The practice of happiness
Happiness is a basic human need; everyone deserves to be happy. Sonja Lyubomirsky, in her 2007 book, The How of Happiness, describes happiness as “the experience of joy, contentment, or positive well-being, combined with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile.”
Happiness, or being happy, is not often easily achieved. Let me explain by asking you this: Do you set tasks or goals in the pursuit of happiness? Do you start your happiness sentences by giving yourself a deadline? For example; “If I had …, I would be happy” or “When I accomplish …, it would make me happy?”
The pursuit of happiness starts from within. Happiness exists within each of us. And here’s the truth: we are the catalysts of our own happiness. So, to be happy, you must know what makes you happy. You have to discover that place in your heart that makes you leap for joy. And that takes courage. The courage to embrace the opportunities that life brings your way.
Happiness asks you to be brave, to actively challenge yourself to embark on journeys that may scare you, and to be fearless in your pursuit of that which brings you joy.
When we allow others to decide for us, permit the voice of fear to enter our minds, play it safe or prioritise pleasing others ahead of ourselves, it is then that we lose our way in the pursuit of happiness.
The key is to be authentic and true to ourselves.
Here are my top four tips for actively practising happiness:
- Life is a journey, not a destination
Life itself is the great journey. There is no destination. Be conscious that each moment of every day is a part of this journey and that each moment has the potential to fulfill you. Our family life, work, hobbies, morning walk, time with friends – all these are unique opportunities to experience moments of happiness. Hidden within these simple daily activities lies the meaning of our lives. Simply appreciate what is in your life today. Practise finding joy today. Practise feeling compassion today. Experience today to its fullest potential.
- Celebrate your uniqueness
Your uniqueness is your greatest gift. Applaud your own ‘me-ness’ and that of others. Just being who you are, and authentically being yourself, brings a special gift to the world.
- Personal reflection
Have conversations with your inner voice – that voice that reminds you of who you are and what you need to be fulfilled. Listen to your intuition. Prayer, meditation or just spending quiet time with yourself, by yourself, will facilitate an awareness of a deeper sense of meaning and purpose in your own life.
- Every moment counts
Practise finding simple moments of joy in the everyday. Notice how many daily experiences bring you pleasure. Think of happiness as something to be experienced and enjoyed many times.
Author of Mindpower, John Kehoe reminds us to practise happiness rather than to search for it. He believes that happiness is a choice; if you want to be happy, look at your life and find reasons to be happy. Likewise, if you want to be unhappy, then you will find many reasons to be unhappy.
I’d love to hear what brings you happiness and am excited to share many happy conversations with you this year.