and to become stronger than before.
I now make an earnest attempt to love life… enjoy its beauty, embrace its energy, and indulge in its pleasures, because I felt the depths of the darkness and all it robbed me of.
8. Create more of what you want in life through gratitude
Focusing on gratitude contributes to a shift in the brain from an adverse perspective to a positive outlook and a promotion of good feelings in the body. Thoughts are chemicals that fuel your mind, body, and spirit.
9. Connect with others and with life
Other people increase our resiliency and happiness. Securely connected people are more apt to bounce back from adverse situations and are also happier in life! Build connections with people and life. Say yes to that lunch with a friend…
10. Give back
Giving back is a little-known secret. Giving of your time and wealth leaves you with of feeling connection and contentment.