You have probably achieved many things in your life and hopefully those achievements have given you a sense of satisfaction. But let me ask you this, are you happy?
The reason I ask is because for many people true happiness is an elusive pursuit. Even though they are able to achieve success in many areas, for some reason it still doesn’t lead to the happiness they were expecting.
Have you ever wondered why?
We’ve been taught that a good education, meaningful career, nice home and family are a sure formula for a happy life. Oddly enough, a person can have all or most of those things and still feel like something is missing. It’s a situation that can be both confusing and frustrating.
So what does it take to feel truly happy? As it turns out, happiness does not automatically accompany achievement or success like we’ve been led to believe. There is actually something more involved. In fact, it is something that you can do right now regardless of whether you have achieved those other things or not.
I will be happy as soon as _____________
Do you feel like happiness is something reserved for some future time and dependent on satisfying certain conditions? Are there things you think you need to do or have before you will be in a position to be truly happy?
What if you could control your own happiness and learn how to feel happy anytime, anywhere, in any situation, starting right now.
The myth of happiness
Happiness is one of those concepts that can easily turn into a sense of longing and searching instead of a state of being and feeling. In some ways we have all been programmed to look to the future for our happiness instead of looking at the here and now.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have happiness now without feeling like you needed to add anyone or anything else to your life? Well, if you’ve ever been happy before, or if there are moments when you feel happy now, then you already have what you need to cultivate greater happiness.
Happiness is Internal not external
There is a widely accepted idea that happiness hinges on external things like having lots of money, being attractive, or finding the perfect career. Interestingly, research studies consistently show that true happiness is only slightly influenced by those externals because it actually comes from within a person.
Unfavorable circumstances often take the blame for a lack of happiness, yet studies show that in reality circumstances only account for about 10% of our sense of happiness. So, while striving to improve our circumstances may seem like the most effective way to improve the quality of our life, circumstances actually make a fairly insignificant contribution to our overall feelings of happiness.
The leverage of attitude
If improving your circumstances is not the fast track to happiness, then what is? Is there something within your control that can give you all the leverage you need to start living a happier life right now? Yes there is and believe it or not, it’s your attitude. By attitude I mean your thoughts and your feelings regarding happiness.
This is the one area where you have tremendous leverage because it is based entirely on your own internal thought process. But to successfully harness that leverage, you will need to apply it in a way that encompasses your entire concept of time including your past, present and future.
Your attitude about the past
How you think about your past and how much you let it affect you today is up to you. If you put more emphasis on appreciating all the valuable lessons you’ve learned from the past instead of dwelling on the hardships or struggles you’ve experienced, you will feel happier right now.
People who focus on and recall their good times and happy memories program themselves to live a happier life. Those who choose to remember the unhappy times program themselves for more of the same. Having an attitude of gratitude for the good experiences you’ve had will make it much easier to continue in that same positive pattern. Building on that positive foundation will increase the level of happiness you experience today.
Your attitude about the present
Your life is something you must participate in to feel happy. How you see things and respond to them is definitely up to you. So choosing to respond to your life in a way that makes you happier is certainly a better option than choosing a sad or disappointed response.
Look around and notice the simple things you can take pleasure in. Focus on what you have instead of what you don’t have. Building meaningful relationships and setting aside time for enjoyable activities are great ways to experience more happiness in the present.
Your attitude about the future
Your future and more specifically, how you think it will be, will also greatly affect your happiness. If you condition yourself to think that you need something else (like a possession) to be happy, then when you get to your future you will be trained to continue to look for the next thing before being happy.
Instead, take a look at the things that are making you happy right now and fully appreciate them. Make a conscious effort to be optimistic and positive with regard to your future expectations. The energy of those positive expectations will help carry you toward even greater happiness in the future.
Be Happy Now
So all of this leaves only one thing – when it comes to being happy you can take control. Make a decision to be happy now. Learn to focus on and enjoy the things that are contributing to your happiness instead of deferring it to the future. Choose to cultivate a positive response toward your current situation and live in a state of gratitude and hope. Go ahead, allow yourself to be happy right now. You deserve it.
So, what makes you feel happy?
What are you truly grateful for?