Happiness. If you ask someone “what’s your goal in life,” the answer is most likely: to be happy. Yet, many of us seek happiness through material things and believe that the people we interact with are essential contributors to a happy life. While this may be true in part, happiness starts with us. Nothing, no person, can measure up to the profound, fundamentally joyful feeling we have to create from within. And there is also a difference between pleasure – the things that temporarily give us a high – and the lasting joy that runs deep, allowing us to truly be happy. Because it’s an attitude. Once we’ve reached this stage, a difficult period of time doesn’t necessarily take our happiness away, exactly because we have a different outlook on life.

Therefore, being truly happy starts with you. You are the master of your happiness. It may be something that is not easy to swallow, for we tend to blame others, including our circumstances, for unhappiness. Granted, this is the easiest route to go and to justify why we are not thoroughly content. 

But turn inward and think for a moment. You have choices. You can choose how to act and react. And you have the ability to control your own, happy path that is life. Isn’t that a real blessing? As it is all too often, it begins with the mind. Finding genuine, deep-running happiness is work. But it’s the work you do on yourself in an effort to become a more fulfilled, positive human being. Opt for happiness. 

A few easy practices that, soon, with a little bit of dedication, will turn into habits, will soon get you on the path of a more joy-filled life. Choose happy. 

Eliminate the Baggage 

We need to first completely cut out the toxins in our life that prevent us from creating long-lasting, pure happiness. It begins with decluttering the mind and home: What are things, negative thoughts and self-talk that don’t serve us? Then, it continues with the relationships we have. Do they do us good? Are they uplifting and mutual? Or are some of them weighing us down, just maintained because they seem like an obligation of some sort? But, in fact, they hold us back from becoming our thriving self? Ask yourself those questions and shake off the baggage. It might not be easy, but it’s necessary to eliminate the problems we have created for ourselves with the things and people we have surrounded ourselves with for too long. 

Emotionally we have many problems, but these problems are not actual problems; they are something created; […] pointed out by our self-centered ideas or views – Shunryu Suzuki

Afterward, check in with yourself. Do you feel lighter? Congratulations. You’ve bravely taken the first big step towards “finding your happy”. Now, speak nice words. Think encouraging thoughts. Realize that you are responsible for your own joy – and have all right to be the happiest version of yourself. Remember, we just have this one life; trying to live up to the expectations of others is the obstacle that needs to be overcome.   

Four Pillars of a Happier You

The ultimate goal is for us to create a state of happiness that lasts. That is different from the occasional highs we experience when indulging in pleasurable activities. While those are important, the feeling we get from those specific experiences don’t last; the emotions eventually fade. We want to have a lasting sense of “happy” that is not just momentary, but steady. 

Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions – Dalai Lama

This is a constant work in progress. But to get to this level of soul-feeding joy, our personal and work life, relationships, as well as social contributions need to be in balance. Spirituality is the fundament that feeds those four pillars, in which we find peace and strength. Moreover, they need to resonate with out spiritual vibes, meaning, feel right in our hearts and souls. Furthermore, they need to be meaningful. 

To find out if we are leading the right work-life, are honest to ourselves, nourish the right relationships and contribute to a good cause for the right reasons, we can ask ourselves the following questions from the depth of our hearts: Does it feel right? What is your intention? Why are you doing what you do? What is your purpose? A happier you awaits. 

Strengthen Your Spirits and Find Meaning

Happiness is a choice, and each day we can choose to create our path of lasting joy, with mindset and actions – Los Angeles, USA

Humans are spiritual beings. With this being said, you don’t have to necessarily believe in God, or be religious in any way. Spirituality can take on many forms. And if we want to find our happiest selves, we need to turn to us instead of others. Spirituality refers to the energy we give out and receive. Many believe that the universe is responding to the frequency of vibrations that we tune into. Hence, we receive what we release.  

He who lives in harmony with himself lives in harmony with the universe – Mark Aurel

When we foster our spirituality – through yoga, faith, meditation, just to mention a few – we release stress and find inner peace. Our worries are silenced; our belief in the good is strengthened. Positive vibes are being released and we find harmony within. This ultimately brings us in sync with our surroundings. Soon, we will see how profound happiness is growing. A sense of deep, lasting joy and content.

Gratitude As Perspective for Happiness

We can never be truly happy if we always want more, for we feel this may help us be even happier. It gets especially tricky when we try to be or live like someone else who is seemingly happy. But don’t be fooled. There is more under the surface. We just see what we want to see. Moreover, we quickly focus on annoyances, all the negativity surrounding us, forgetting how much good there is, however. Therefore, to put things into perspective and center inward to listen to our inner voices that speak the truth, free from constraints, we need to practice daily gratitude. 

Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more – Oprah Winfrey

There is a lot to be thankful for. And, without a doubt, if we were to sit down and take a moment to write down three simple things we’re grateful for, the words would just flow in an instant. Gratitude is about intention – about intentionally taking a few moments to really appreciate what life is handing you. When you fall into a routine, taking things and people for granted happens quickly. Making yourself pause, reflect, genuinely speaking (or writing, for that matter) gratitude will quickly shift the focus and allow you to experience a sense of peace that comes with thankfulness for this life and all (the little things) it has to offer. A daily reminder, a way to reset. Appreciate the moment, and happiness grows from the seed that is peace and harmony within yourself. 

What’s your tip for a truly happy life? Any rituals or routines you follow to lead your own happiness?