Happiness. The word is simple but the concept is not. These days almost everyone questions what happiness is? Are they truly happy? What makes them happy? And what can they do to be happy?
In the age of social media, we see people having the time of their lives all the time. It makes us think about how other people are able to experience so much joy but we are not. We cannot help but ask ourselves these questions.
The fear of missing out on happiness is becoming prevalent. Like happiness is a commodity. You will find people doing the craziest of things under the pretext of happiness. Buying expensive stuff, throwing extravagant parties, indulging in over the top adrenaline-inducing activities.
It is not like these things do not make people feel happy. But the joy they bring is momentary. It doesn’t last long. Before you know it, you are off spending more of your hard-earned money on things you don’t want. And spending time with people that make you feel nothing but intimidated and unfulfilled.
What if we told you taking experiencing happiness doesn’t have to be so hard? The concept of happiness may be mind-boggling but the execution is not. The truth is the more you simplify your life the more pleasure you can feel.
Contrary to what the media and society may have made you believe, happiness does not lie in things or even people. Rather it is far from them. The initial steps towards authentic and sustainable happiness are detaching yourself from the love of things, the expectations of people and the fear of missing out.
Finding Inner Happiness
Here are the top sources of happiness that are not people or things:
1. Lowered expectations
The first and foremost step towards happiness is low expectations. When we overestimate the ability of things and people to make us feel happy we set ourselves up for disappointment. No one is responsible for our happiness but us.
Sometimes people have their own set of problems going on in their lives and they cannot give you the attention or compassion you crave. And that is okay. It is unfair of you to expect them to heal you. You have to learn to be your own cheerleader and motivator.
And the thing about things is, that once you get what you want there is always a newer, shinier version available. It makes the object you have, feels redundant. Thus putting a damper on your happiness. So do not expect things to give you long-lasting happiness.
2. The pursuit of knowledge
Seeking knowledge is a source of happiness that never runs out and lasts throughout your lifetime.
Somehow we have been conditioned to take learning as a burden. Blame the education system for that. But in fact, learning can be so much fun when you are not bombarded with deadlines and examinations.
Start with something or something that you love. Do you love cooking? Just hop over to the Internet and start learning about new techniques to improve your culinary skills. Do you love history? There are unlimited sources just waiting for you to read and enjoy. Before you know it you will find yourself addicted to gaining knowledge. You would want to know more and more.
There is no better use of your free time as well.
The best thing about knowledge is that it never gets wasted. At some point in your life, the perfect situation arises and you can use all the information stored in your head.
Another way that learning new things brings you joy is by teaching someone else. Spreading knowledge can bring you pure joy. It makes you feel smart and useful and does wonder for your self-esteem.
3. Investing in purposeful goals
Does your job make you happy? When you get up every morning to go to work do you dread the day ahead or do you feel excited? Most of us are caught in a circle of 9 to 5 and then some. Since work occupies a huge chunk of our daily hours, it is important that we do something that induces the feeling of joy.
It is important to find a job that makes you feel productive. That feels like you are doing something meaningful. And most importantly a job that doesn’t contradict with your moral values. For example, if you work in an advertising agency and you believe that the advertising industry breeds consumerism, you will never be able to come up with interesting ideas. You will end up resenting your own self
Now it is a fact that not all of us have the luxury of doing what we love work-wise. In that case, make sure that you take some time out to do things that make you feel satisfied.
Do you feel strongly about world hunger? Start a charity or volunteer at one. There is nothing more fulfilling than helping those in need. You end up feeling happy. Like you matter. And the other side gets the help that they require. It’s a win-win situation.
Investing in purposeful goals also helps you stay busy. Studies show that we are the happiest when we are not analyzing how happy we are. By keeping your mind occupied and focusing your energies towards micro goals helps you maintain a healthy mindset.
4. Better organization
One of the greatest sources of happiness is when you feel like you have control over your circumstances. Getting into the habit of better organizing your daily life helps you feel relaxed and satisfied. There is a reason why Marie Kondo got famous.
The organization can range from your dresser to your to-do list written on a sticky note in your office. Try to learn small techniques to better divide your time. How can you take time out for self-care? How can you maintain a cleaner more functional household? How can you prioritize your tasks to achieve maximum productivity at your work?
Successfully organizing different aspects of your life will make you feel lighter and happier.
5. Stop and stare
The words of William Henry Davies, “What is this life if full of care? We have no time to stand and stare?” had uncovered the secret to a happy human life decades ago. Amidst the hustle and bustle of modern day lifestyle, we really do forget to pause for a moment and smell an occasional rose.
Just standing still in a moment and counting all your blessings can make you feel an unexplainable joy. Stare at the night sky, count the stars, just reflect on the enormity of it and feel how insignificant your problems are. You will feel a weight lifting off your shoulders. A sense of freedom sets in.
6. Spending time in nature
We usually really take the gift of nature for granted. Recent studies show that spending time in nature works better than any anti-depressant. It disconnects you from the worries of your material life and takes you into an alternate reality.
Taking a walk in the local park or taking a hike in the hills can unleash those endorphins in your body. Spending time with animals can also make your heart swell with joy. Do you have a dog? Try to absorb the enormous amount of excitement they have for life. There isn’t a more jubilant creature on the planet than a dog playing with a simple ball or a stick. This reinforces the fact that you do not need much to be happy.
Another great source of happiness is giving back to the Earth and its environment. Don’t you want to multiply the joy that nature bestows upon us? Plant a fruit tree somewhere. Take care of the plants in your backyard. Start a vegetable garden. Adopt eco-friendly practices.
Spending time connecting with the Earth will make you feel that you’re acting with purpose and it will bring you immense happiness.
7. Good health
You can have all the material wealth in the world and you may have an amazing circle of peers. But you will not be able to enjoy any of that if you do not have the wealth of good health.
Make sure that you do not take your health for granted and take regular care of yourself. A healthy body is the greatest source of happiness.
Take time out to work out and get the good hormones flowing in. Having fruits and vegetables can increase your happiness levels because they contain good vitamins and minerals that make your body feel happy. For example, bananas have great anti-depressant properties. They contain Serotonin that regulates your mood.
Try to eat a balanced diet so that your body doesn’t have to put in extra work to digest the heavy stuff. It can make you feel lazy and depressed.
Practicing the art of meditation can do wonders for your emotional well-being. There are scores of sources available online that can teach you how to start meditating. Make use of these and stick to them and you will feel more in control of your mind and emotions.
Meditation helps you feel centered and more connected to yourself. It helps you deal with anxiety and daily stresses, ultimately ensuring your sustainable happiness.