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5 Pillars of a Joyful Life

Ground yourself in these five foundations that will elevate your life to its joyful peak. Apply them in your relationships with others and yourself, in your career, and in your everyday life to satisfy your soul:
11/24/2014 07:55am ET | Updated January 24, 2015
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All things begin with a strong foundation. A building must have a solid infrastructure to stand tall. Even life on earth, fragile as it may be, is firmly maintained by the fundamental elements needed to keep seven billion people alive. Well-rooted relationships are proven to be more durable and longer lasting than bonds built on weak principles. And work that is established in purpose and integrity is guaranteed to be more rewarding. But what are you, personally, grounded in? Upon what beliefs have you built your life? Do they fulfill you, nurture you, and bring you joy? If you are settled in the wrong mentality and empty actions, you will experience trouble building upwards. Your own skyscraper may tumble because of its shaky framework.

Ground yourself in these five foundations that will elevate your life to its joyful peak. Apply them in your relationships with others and yourself, in your career, and in your everyday life to satisfy your soul:

Gratitude. Gratitude ushers in true joy. When you adopt an attitude of gratitude, you see the world differently: hardships are balanced by reminders of existing blessings. Being grateful requires that we become sensitive to the finer details of daily life; simply saying thank you for a new day, for one's health, for supportive people, for a stroke of luck, for the sunshine, etc. Difficulties are dulled down when we choose to magnify the miracles around us instead. Don't wait to show appreciation; take every opportunity to give thanks.

Knowledge. When we learn, we thrive. Knowledge empowers us to make and follow excellent decisions. Immerse your life in knowledge; eagerly pursue whatever you love to learn, read about, or simply discover more on. Knowledge is your enabler towards material progress and spiritual elevation. Possess the curiosity of a child; inquire down to the very makings of our world. Proudly acquire a new piece of knowledge each day and spread it to others.

Patience. Patience is the most difficult virtue to learn. Instead, it must be fortified through frequent practice. Patience blends internal harmony with external factors, and it provides the single greatest reward to the soul: peace. When we're patient, we are reassured that the right things will manifest in their own given time (and, unfortunately, not in our notion of time). We become strengthened by the faith that highs will follow the lows. Timing is everything, and everything in time, I always say. Through patience, we develop acceptance.

Acceptance. The Serenity Prayer reads, "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." Acceptance allows you to output energy in the most beneficial, productive means. To accept is to relinquish your struggles: people who won't change, situations that won't turn in your favor, and so on. You understand to detach from useless efforts. You know when to let go. You acknowledge that you weren't meant to take on the world's burdens. Accept all things as they come -- good and bad -- and hand your worries back to the universe.

Love. Nothing is so terrible that it cannot be cured by love. Fill the voids in your life with love: if you do not feel adequately loved, give love in abundance. If you receive the wrong kinds of love, show the right kind to others. Don't bottle up the stream of love within you, releasing it only to certain people or on sparse occasions. Extending love shouldn't be restrained by conditions. Being loving simply means being compassionate, understanding, and tolerant -- of everyone, every time. Even if others have harmed you, it is in your benefit to forgive and continue loving. Love endows us with a joy unparalleled to anything else; make it your guiding light.

The joys we experience stem from the seeds we sow. Root your actions in these five pillars that will foster your well-being and nourish your spirit endlessly.

May you feel joy,
Dr. Carmen Harra

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