You’ve felt happiness before, right? That wonderful feeling you get from being around the people you love or making your dreams a reality? Well, that feeling has real power. Unfortunately, it doesn’t last forever, because there are things in life that also cause feelings of loss and disappointment. So, even when you are finding happiness, you might be waiting for the other shoe to drop.
But is there a way to keep finding happiness in order to hold onto that sensation? Is happiness concrete? Can it last? And do you have the power to make it last?
Truth be told, knowing how to be happy is different for everyone. Happiness depends on feeling satisfied, fulfilled, and inspired. And inspiration is personal. Finding happiness is personal.
Let’s take a look at some of the principles of finding happiness, and see if you can start to find everything you need to stay happy. Who knows? You may notice you can find it within yourself whenever you like.
Finding Happiness 101
People Matter – Surround Yourself with People Who Make You Happy
No one wants to go through life alone, but sometimes you can latch onto the wrong kinds of friends. It takes time, but stick with the friends who have your back. There’s actually research suggesting that as you get older, and you learn more about what really makes you happy, you tend to let go of the relationships that don’t hold value. In other words, happiness depends more on the quality of relationships in your life, not the number of people in your life.
A stable, concerned friend can bring so much more to your life than a fair-weather friend. In fact, having lots of acquaintances can be hard to manage. That’s one reason social media can seem so overwhelming – it can be too much to manage for some.
Interestingly, the latest research suggests that adults’ social networks get smaller as they age. But the quality of the close relationships they choose to maintain actually improves. It makes sense that in a busy world, you’d shed your less important and less satisfying friendships, and you’d prioritize emotionally satisfying relationships.1
Happiness and Productivity Go Hand in Hand
It seems logical that the happier you are within, the more you’d be able to get done, right? For one, you wouldn’t be preoccupied with thoughts on how to improve your life, job, or any troubling situation. Well, it turns out there’s research showing if you’re happier, you actually are more likely to be productive, too.
In an experiment involving almost 800 subjects, a rise in happiness led to a significant increase in productivity. The study found this to be true, regardless of gender.2
And in another study, research suggests implementing “happiness shocks.” That means you should listen to music that makes you feel good, as it can help you manage spirals between productivity and well-being. Implementing happiness shocks will definitely boost your mood and productivity in the short-term, but this method may also promote longer-term gains.3 It’s worth a shot, right?
Happiness for Longevity
Now, there’s also evidence pointing toward the fact that your well‐being (i.e.: overall satisfaction with life, the lack of regular negative emotion, and optimism) might cause better general health and lead to longevity. In fact, several compelling studies indicate that happiness influences longevity pretty significantly. In other words, more positive emotions can help predict longevity better than negative emotions.4
Great! So How Can YOU Find Happiness?
Believe it or not, there are certain actionable things you can do to make sure you feel more satisfied, fulfilled, and happy in your life. In fact, researchers have said that if you intentionally seek out positive mental states, and take the proper steps to improve the quality of your relationships, you can help yourself figure out how to be happy.
Interested in finding happiness? Use the following tips and see how the effect they have on your life:
Four Steps to Finding Happiness Within
1. Be Grateful
Did you know you can actually coach yourself into feeling satisfied and fulfilled? How? Well, it’s as simple as “being grateful.” That’s right, being thankful for friends, family, and the things in your life can really add up.
To go one step further, you can keep a gratitude journal. Write down some of the things in your life for which you’re most appreciative… so that they’ll be easier to remember. Gratitude can make those around you feel happier, too. Don’t be afraid to share the love.
2. Make Your Time Count
One of the best ways to create meaning in your life is to volunteer for a cause, or causes, that are close to your heart. Generosity is contagious and giving your time or energy to something that makes the world a better place can make you feel better about your place in it.
3. Be Present
Don’t just seek pleasure. Once you obtain it, stop. Even if you’re running to the office or to your kid’s soccer game, tell yourself to stop. Literally, stop what you’re doing. Then, just observe it. You’ll likely feel a smile creep across your face, or see some loving exchanges between the people around you. Stopping and observing allow you to catch your breath and count your blessings.
4. Glass Half (Or More Than Half) Full
Now, this will take some work, but try to practice optimism. Make “hope” your new favorite word. Ask yourself, “Am I viewing this through a hopeful lens?” Often, people beat themselves down, convincing themselves that the worst case scenarios are the most realistic ones. Don’t do this! Express optimism for good outcomes. Even if you don’t get exactly what you want, you’ll have given yourself time to feel the possibility of a good outcome… which might keep you in the game long enough to try try again.
In The End…
You don’t have to wait to feel happy. You can put yourself on the path of optimism today. By practicing gratitude, you’ll bring about feelings of being satisfied, fulfilled, and happy. In fact, you’ve already done more than others would have… just by reading this article. Congratulations on taking the first step. You deserve it.
For more health wisdom from Eastern philosophies, keep reading here:
10 Organizational Tips to Help Your Day Run Smoothly
10 Self-Care Rituals For A Healthier Body And Mind
5 Ways Meditation Can Make You Happier (and improve your health!)