Happiness is elusive to many. Some think happiness is something that just happens, while others are of the opinion that happy people must work for it. Is happiness something that can be achieved, or is it a lifestyle? Can we actually make ourselves happier?
The answer is probably a bit of both. Experts in positive psychology say that while some of our happiness is predetermined by genetics, environment, and life circumstances, forty percent of our happiness is under our control. Most of the world's truly happy people engage in a combination of activities that invite more happiness into their lives.
Focusing on the things you want
Self-exploration is necessary in order to discover our life's purpose, something that happy people already know. Once a purpose has been identified, these happy people set about living that purpose to the best of their ability, and with as much focus and dedication as possible. As yourself: do you know your purpose in life and if so, are you living it?
Follow Your Bliss
As soon as happy people know what they want in life, they do their best to pursue it, even if it takes a long time or doesn't manifest itself in the way they expected. Happy people understand that it is the pursuit of our dreams which makes the lives of humans so amazing. Are you following your bliss to the best of your ability?
Setting Goals You Can Achieve
Living out a dream usually begins with having a vision, and then turning that vision into a plan, which then gets broken down into smaller, more achievable chunks. Completing smaller goals allows you to see the big picture, but not get overwhelmed by it. What one small task can you complete today, tomorrow or this week to bring you closer to living your dream?
A huge part of true happiness comes from being at peace with whatever happens in any area of your life. This is not laziness; rather, it's the knowing that you have done your best, and are simply allowing the situation to be as it is.
Pessimism appears to be the default for many people in the world today. But expecting the worst from life is little more than a cop-out. Happy people are in the business of practicing optimism. They know that things may go differently than they had originally planned, but they visualize the best possible outcome.
Look for the Lesson
When something appears to have gone wrong or seems to fail, happy people look for the lesson. They understand that every experience in life has something to teach us. When we lose or fail, we can often learn more than when things go the way we had planned. When you experience challenges, losses, or obstacles, you can choose to view them as opportunities to evolve as opposed to looking at them in a negative light.
Keeping Your Blood Sugar Balanced
The health of our bodies has a profound influence on our ability to be happy. In particular, blood sugar levels affect mood. If we are addicted to sugar and processed foods, we are not in control of our energy or our happiness levels. Sugar does give a pleasurable rush, but this disappears as soon as sugar is metabolized. Then, blood sugar levels plummet, making us crave even more sugar and its short-lived mood and energy boost. If you feel like you need a sugary treat to feel happy, it may be time to ask yourself whether you can find happiness in places other than your food.
One of the simplest and most powerful, effective and important keys to health and happiness is to express gratitude for everything in your life. This includes any event or person which has caused you pain, as it is these events and people who help us to become who we are. What are you grateful for in this moment?
Physically active people are happy people. Exercise gives our body many benefits in the form of increased energy, a high and healthy metabolism, and increased libido. Exercise helps us stay fit and relieves tension. All of these are ingredients for a happy life.
It's hard to be happy when you are sleep deprived and stressed out. Making sleep a priority is key. A vital component of quality rest is giving yourself a cool, dark and comfortable place in which to sleep. Strive for 7-9 hours of sleep per night, going to bed by 11pm for optimal rejuvenation. During the day, rest your body and brain with Yoga Nidra or Restorative Yoga.
Cherish Time Spent With Friends
The world's happiest people enjoy multiple healthy and close friendships. Friends give life a richness that no amount of money can buy. Making time to cultivate at least a few close relationships will help you experience and express true happiness.
A hallmark of happy people is that they have some type of spiritual practice. Something which allows us to connect with the source of all life in a meaningful and powerful way is essential to our well-being. The type of path chosen could be anything from Yoga, dance and prayer to nature, religion and cooking. The point is to choose something that makes you feel connected to something beyond yourself.
Working hard is definitely an ingredient for happiness. But so is playing hard. Are you making time every day or week to do those things that you truly enjoy, simply for the fun of it?
Following Your Own Beat
Last but not least, happy people are in tune with their inner guide. They consider the opinions and wisdom of others, and learn from every teacher and friend. But ultimately, they follow the beat of their own drummer, and live their truth.
Everyone's path to happiness is unique. Discovering what makes you truly happy can and should be a journey, and not a destination. Because while you can plan everything out, and some planning is useful to help you follow your dreams, true happiness is about your perspective on life. Happiness is not something you do, but rather something you become.
This post is contributed by Ron McDiarmid, who is the founder of My Healthy Living Coach. Having had health challenges along the way Ron was keen to share the research and learning he gathered. Through MHLC this continued into a current presentation of healthy lifestyle choices and how to implement them. Check out his website at www.myhealthylivingcoach.com.