5 Ways to Create Happiness
Happiness is something everyone wants to experience more of, but we must be willing to work for it. Happiness isn’t something that can be gifted to us, though gifts can make us happy temporarily. Happiness is defined by Merriam-Webster as:
- a. A state of well-being and contentmen
b. A pleasurable or satisfying experience
When someone says they want to be happy in life, what they are really saying is that they want their life to be satisfying and they want to feel content. Happiness can be achieved with intentional steps to follow some key principles.
Research finds that some key principles can be followed:
1. Notice and be grateful for the good in each day.
Notice things throughout the day that make you feel good - make you smile, and make you want to relive that moment again. This can be as small as the smell of coffee brewing in the morning or as big as a promotion at work or a surprise visit from a loved one. Actively search for all the good things that happen during the day and appreciate them. By looking for things to enjoy and delight in, you are actively seeking positivity and paying attention to things you can recreate and find joy in the next day as well. Practicing gratitude for these moments also aids in cultivating happiness.
2. Focus on the positives in your past.
The way we perceive life moment by moment is often dictated by our past experiences. Instead of seeing a situation for what it is in the moment, we attach what we learned in the past to it. This is great if we only ever had positive experiences in our life and never negative ones, but that isn’t realistic. Everyone has had negative experiences, and everyone has bad memories. However, by choosing to focus on positive memories rather than negative ones, we are choosing to harness the good in our past and grow from a place of positivity whenever new memories are being made.
3. Look forward to tomorrow.
Give yourself a reason to look forward to tomorrow. Again, this can be as small as the first sip of coffee in the morning or as big as a birthday celebration with your family and friends. Whatever it is, have something to look forward to that makes you feel good, like a hot bowl of oatmeal in the morning. This helps set the stage for a positive frame of mind about the coming day and it allows you to plan a moment of happiness ahead of time. Whatever life throws at you, that moment of joy is more likely to happen when you plan for it.
4. Know and use your strengths and priorities.
What is it you love to do? What is it you’re good at? What activities bring you joy and make you feel confident? What makes you excited about life? What do you care about most? What parts of your character or personality do people often compliment you on or notice about you?
These questions can help identify your strengths and priorities in life.
After evaluating your strengths and priorities, consider how you can work those things into your everyday life. For example, if you enjoy writing and are good at it, maybe you can find a job that requires a lot of writing. If you are passionate about the well-being of children, you could consider looking into ways to be involved with a nonprofit that focuses on child advocacy. By putting your strengths to use and working on your priorities, you can feel fulfilled in your work and the way you spend your time daily.
5. Choose to serve.
One of the three pillars of EHC is community service, but you can also serve your family or your friends. Sometimes serving others can be overwhelming or draining but serving others can add significant meaning to your life. This is a way you can work on things important to you as well. Find opportunities to serve that align with your passions and priorities.
Do you like to knit or sew? You can create items for a children’s hospital like caps, blankets, g-tube covers, and more.
Do you like to craft with paper? You can make cards for those in nursing homes, hospitals, and rehab centers to brighten their day.
Do you love helping animals? Hold a fundraiser for a local animal shelter or volunteer to socialize the cats or exercise the dogs.
Take note of needs in your community and ask how you can help. Helping others not only puts a smile on their faces but it can put a smile on your face, too, knowing you made a difference in someone’s life.
Happiness requires work and intention. Making decisions that create happy moments daily, noticing things that make you feel good, and putting your best self to work for the satisfaction of yourself and the well-being of others will help you add meaning and joy to your life.
“Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product.” – Eleanor Roosevelt