We’re constantly told all types of messages, both consciously and unconsciously, about what happiness is, and how to get there. There’s even a movement in the business world surrounding the idea of happiness, and to how incorporate it into corporations. I won’t pretend to have it all figured out, but I have noticed a theme that the more we pursue happiness for ourselves, the further it seems from our grasp, while the more we look to give it away, the more it seems to appear.
I ran across an article recently that I shared on our Facebook page, and wanted to take a few minutes to reflect on it here. The author discusses seven habits of incredibly happy people, along with different studies where they were shown effective. I highly recommend reading the original article, and here are the seven habits themselves, with a few of my own thoughts:
- “Be busy, but not rushed.” There’s something to be said for having “do nothing” time, but our happiness doesn’t tend to surface when couch potato is our standard operating mode. Applying ourselves and being about good work, without getting overstretched, is one ingredient in the recipe of happiness.
- “Don’t tie your happiness to external events.” If we let what goes on around us drive our state of mind, we’ll constantly be tossed to and fro by the vicissitudes of life. Rejoicing in good things, but cultivating gratitude no matter, means we can bring brightness to any situation.
- “Have five close relationships.” Human beings are social animals, and there’s a reason solitary confinement is a punishment. Connectedness, and having at least a few deep close connections, enable us to feel alive and not just wrapped up in our own existence.
- “Exercise.” The soul and the body are connected, and there’s a flow that goes both ways. Being in good physical condition, is part of being in good mental condition.
- “Embrace discomfort for mastery.” The discomfort of trying something new is, well, uncomfortable. But if we continue in spite of difficulties and face our mental hurdles, we find ourselves in a better state of mind and having gained some confidence along the way.
- “Spend more money on experiences.” As much as advertisers may tell us that possessing their product is the only thing that separates us from a life of smiling leisure, the memories and connectedness that come from shared experiences pays greater dividends in the long run.
- “Don’t ignore your itches.” Listening to those authentic prompts, and responding to the gravitational pulls you have, will lead you down paths where your truest self comes out. Consistently stifling them leads to regret.
I’m sure we’ve all experienced many, if not all, of the above in one way or another. Continuing to cultivate an awareness, and allowing them to affect our decisions, means we can develop habits which have a happy side effect indeed.