The Key To Happiness: What You Should Seek Out Of Life
By: Dylan Buckley
Updated August 28, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Lauren Fawley
No matter who we are or what we do with our lives, the ultimate goal is to be content and satisfied with our current state of being. We want to be able to look back on our memories fondly and without regret and we want to be able to say that we led the best lives possible, ones that filled us with joy and made us truly satisfied with what we accomplished and how we lived.
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But for some, the meaning of happiness can be very elusive, and many may not be able to properly determine what happiness would look like, feel like, or what causes happiness. Happiness is, after all, something that holds a different meaning for each of us, even if we feel it similarly.
That being said, there are some key components to being content throughout our lifetime, and even though we may not be necessarily pursuing the same kinds of things that make us happy, we can all learn some important tips that will help us to reach our individual.
Potentials here are some of the keys to happiness that will allow you to unlock the door to joy and start you on the pathway to a full life:
- Choose Happiness
If you look over your life, you are bound to find moments of happiness that have come to you by chance. However, this type of happiness is fleeting and is rare to come by as happiness is not something that is meant to find you but rather something that you will have to acquire. Think of happiness like money. You do not wait around for money to come to you. You are constantly working to make sure that you always have money. Our forefathers gave us the right to pursue happiness for a reason.
Likewise, you are always going to have to work on pursuing happiness to live a life of fulfillment. The difference between someone happy and someone who is not is that happiness is ultimately a feeling that we have some control over our situation. We do not always dictate where life takes us, but we do have a great deal of say in how we respond to adversity, and even when things may not be looking bright for us, we decide how we respond to those issues, which makes a great deal of difference both in the moment and in the long run.
What causes happiness? Ultimately, your choices trigger happiness and your choice to pursue the things that you truly value. This may seem like a difficult prospect, but building happiness is like using a muscle, and it will become easier as you continue to work it out. All you have to do is to make sure that you choose to respond productively to each thing that comes your way, to find the life lessons in everything, and to pursue that which you value.
- Cultivate Resilience And Gratitude
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Many people think of happiness in terms of black and white. They consider happiness to be the absence of sadness and other negative emotions. However, this couldn't be further from the truth. Happy people are not those who have never struggled. The happiest people are often those who have faced many struggles but who have learned how to conquer those issues and find peace even in the worst of storms.
This all boils down to one thing: resilience.
Resilience is one of the key ingredients in the recipe to happiness as it dictates how you can cope with any type of unpleasantness that comes your way and how quickly you can rebound from these types of situations. (After all, not every moment in life can be a positive one!) Resilient people are often happier as they understand that negative situations will come and go but that their ability to guide themselves through these difficult times will provide them with a happier lifestyle.
But how does one become resilient? Some great ways to improve your resilience include…
- Developing a support system of friends and family who are supportive and there for you
- Responding to negative developments by planning them out and remaining positive
- Constantly working towards (realistic) goals
- Accepting change rather than trying to work against it
- Taking action rather than attempting to ignore issues that trouble or stress you out
- Developing a more positive view of yourself and your abilities
- Staying positive and remaining hopeful during difficult times
- Using negative developments as an opportunity for self-growth
- Taking care of yourself and doing what is necessary to move forward constantly
Along with resilience comes another related and equally important quality. This quality is gratitude.
The conquest of happiness is won with the mindset of gratitude, and it is one of the ways that teaches us how to measure happiness. Take a look around you right now and ask yourself, what do I have to be grateful about? Even if you have less than most, there are still many things that you may feel fortunate for, and if you have more than most, you may realize there are things you have taken for granted. Gratitude allows us to realize that even through pain there are things to appreciate; we have the amazing ability to find light in the darkest of spaces.
One of the easiest ways to start practicing gratitude is to list three things you are grateful for every morning or night. When you start doing this, gratitude becomes ingrained into your being, and it becomes easier over time to spot things that you are grateful for. You could always increase this number as you see fit later one as well. Tip: it can be helpful to find very small things that you are likely to ignore without practicing gratitude (for example, the feeling of grass under your feet)
- Engage With Community
There are so many stories of people out there who felt listless and purposeless, typically when it came to a job position that left them unfulfilled and unhappy. However, many were able to break out of this feeling by taking part in activities that gave back to a community or helped other people with their struggles.
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Showing compassion for others and engaging in opportunities where we can give back to people who are going through a hard time can light up other people's faces as well as our own. Nothing is more rewarding than watching someone gain something from the skills and kindness that you have to offer, especially when you didn't think that you were able to make much of an impact in the world.
Although this may not be the entire solution to someone's happiness and you won't be able to do this every day, try seeking out volunteer opportunities within your area to learn what causes happiness in others and find your happiness in the process. Making a little bit of magic in someone's life can do wonders for your own.
- Practice Self-Care
In a happiness-dominated society, self-care has come to the forefront of our lives, and people are starting to understand the importance of taking care of yourself and how it plays into how you live your life and the overall quality of living. Self-care means ensuring that your needs are not ignored while you meet the needs of your employer, your family, or other.
There are several important self-care tips currently floating around, such as…
- Getting enough sleep
- Eating a healthy diet
- Exercising daily
- Drinking plenty of water
- Taking regular breaks during work and spending time at home recharging to avoid burnout
- Spending money wisely
- Communicating with others and spending time with loved ones
- Practicing mindfulness exercises
- Having hobbies
- Planning a day out
- Trying new things
If you feel as though you are not getting enough of something, it is up to you to make sure that you quickly acknowledge and refill that portion of your life. A lot of people are unhappy even when doing things they enjoy simply because they are ignoring important sections of their life. When you can take action to meet your own needs, happiness is far easier to obtain.
- Do Your Best To Make Sure What You Do Is Fulfilling And Meaningful
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Habits are built over time and are allowed to go on because we lose our sense of awareness around what it is that we are doing, why we are doing it, and how it got there in the first place. In a sense, your routine is one big habit, and you likely do the same thing each day, which can easily put you in a rut if you are not doing things that are purposeful or fulfilling.
Take a moment to go over your day and to examine each action you take part in carefully. Does it serve a positive purpose? More importantly, how can you change it? If you're rushing to get out of bed and to work every morning and it is just stressing you out, you can easily implement a morning routine that will allow you to take your mornings slower and one that will make you excited to get out of bed. This is something that can easily be changed to provide you with more happiness and fulfillment.
However, you can also work towards things that may be more difficult. For example, is your job something that gives you purpose and excites you? If not, what would you rather be doing? In this example, you cannot easily quit your job, but you can choose to find the positives in it and work towards something else that will make you happier.
Your life is yours, and you should always be trying to live it to the best of your ability. Remember this tip and use it to cultivate a better life for yourself over time!
Happiness can be difficult for some people to grasp, but happiness is essentially doing your best to live a meaningful life, working towards the things that you want, and enjoying and finding positivity in the process. (You could even use tools such as the subjective happiness scale or the happiness curve to keep track of your progress!)
If you are someone who needs help implementing any of these tips or if you have something holding you back from your happiness that you need to work through before you can build your own life of happiness, we recommend speaking to a professional over at BetterHelp. BetterHelp is an online counseling platform that easily connects certified therapists to individuals in need. Right from the comfort of your own home and using the time that suits you best, you can connect to someone who can better help you work through any issues you may have and can help you learn and equip tools that will make it easier to carve your path to happiness. Sounds like something that you could use? If so, click on the link above to start your journey to happiness today!