Happiness is real and can be constant and lifelong. It's not a person, place or thing. Happiness is a mental state that you can attain and maintain using these seven keys to happiness.
"1. Identify What Being Happy Feels Like
"Every time you smile at someone it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing." Mother Teresa
Happiness is an emotional state. It's the opposite of unhappiness, obviously. However, not being unhappy doesn't guarantee happiness. When you're happy, you may be feeling other positive emotions such as contentment, gratitude, and joy.
You're the only person who knows what feeling happy is for you. As you think about feeling happy, you may have times in your life where you were happy flash into your mind. Hold onto those feelings and make a catalog of happy times with the associated feelings.
2. Accept that Being Happy Can Happen When You're Alone with Your Eyes Closed
"The ultimate source of happiness is within us. Not money, not power, not status. Some of my friends are billionaires, but they are very unhappy people. Power and money fail to bring inner peace. Outward attainment will not bring real inner joyfulness. We must look inside." Dalai Lama from The Book of Joy
Being happy can happen without being in your happy place, being with your happy people or pets, or having any special external thing you've tied to happiness. Happiness is a mental state, and you have the ability to control your mental states. You can even control the chemical processes in your body that cause you to feel the emotional outcome of happiness. Simply by thinking about laughing for example, your body releases chemicals that cause you to feel happy.
Once you accept that being happy isn't a condition of having something special, doing something special, etc., then you have the ability to be happy anywhere, anytime, under any condition.
3. Choose to Be Happy
"If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy, and inspires your hopes." Andrew Carnegie
Make a conscious choice that you will be happy. Remind yourself of this choice throughout the day, especially when you're feeling negative emotions.
This doesn't mean that you ignore your external world. It means that the external world doesn't choose your mental state. You do.
4. Give Yourself the Right to Be Happy
"There's a difference between thinking you deserve to be happy and knowing you are worthy of being happy. Your being alive makes worthiness your birthright. You alone are enough." Oprah Winfrey
We all have the right to be happy. You do, too. If you make your happiness conditional on everyone else being happy, then you have set up a condition that will never be met.
Everyone else can choose to be happy, and they also have the right and ability to be happy. Accept that this is true and give yourself the right to be happy.
5. Focus on the Positive
"Happiness is a choice that requires effort at times." Aeschylus
It's much easier to be happy when you focus on positive thoughts, experiences, people, etc. You may have to choose whether being happy is more important to you than being around a negative person in the beginning, for example.
6. Eliminate Blocks to Happiness
"The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly." Buddha
You will eventually be able to be happy under almost any circumstance, but that doesn't mean you should have to deal with negative experiences constantly. Negative experiences are blocks to happiness that you must overcome in order to be happy.
For example, it's easier to be happy when your physical body is healthy. As you feel happiness more and more, you will help your body to be healthy. Habits that undermine physical health undermine happiness. That doesn't mean you never have a piece of cake because cake is bad for you. It just means you don't eat more than a piece of cake occasionally.
Perhaps you have negative people around you who put you down. It's harder to be happy when you're feeling bad because you've had negative things said about you. Remind yourself, "I choose to be happy. I am happy." Then, take the positive action required to maintain that happiness. Remove yourself from the negative environment, state your own positive to cancel the negative, etc.
7. Accept that Perfection Isn't Required, Only Practice
"I don't believe in failure. It is not failure if you enjoyed the process." Oprah Winfrey
You don't have to be perfectly happy. You can practice being happy, and if you sometimes fail and feel negative emotions, then that's OK. Those are times when you remind yourself that you're practicing. Identify what caused your unhappiness, then ask for the best possible positive outcome. It's OK to make mistakes and not be perfect when you're learning something.
In a perfectly positive world, you wouldn't have much reason to practice being happy. In the real world, you'll have many opportunities to practice. Just remember, the end result of your practice is a happier you and a happier life.
What Are Your Keys to Happiness?
Do you use any of these seven keys to happiness to attain and maintain your happy state? What have you found that works best for you? Have you found other important tenets that you would add to these seven keys to happiness? Please share your insights in the comments!
Also, if you like this post, you may also be interested in