What does happiness mean to you? There’s a lot of searching going on these days for the elusive emotion of “being happy” –where do you find it, how do you create it, even what it actually is.
But I’d like to share a little secret with you — happiness is not just for a lucky few who were born with it. Neither is happiness something you can reach out and touch or put in the refrigerator and take a sip when you need it. Happiness is not found on a beach in Hawaii (really!) or in a perfect body. It’s not even in that perfect relationship that are sold to us in the movies. Yet from the images bombarding you every day, it’s easy to make the mistake that happiness will arrive on your doorstep when you have the latest car, the best clothes, a fancy home, isn’t it? It’s easy to get caught in the trap of thinking that if you could just find the right person, they’d arrive with a box of happiness attached to his/her hip. But all this does is convince you that happiness is something to be found outside of yourself. And that’s where you get off track. Because the secret is that happiness is simply a by-product of creating and living a life that works, a life that you enjoy — whatever that is. Happiness comes from doing what you want, where you want to do it, and with whom you want to do it with.
The reality is, happiness starts by believing you have control over your life; and grows by making choices that will give you a sense of wellbeing and satisfaction. Happiness comes from deciding that you *will* go to school for 8 years if that’s what it takes. That you *will* organize your life until you can afford to move. And that YOU decide who to hug, how much to smile, what music you listen to, and who you hang out with.
Happiness is about making the best choices you can about who you spend your time with, how you make your living, how much you learn, what you put into your body. Because when you feel good about the space you’re in, when you’re with people you admire and respect and they admire and respect you, when you’re working on a project that’s meaningful to you — happiness will shine right through. And that’s no secret.
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The pursuit of happiness is one of the basic elements of human existence. We want to be happy. So why are so many people unhappy then? Most likely people are not happy because they are missing one of the six keys to happiness.
The most important key to your personal happiness is determining that you will be happy. For many people, their personal happiness is not a priority in their life. Too often, we put the happiness of others before our own. While this may please our children, spouse, or boss, this is not the path to happiness. This doesn’t mean you should make yourself happy at the expense of others, but you must remember that the reverse should also not be true — your happiness should not be sacrificed to make others happy.
Once you have determined to make your pursuit of happiness a priority you need to determine just what it is that makes you happy. Spend some time reviewing the happy times in your life. Think about memories that make you smile or activities that make you joyful. Can you find a common element or theme? Then that is one of the keys to finding true happiness for you.
Now that you have identified what makes you happy you need to engage in that activity. Perhaps you need a creative outlet? Join a writing group, take an art class, or learn an instrument. Do you need physical activity? Then find a way to get back into a sport you love or start a new one. All that is necessary is that you find a way to reconnect with this key element.
However true happiness for most of us is not dependent solely on finding that one key. For most of us, we also require special people in our lives to be happy. Perhaps you have lost touch with someone important and can reach out to them? Or perhaps it is simply a time to plan some special time with family. It is important to our own pursuit of happiness to stay connected with those we love.
Another essential to finding true happiness is to give of ourselves as well. Helping others in both small and large ways can help make you happier and more content. You might even be able to find a way to combine giving and engaging in an activity that makes you happy. For example, if you love to make people laugh you could organize a community talent show as a fundraiser for a local charity.
Finally, make a list of all the aspects of your life that do make you happy. So many of us get down because we dwell on the negative, but usually there is something about your life that makes you happy. Make a list of these items so you can have a quick mood enhancer when you feel down.
The pursuit of happiness does not have to be challenging or arduous. Finding true happiness can be as simply as determining, identifying, engaging, connecting, giving and reminding yourself of the 6 keys to personal happiness.
Decide today to stop chasing happiness, and instead choose three things that you love to do, that contribute to your feeling of well-being and satisfaction. Schedule time for them, every day, if possible, every week at least. It doesn’t have to be for a long time, just 10 minutes a day will help you create the happiness that you’re looking for. Guaranteed.
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