Happiness can’t always be easily explained, but one thing it’s not is a destination. Happiness is a choice of seeing the good, beauty and opportunity in every moment. It is living an inspired life with a hopeful perspective. It is the birds singing in the morning and the air blowing through the leaves of the trees in late spring. Happiness is living your life completely present in this moment.
Many people come to me with the question, “How do I achieve happiness?” What first must be understood is that happiness is not an achievement. It is a state of being. If you find yourself to be unhappy, you must ask yourself why. What do you perceive to be the thing keeping you from happiness? It is usually a much different culprit than people think.
We often seek satisfaction through money, things or situations. I often hear people proclaim that once they have more money, a better job, love, etc., then they will be happy. However, I rarely see long-lasting happiness for people once their goals are attained. What they don’t realize is that they could have been happy while on the journey to attaining their desires. Usually once their goal is attained, they are only satisfied for a short time before finding themselves unhappy again. The key is identifying what lies within that needs healing. Find the root of the problem to heal the wounds and restore more wholeness.
Beyond problems that need to be addressed, happiness is having equanimity and hope. It’s about not judging the situations in your life and having faith that things are how they are meant to be — not good or bad. They just are, because that is the nature of the Universe. Accepting things for what they are is the truth of the situation, not our narrative of the circumstances. Understanding the truth allows us to live in the flow of our lives without resisting. Happiness is a mindset and a lifestyle.
Here are some tips for a “practice of happiness”:
• Know yourself. Know what you are feeling and why. Keep your thoughts and words in good order. What you focus on expands and what you believe becomes your reality. Meditation is a great tool to help you connect with yourself, be present and practice mindfulness.
• Be joyful. Find things that fill you with pleasure and make time to do the things that bring you bliss. Make more time for your passions. Celebrate the little things in life. Have a childlike perspective, and make time for play and have fun!
• Stop comparing yourself to others. Your life and journey are unique to you. I can guarantee that you do not have all the information on someone else’s life. You are not behind anyone else, and no one “has it all together.”
• Practice forgiveness and compassion. Give someone the benefit of the doubt and don’t jump to conclusions. Let go of negativity and slights. Have good boundaries and respect other people’s boundaries. Show people the same courtesies you wish to receive. Hate and anger will only poison the individual harboring that energy.
• Understand you are not a victim of life. Every challenge is an opportunity for growth, learning, and healing. When you see the opportunity and beauty in the pain, the world opens to you. Take inspired action to move beyond obstacles.
• Make lifestyle changes. Get off social media, put down the smart phone, turn off the television. Instead of watching other people live or post about their lives, start living yours. Go on an adventure, play an actual game and connect with people in person. We are social creatures; we need connection, and research shows we are not getting the right connection through devices! It needs to be personal. Exercise, being in nature, and eating real, whole foods also play a huge part in our psychology.
There is no secret to happiness. It is right in the open for everyone to experience. It is your natural state of being and it’s just waiting for you to reconnect with it.