Who are the happiest people you know? Are they all married and have lots of money? Your answer is quite certainly, ‘no.’ Some are likely single, while some are married. Some might have little money, while some have a lot. Some may even have health challenges. Or perhaps you don't know anyone that is truly happy.
Less than 30% of people report being deeply happy. The World Health Organization predicts that depression will soon be second only to heart disease in terms of the global burden of illness.
Society tells us that money, beauty, success, and fame are the keys to happiness. But yet we all know those things in actuality do not come close to guaranteeing happiness.
Aristotle said, “Happiness is the meaning and purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence. The goal of all goals.”
The ‘Myth of More’ is the engine that drives our economy and the first major obstacle to happiness. Billions are spent each year to convince us that we are not okay the way we are and that we need things - lots of them - to make us happy. We are all negatively affected. The messages we repeatedly see and hear go into our brain on a subconscious level and become beliefs. If this were not true, advertisers wouldn’t be spending billions to make sure we see their ads over and over again.
I’ll be happy when I have ‘more,’ is a myth. Don’t fall for it. You’re smarter than that. Let that go.
The second major obstacle to happiness is the myth of, ‘I’ll be happy when.’ How many of these apply to you: I’ll be happy when I have the perfect mate; the perfect house; the perfect body; the perfect amount of money; when I get my degree; when I get more recognition; when I have a family; when the kids move out; when I have a perfect job; when I retire.
No matter how many I’ll-be-happy-whens you reach, it’s never going to be enough. With each one, the satisfaction is fleeting. Think about the last five goals you achieved. How long did the happiness last? Did it change your level of happiness at your core?
I’ll be happy when is a myth. Drop it.
The good news is, with conscious effort, anyone can change their set point.
Happiness can be increased by engaging in certain daily activities to raise one’s set-point. Just making a decision to be happier won’t work, just as much as making a decision to be healthier but doing nothing about it won’t work. As how consistent exercise can be used to increase the fitness of the body, there are a myriad of daily practices that can be used to increase one’s level of happiness.
Here is an endless number of daily practices for creating more happiness…
- Don’t believe everything you think.
- Let go of belief patterns that do not serve you.
- See negative thoughts as just by-products of the Velcro phenomenon and just let them go.
- Register positive thoughts more deeply and take time to savor positive experiences.
- Look at yourself in your eyes every morning and take time to appreciate yourself.
- Have the daily intention to seek out and notice all the good around you.
- Instead of forcing yourself into positive thoughts that don’t feel true, gently lean your mind each day toward thoughts that make you feel happier.
- Stop feeling sorry for yourself.
- Turn on the feeling of love in your heart by send loving energy to any and all people around you, including yourself.
- Write a gratitude list.
- Upon waking, set an intention to have a great day to set the tone for the day ahead.
- Let go of anger and resentment.
- Practice forgiveness.
- Practice compassion.
- Commit to laughing 5 minutes everyday, even if you have to force it.
- Fill your body with white light.
- Smile at strangers.
- Eat healthy foods.
- Stay well-hydrated.
- Go to bed at 10.
- When feeling anxious, take 5 deep belly breaths.
- Avoid slumped posture and sit up straight.
- Accept all in your life exactly as it is right now and trust the universe is here for you.
- Cultivate a feeling of reverence and gratitude for this amazing journey called life.
Happiness is akin to a muscle. Any of these exercises, when used consistently, will make it stronger. Doing more than one of these is not even necessary. Just pick the one that calls to you the most and do it daily. Committing to a happiness practice over weeks, months, and years is what makes all the difference. With patience and consistency, anyone can raise their happiness set-point and enjoy a happier and healthier life.
Here’s to your happiness!