Happiness: What is it and how do you find it?

If you try to define it, what is happiness to you?

Throughout centuries, people have spent their entire lives looking for it; some find it, and some don’t.

While people define it differently, my definition is an encompassing feeling of peace, fulfillment and joy. However it’s defined, one thing’s for sure: finding happiness is an independent journey. Everyone finds it through different things and experiences.

And ultimately, happiness is found through attitude. Happiness is a choice.

If happiness is choice, then it’s just a matter of each person determining what it looks like for them, and deciding to be it, right?

Well, outside influences can make that easier said than done.

So here are 8 things that we can actively do to help us on that journey:

1) Look for the good.

“Good”, well, it just feels good. When someone does something nice for you, it feels good. When you do something good for someone else, it usually feels good. When things are pleasant, loving, fun, energetic, and aren’t against your core values, it feels good. And happiness is a “feel good” emotion.

This also means…

2) Find the good in others.

Happiness is an emotion that you find within yourself. While others can help you find that, you certainly won’t find happiness by tearing others down. Have you ever seen those who spend a lot of time judging others? Have you seen how happy they are? These people don’t tend to be the happiest. Why? Again, happiness is found in yourself, and can’t be found by belittling others.

3) Surround yourself with people that make you feel good.

happy family

People are social creatures. But there are all types of people in the world. Have you ever noticed that some people walk in a room and light it up, while some people seem to suck all of the air out of the room? Some people have a natural tendency to smile a lot, and others don’t. Have you ever noticed that when you leave some people’s company you feel positive and good about yourself, while with others, you don’t feel that same way?

Spend time with people who share your values, like to have fun the way you do, appreciate similar things, and make you feel good while you’re with them, and once you leave them.

On the flip side, (and this can be harder) you will want to monitor how you feel with people and NOT be around those who don’t bring you positiveness. That means remove yourself from interactions that aren’t positive and relationships that don’t feel good. That can be particularly hard when a relationship is… comfortable.

Have you ever seen people in a relationship that is comfortable, but doesn’t make a person happy? That’s because comfortable feels good, but it’s only one piece of the puzzle that leads to happiness.

4) Follow Your Values.

This was mentioned above, but it is hard to be happy when you are doing something against your core values. It’s hard to be happy when you are around other people that do things against your core values, and particularly if others want you to join them. Listen to your soul and follow your belief system. It’s one kind of guidance system keeping you on the right path.

5) Find and Live Your Purpose.

I believe that everyone has gifts, special gifts that they were meant to share with the world. I believe that in doing that, they not only provide a unique value to others and make the world a better place, but this is how they fulfill their sense of purpose.

Yet, many of us have no idea what these special gifts are! EVERYONE has them. Figure yours out. Sometimes, its’ really hard to see them in ourselves so ask someone close to you what your gifts are.

Then use them with wild abandon. It’s amazing how far that can take a person on their journey to find happiness.

6) Love Abundantly.

In keeping with “Look for the Good” above, love energy is one of the most powerful energies in the universe. Most spiritual leaders argue that love is THE most powerful energy that exists between living things. Have you ever heard that hate will never conquer hate, that only love can defeat hate? And hate is a pretty powerful emotion.

Our minds sometimes get used to negative self talk which leads to internal conversations about things that aren’t right in the world. That’s one of the reasons we are so quick to notice things that are bad, things that hurt, and problems, but not as quick to actually notice when we feel good, or experience something nice.

Think of this: have you ever had a hangnail that starts as an ache, but then becomes really annoying? Eventually it hurts? You might even wrap it up or put something on it to help it heal?

Hand making a heart

How much attention did you pay your finger before you got the hangnail?

We tend to focus on fixing problems, but don’t spend the same energy focusing on things we love.

Find things that you love. Take every chance you get to tell yourself what you love. “I love the sunshine.” “I love the birds singing.” “I love the flowers.” “I love the sound of rain on the roof.” “I love health.” “I love my family.” “I love being loved.” “I love when my child cleans their room.” “I love the taste of food.” “I love my body.” And on and on and on….

7) Make an Effort to Smile.

It may seem ridiculous.  You’re seeking happiness, you’re not there yet, so why smile?  Simple.  Psychologically, it is harder to be unhappy when you acting happy.  It may be a bit of a trick, but smiles draw smiles, and who knows?  As a result of smiling, not only might you feel better just because you are smiling, but you might also draw happy people to you that can help make you happier!

8) Use Positive Affirmations.

We already mentioned that our minds tend to focus on fixing problems, which means we focus on negative things. We have within our power the ability to change the ratio of negative to positive thoughts.

Make positive affirmations part of your routine. Repeat them and do it with emotion. Start with “I am worthy of happiness.” Repeat it often. Visualize what that means to you. What does happiness look like? If you can see it, and you can believe it, it can be.  Have you visited my page on positive affirmations?  Find out more of positive affirmations and their benefits here.

Will following all of these steps guarantee happiness? Heck no. Remember? Happiness is a choice and making the choice to do these things can only lead you closer to finding it.

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