Everyone seeks happiness. Not everyone finds it. In fact, not everyone can even define it! Is it a state of mind? Would you call it a feeling, vibe, or mood? Is happiness a destination or a journey? Can it be both? The variety of meanings for this three-syllable word seem limitless. No matter what “happiness” means to you, there’s good news.
Despite having at least half of our happiness determined by biology and life events, we can still cultivate a happier life through practice. Choosing new behaviors and new perceptions can lead us toward new attitudes.
We can seek out ways to live in harmony with our individual needs and values. With that in mind, here are…
6 Steps to Increase Happiness in Your Life
1. Do the simple things that make you happy
Let’s start with what already makes you happy. What causes you to smile and laugh and feel fulfilled and enlightened? Start a journal to document whatever activities, events, people, etc. make you feel your happiest. Increase happiness by turning this journal into your personal, daily to-do list!
2. Practice being happy
Life offers endless opportunities for us to feel angry, sad, lonely, or depressed. Our beliefs create our attitude. Our attitude strongly affects our experience of reality. Our reality influences what we focus our attention on in any given moment.
Let’s say your Internet connection is temporarily down. You could huff and puff and stew and pout. However, you could also read or exercise or call a friend or take your dog for a walk. Each time we’re faced with a downer type of situation, we can think about ways to turn it into a happiness opportunity. This isn’t always possible, but with practice, it gets easier.
3. Keep your body happy
Basic self-care is an excellent foundation for a happier life. Feeling good inside your own skin is a great place to start. So, why not make all of you happier? Self-care may include:
- Making healthy eating choices
- Keeping regular sleep habits
- Engaging in daily exercise and/or other physical activities
- Learning relaxation techniques like meditation
4. Get to know yourself
Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Correctly answering this question could spare you an awful lot of unhappiness! Just because someone else defines happiness as dancing the night away in a loud and crowded dance club doesn’t mean you have to agree. There’s nothing wrong with being a bookworm or homebody. Increase happiness by tuning-in to your needs and do your best to meet them.
5. Don’t be fooled by social media
Everyone on Facebook is happier than me! That seems to be the unspoken message behind all forms of social media. Here is one big social media secret to keep in mind: All those selfie-posting smiling faces have their dramatic ups and downs, just like you do. The fact that they only post about the happy moments may be a sign that they’re choosing to focus on happiness! Sharing your ups with your social media contacts is a great way to spread your happiness too. What would it be like to stop seeing it as a competition? Learn to feed off the positive energy wherever you find it.
6. Accept that sad times make happiness possible
If we were happy all the time, we wouldn’t call it “happiness.” We would just call it “life.” How could we appreciate being uplifted if we’ve never felt down in the dumps? Without those difficult and painful experiences, we’d have nothing to measure our happy times against.
Judge yourself less for being unhappy and enjoy your happy moments more... whenever and wherever they come.