How many quotes and affirmations can you call to mind about what happiness means? Probably many. We’re told that happiness is ‘a journey not a destination’ or that it’s only ‘a state of mind.’ We want to find that fleeting feeling and keep it consistent in our day-to-day lives, but it doesn’t always seem easy or even possible. Sometimes, all we need, however, is a positive change in perspective.
The key to experiencing happiness, and most importantly, staying happy over time, is not about listening to what others tell us—but how we view our own lives and approach the situations that arise each day. It’s finding what brings us great joy and identifying what gives us those feelings. In turn, it allows us to let go of negativity, fear or regret that frustrates us and impedes our ability to thrive and grow.
How can you find this individual, unique-to-you happiness? It’s a process of transformation, focused on progress not perfection. How do you start? Get to know what happy people already practice
They Know Life is a Balance of Highs and Lows
You can’t experience the joy of sunshine without a little rain, right? While studies have recently questioned whether or not perpetual positive thinking really improves our health—there are definitely benefits to understanding that along with the great moments in life, there will be days, too, that we definitely don’t want to do over. Make peace with knowing there will be the good, the bad and the in-between. Remember to look at the whole picture and not just the view in the peaks and valleys.
They Set Realistic Goals for Themselves
It’s important to know how much you can handle. Like experiencing life’s highs and lows, setting realistic goals takes practice, but is of paramount importance to finding happiness. Working towards a goal, and then finally accomplishing it—or at least making it farther in the journey—feels good. The key is to not get overwhelmed by taking on too much, too quickly. Small steps lead to big accomplishments; be brave! Keep tweaking your strategy until you make it right for you—it may take time but it’s worth it.
They Find Peace in Quiet Moments
Being comfortable with yourself is vital to creating quietness within your mind. When our lives are chaotic or ultra-stressful, our minds tend to be too. Allow yourself to indulge in solitude—take a few moments of ‘me time’ to meditate, reflect, or just sit quietly. The world is hectic enough without always feeling overwhelmed on the inside. We owe it to ourselves, as well as the ones we love, to tune into our very best self all of the time. Building internal confidence and peace within, will allow that light to shine bright from the inside out into the universe.
They Trust Themselves to Make Good Choices
Life is full of decisions, and, inevitably, we won’t always make the right ones. As we get older and wiser, we do begin to find, however, that we have the power to make good things happen to us through finding balance, creating realistic goals and finding inner peace. Once we begin to allow those characteristics to take root, our probability for making ‘the right choice’ becomes much higher—we begin to respect ourselves, and our ability to lead our best life. We can then take that responsibility seriously and when faced with trouble or adversity, find the best resolution, quickly and efficiently.
They Allow Themselves to Experience Joy
Having happiness within your grasp in one thing, but truly opening yourself up to joy is different. Pema Chodron, the world’s foremost female Buddhist teacher, has ‘Four Keys to Waking Up’ that allow us to create a more blissful experience for our lives. This fifth and final step becomes an act of self-reflection and of practice. Identifying and appreciating each and every positive change opens us up to an immense potential for a lifetime of happiness; the essence of joy.
What does it all come down to? Always allow yourself to be on the lookout for small signs along the way that you’re doing things right—and be grateful for them. Every day is a new and wonderful chance to find a little bit more light that will illuminate your life; helping lead the way along a long and winding road.
You can make happiness a habit in your life! Just do your best with what you’ve got. That’s the magic of happiness—even when it feels far away, just one mindful step, bold move, or sometimes even a seemingly insignificant decision, can actually turn into something amazing and monumental in our lives.