Tal Ben- Shahar, a premiere teacher of positive psychology defines happiness as “the overall experience of pleasure and meaning.” When we are happy, our lives feel meaningful and we feel deeply connected to something, much larger than ourselves.
Happiness is something everyone wishes to achieve in life. We’re all guilty of wanting to “find” happiness as if it exists somewhere outside of ourselves. We fill our lives with things we’ve been told will make us happy and rely on external factors to make us feel happy.
The secret to happiness isn’t in the books we buy on happiness, it isn’t in the clothes we wear, or the things we possess. The secret to happiness lies inside of us. Here are a few tips that can help us on our journey to creating true happiness and fulfillment within our lives.
Start your day in conversation with a Divine power.
When we start our day communicating with God, a Higher Power, Supreme Being, however we choose to address them, we are deepening our connection to them and inviting them into our day. Whether you’re just talking out loud, praying, or even writing, use this time at the beginning of your day to express gratitude, reflect, and to ask for what you need before starting your day. One conversation can make a huge difference in how we feel and set the tone for how our day will go. All it requires is for us to dedicate a couple of minutes each day to connect with a divine power.
Cultivate loving relationships.
The relationships we have with others help shape us to be who we are. There are four key relationships that play a role in our overall happiness. Our relationship with God, our families, the world, and with ourselves. Loving relationships greatly benefit our mental, emotional, and spiritual well-being because they foster feelings of support, inclusion, and connection. Identify your “village” or people you know will uplift and support you. Make sure you pour as much into them as they pour into you. Smile at strangers, and never stop making connections with others. Life wasn’t meant to be experienced alone and our happiness depends on us to use every opportunity to surround ourselves with love.
Be kind to yourself.
It’s so important that we remember to always be kind to ourselves. There is enough out in the world telling us who we should be, and what we aren’t and if we conform to these ideas we are only robbing ourselves of happiness. Knowing and appreciating ourselves at the deepest level of our being is key for us to be happy. When we are guided by our inner truth we are able to live with passion and with peace, no matter what happens. It’s also important to remember how powerful our words are and use our words to speak out of love when we are talking about ourselves. When you feel yourself saying something negative, try to replace it with something positive and watch how this practice alone can transform your relationship with yourself.
Always do your best.
We were not created to be perfect and we cannot go through life thinking that we will be and do everything perfectly. Striving for perfection is not our highest calling, doing our best is. We won’t always make the best decisions in life, we may not always get everything on our to-do list done in one day, and that’s okay. Doing our best means giving our whole heart to any endeavor we set out on and living out each moment to its fullest potential. When we release the unrealistic expectation of perfection, we create space for us to be human.
“The meaning of life is happiness. The challenge is to know what makes true happiness. Happiness is not something ready-made. It comes from your own actions.”- Dalai Lama
Remember, happiness is a choice and unhappiness is a habit. We have to choose happiness in every situation and beware of the things we do that stops it. By taking care of our spirit, being kind to ourselves, loving others, and always doing our best, we are cultivating happiness and fulfillment within our lives. Happiness is an inside job, and there are many ways we can achieve it once we understand that it starts with us.