The pursuit of happiness is what we all want the freedom to engage in. It is even written in the declaration of independence of the United States of America. All we really want, once our basic needs have been met, is happiness! Having established that we ask the next question, what will make me happy? Love, a fulfilling career, adventure, money? The perfect combination of all those? That can be a little more difficult to answer, and some people spend a lot of time and energy chasing happiness by pursuing success of various life-style goals. If you don’t feel happy however, you most likely will not be able to achieve happiness by trying to set life goals and achieving them. If you think you need one million dollars, you might find that it didn’t really help when you achieved it. Maybe you need a million more? Maybe you need more power on top of it? It is a never ending spiral with potential for great harm to yourself and others.
The absence of certain things such as family, a somewhat fulfilling job, or the ability to pay the bills will of course limit ones ability to be happy, so it does make sense to focus on such things to a certain extent. But a lack in these areas have a bigger effect than abundance does. In other words, as long as you are not struggling financially, you have the same potential for happiness as a billionaire. So if happiness is not a result of success in various aspects of life, what is it a result of, where does it come from? From the happiness paradigm! A simple decision to be happy! Most of us can find many reasons to be happy every day, but we instead focus on the things we don’t have. We convince ourselves that we can’t possibly be happy since we don’t have millions of dollars, big breasts or celebrity friends. Brilliant marketers spend a lot of money creating the myth that we need all these different things to make us happy, when in fact we only need to fill our basic human needs, and decide to be happy. Our cave-dwelling ancestors only needed a warm safe cave, the company of their tribe, and food. Today we do need a lot more things in our lives, and I am happy that we stepped out of the cave and invented the smartphone, but we have to disconnect man-made things from happiness, including money.
The second step to get into the happiness paradigm is to forget about happiness. Don’t worry about it, don’t wonder if you’re happy. You’ve already made the decision, so you are happy, no need to worry about it anymore. In stead focus on building habits which will enforce your happiness decision. Habits around gratitude, positivity and kindness.
Happiness is not a goal one can plan for and achieve, but rather a side-effect of a life full of gratitude, positivity and kindness!
Thoreau said it like this: “Happiness is like a butterfly, the more you chase it the more it will elude you. But if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder”
What you should turn your attention to is constant learning and growth. If you continue to challenge yourself to learn new things and become the best you can be, happiness will flow naturally through your being.
Below are some habits which will help instill the happiness paradigm in you:
- Gratitude. Get in the habit of expressing gratitude daily, verbally and in writing. Tell people that you appreciate them, thank them! Write in your journal every day something you are grateful for. By expressing gratitude, you are going to charge yourself with positive energy.
- Further build your positive energy by remembering past positive experiences. If you find yourself dwelling on negative ones, process them and realize that they are no longer significant. Meditate to clear your mind of negative memories and emotions.
- Try to get in the habit of making positive statements in general. In stead of saying “that won’t work, nobody is going to click that link” say “that’s is a good idea, but I think we can come up with something even more compelling”
- Practice kindness. Do something nice for your family, your friends or random strangers.
- Do something to help the environment: Recycle, save energy, carpool. Studies show that people who act for the good of humanity or nature, feel much higher levels of happiness.
- Lean to appreciate the same simple things our caveman ancestors did: A sunset, a bite of food, the warmth of a family member.
- Get out in nature. The most wonderful source of happiness is the source of life itself. Enjoying a walk in nature, taking in it’s beauty, breathing in fresh air, that is something to be happy about!
- Exercise. Apart from helping you stay physically healthy, exercise provides great mental and emotional boosts which promotes happiness.