The pursuit of happiness is a big deal. Bookshelves and magazines fill volumes with the topic and the movie Pursuit of Happiness also comes to mind. Even our founding fathers thought it rated a line in the Declaration of Independence. Happiness is a part of our instinct to pursue our happiness. The same way we seek to experience physical pleasure and avoid physical pain, we seek emotional pleasure, and attempt to avoid emotional pain. Our emotional enjoyment, or what we can call happiness, is simply part of human nature. How do we reach the ever-elusive goal of blissful living? Is it a matter of luck, a way of thinking or a conscious choice? It turns out to be the latter. Here are some of the spirit-lifting practices that happy people choose to do daily:
It sounds simple and obvious but how many of us stop to think during the day about the things you are grateful for? Our minds are full of missed opportunities and regrets. We live in a culture of scarcity: never having enough, never doing enough, never loving enough. Following a gratitude routine might be a clever idea. Start your day in meditation and think of the things you are grateful for. If time permits add it to your journal for the day even if it is a repeat of yesterday’s grateful list. Your list does not have to be something grand: a cup of coffee, the morning sky, the very fact that you opened your eyes this morning. That does the trick.
This is a tough one. For some of us because our days are packed meetings, errands, obligations, and to-do lists that makes slowing down not a priority. However, slowing down should be priority if you are interested in happiness. Taking some time to pause and do nothing, absolutely nothing can bring you a long way down a peaceful road. Slow down take a few deep breaths, it not only brings you to happy place, it can also lower your blood pressure.
The process counts
We are so fixated on achieving our ever-growing list of goals that we fail to notice that the journey has some benefits of its own. Happy people seem to be enjoying themselves right now, not tomorrow or when they finally get that promotion, or marriage, or job, or _____. Fill in the blank with what you are waiting for before you can say you are happy. Right now, is what really matters.
Take the responsibility
It may be seductive to blame the world for our misfortunes, but happy people tend to do something else. Happy people do not wait for the world to bring about joy and fun to their door, rather go out and see what is on the happy menu. Walk in the park? Listening to music? Finding and doing what makes you happy, makes you happy.
Nothing influences our state of mind as much as the quality of our relationships. Being connected to family and friends, and nourishing those connections is what brings meaning to our lives.
There are no worthy endeavors in life without hardships along the way. Happiness is no exception. Having a resilient spirit is what happy people try to cultivate for themselves. Happy people do not allow the inevitable bumps on the road to prevent them from being happy.
Find something bigger than yourself
Happy people seem to be less self-centered than unhappy ones. They find worthy causes to fight for and are genuinely interested in making the world a better place. What counts is the intention behind your deeds. Whatever your lifestyle, it is never too late to integrate some happy practices into your day. What significance did you add to the world today?