The search for happiness informs every decision we make in life. Everyone wants to be happy, but unfortunately, few experience lasting happiness. I would like to share with you the following five steps that have helped me to achieve deep and sustainable happiness. Perhaps, they will help you, too!
Step 1: Look for Happiness Within
You’ve likely heard the Eighties’ country hit Lookin’ for Love. The chorus goes like this:
I was lookin’ for love in all the wrong places
Lookin’ for love in too many faces
Searchin’ their eyes, lookin’ for traces
Of what I’m dreamin’ of
Replace the word love with joy, and you have a pretty good description of the common approach to finding happiness. Happiness is not a thing that can be found outside of ourselves, it’s a quality of the mind, and therefore can only be found within. The first step towards lasting happiness is to look for it within.
Step 2: Make Happiness a Choice
“If you do not choose to be happy, no one can make you happy. And if you choose to be happy, no one can make you unhappy.”
– Paramhansa Yogananda
Each of us has the power to choose happiness at any given moment. Although we can’t control our outer circumstances, we can control our reactions to them. Make up your mind today to be happy even in the most challenging situations. You may not be able to change your mental habits overnight, but with time and practice, you can create a habit of choosing happiness.
Step 3: Avoid the Happiness Thieves
“For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson
For better or worse, our thoughts create the realities we live in. They shape our lives and produce the very outlook through which we view the world. Look back on the past twenty-four hours of your life. Which thoughts led to happiness, and which ones did not? Those that lead to negative emotions such as anger, fear, and jealousy are happiness thieves. Avoid them like the plague!
Learn to see the happier things in life. Have you noticed that some people perceive the best in others, where others see only the worst? Learn to embrace the good in life and you will be on your way to lasting happiness.
Step 4: Share Your Happiness with Others
– Mother Teresa
Happiness is not a solid, unchanging thing that you can hold in your hand – it is a flow of energy. When we offer happiness to others, that happiness flows through us and we are blessed by that flow. If you want to be happy, think of others first. Expand your sympathies to include the well-being of all. You may not be able to solve the problems of world poverty and inequality, but you can help the people in your family or office have a better day.
Step 5: Discover the Bliss of the Soul
– Joseph Campbell
Bliss is the nature of the soul. To follow your bliss is to go within and connect with that spark of all that is. It may or may not lead you to worldly success and material greatness, but it will always lead you to the highest truths and inner joy.
Whether by meditation, yoga, prayer, or walks in nature, find a way to discover and experience your inner bliss. Let it expand and envelop all aspects of your life. Once you have it, nothing and no one can take it away from you!
Wishing you ever-expanding happiness and joy,