Being happy requires more than just making the choice that “I choose to be happy”. Sustaining happiness in your life takes commitment, courage, a deep understanding of who you are and knowing your purpose in life; and this does not happen overnight. It is a life long journey.
By choosing to embrace happiness into your life, you are taking responsibility for your own contentment.
“Participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world. We cannot cure the world of sorrows, but we can choose to live in joy.” Joseph Campbell
When you live a happy life, you have more resilience; your confidence and self-belief flourishes. And this enables you to successfully navigate your way through the curve balls (the tough times) that life throws at you.
Some of us are born smiling and some of us are not. We all have a Happiness Set Point that determines our overall well-being. Our happiness in life oscillates depending on what life events we are facing at the time. Our happiness can be significantly be diminished when we face traumatic events in life.
The good news is that although our general mood levels and well-being are partially determined by factors like genetics and upbringing, a good portion of our happiness is within our control.
The 5 strategies below are actions you can adopt so you can live a flourishing and resilient life where you are able to face those “tough times” in life from a position of strength and of course happiness.
1. Determine What Happiness Means to You
“The greatest discovery of any generation is that a human can alter his life by altering his attitude.” William James- psychologist.
The first step in the journey to having a happy life is to determine what is important to you and what you value in life that brings you joy and happiness.
You don’t have to have all the answers, however you do need a sense of who you are and how you want to live your life.
Happiness can only come into your life when you like who you are, and you are choosing to be the best YOU can be. Until you have attained that state of belief in you, living a happy life will be at times in your life completely out of reach.
Yehuda Berg describes how the words that we use can either empower us or destroy us. Be aware of what words you are choosing to use to describe who you are:
“Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity. We can choose to use this force constructively with words of encouragement, or destructively using words of despair. Words have energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate and to humble”. Yehuda Berg
2. Understand How Happiness Works for You
“Happiness is not a feeling it’s an action. In order to feel happy you have to do happy” Ben C. Fletcher D.Phil., Oxon
We all have very different personalities and this means that for some of us, we find it easier to be happy. A lot of research has been conducted on the relationship between happiness and different personalities and it is very complex.
There is, however, one aspect of happiness that most researchers agree with and that is, the level of happiness in a persons life depends on their vision of what a “good life is”. Once a person works this out, then it is easier for them to identify what they can do to bring happiness to their life.
Happiness is a consequence of what we do and how we behave. Trying to make yourself think happier is not going to work; taking action and doing something different in a more a positive way is more likely to bring happiness into your life.
Here is a test that you can take to help you better understand what happy habits work for you: Happy Habits Quiz
3. Choose to Be Around the Right People
“The people you surround yourself with influence your behaviors, so choose friends who have healthy habits” Dan Buettner
Surround yourself with the people who reflect the person you want to be. Having positive and healthy relationships in life is the key to living a happy life. You do not want to spend any time with people who suck the happiness out of you.
Positive and healthy relationships are where you find the support and strength to face those tough times in life. If you don’t have positive relationships in your life, the chances of having happiness in your life are not that great.
4. Commit to Helping Others
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
Having a sense of purpose is important to having happiness in your life. In essence, the greater sense of purpose we feel, the happier we become.
Helping others, acts of kindness, compassion and service to others increase our wellbeing and sustains happiness in our life.
5. Choose to Take Care of You – Mind Body and Spirit
“Self-care is a deliberate choice to gift yourself with people, places, things, events, and opportunities that recharge our personal battery and promote whole health—body, mind, and spirit.” – Laurie Buchanan, PhD
A commitment to being the best person you can be is important to sustaining happiness in your life. Taking care of your body, mind and over wellbeing is crucial to you being the happiest person you can be.
If you don’t have a consistent type of physical activity in your life, then your mental energy, your emotional energy and your spiritual energy are depleted — in fact they are in the negative.
Your ability to deal with the tough times in your life is seriously compromised when you do not have the physical and emotion stamina to manage these setbacks.
Here’s a useful guide to help you better care of yourself:
Living a happy resilient life is within your reach.
Having a solid foundation built on the premise of living a happy life is the key ingredient to successfully navigating your way through the tough times in life.
The above 5 strategies will help you on your journey to maintaining happiness in your life.