Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes me happy.
How can we learn to be happy, not just for a fleeting moment, but for everlasting time? Is that even possible? To maintain a certain degree of happiness so that you just become even happier during the good times?
I’ve realized that it’s three key things that make ALL people happy.
1. Quality relationships and feeling loved, wanted and cared for.
2. Having accomplishments and feeling successful.
3. Having a certain level of comfort and financial stability.
But then I dug even further and wondered if I am relying on external factors for my happiness. I can’t necessarily control the people in my life or the way they act and treat me on a daily basis. I can only control how accomplished, successful or financially stable I am to a certain extent. All I can do is put my best foot forward, try my hardest and hope for the best. So if these three things are the basic ingredients to happiness and are [somewhat] related to external factors beyond my control, what aspects of happiness do I control?
In many people’s eyes, I am loved and cared for. I am accomplished and successful. I am somewhat financially stable. I have a job. I may be living from check to check and at times panicking about how I will make ends meet, but I have a roof over my head, don’t I? I have food to eat and clothes to wear, even a car to drive. So where does any unhappiness stem from?
Perspective, which stems from thought.
Negative thoughts lead to a negative perspective.
So how can I achieve a lasting, permanent, deep seated source of happiness?
1. By consistently helping and giving back to others.
2. Remembering and reminding myself of the positives.
3. Living in the present moment – not daydreaming about the future or longing for the past.
4. Taking the time to enjoy the little things – good weather, fresh air, listening to someone laugh, watching a dog enjoy the breeze from a car window, etc.
5. Being present in all you do. Taking note of the way things taste, smell and make you feel. Being absorbed and immersed in life to the fullest capacity by heightening your senses.
6. Learning to silence your inner voice of ideals. An idealistic mentality will always lead to disappointment.
7. Being persistent. Happiness is a choice and a MUSCLE that must be strengthened, exercised and used in order to grow stronger.
8. Being kind to yourself. Allowing room for error and embracing failures.
9. Gratitude for what you have.
10. Having more childlike fun, often. Ride rollercoasters while screaming your head off. Play with paint and clay. Dance in the rain instead of rushing to get out of it. Skip [yes, in public] if you feel like it!
11. Understanding that EVERYONE is struggling with similar situations as yourself at one point or another in their lives. Understanding that we ALL struggle with loneliness, relationships, finances, etc.
So the next time unhappiness or loneliness strikes, I hope someone out there finds this post useful.
Here’s to more happiness, good health and inner peace in 2014!