Updated: Jan 8
Happiness is one of the most pleasant moods we can experience. It is often the most desired one as well because when we are happy, we experience cheerfulness and are more energetic. So how can we create this feeling for ourselves?
Unfortunately, happiness does not work well as a goal. People who focus on happiness as their life goal find out that over time, they can’t maintain happiness. The two categories of people who try to set this as a goal are 2-year-olds and addicts. Let’s face it, neither of those are great roll models for living a great life.
The reality is that happiness is better understood as a by-product than as the primary goal. In other words, it is a great result of activities that provide a better life. So, what are the activities that produce happiness?
Healthy Supportive Relationships: Engage with people around you who are encouraging and helpful towards you and your life goals. These are people who you can be vulnerable with and who will tell you the truth.
Live in Reality: Set realistic goals for yourself and give up perfectionist expectations of yourself, your world and others.
Live Free: Stop allowing others to control you and your decisions. Make the right choices for yourself because they are right choices.
Find Something To Do: Competent work produces a positive self-image and elevates our self-worth.
Cultivate Resilience: Learn to bounce back after failure and self-regulate your emotions.
Give Without Expectations: Being generous with our gifts and our time, causes our bodies to release Oxytocin (the feel-good hormone) which will result in an overall elevation of mood.
Find a Purpose Larger than Oneself: Finding meaning in life, helps us transcend past “is this all there is?” Define your purpose and work towards it.
The ironic reality is that the happiest people in the world rarely, if ever, wonder if they are happy, or how to be happier. They focus their energy and time on living well instead of trying to find and hold onto an emotion.
Here is to 2020 being the year that you are able to focus on living well and receiving the wonderful by-product of happiness!
Trish Pauls, MA RP Registered Psychotherapist