Happiness is an art that can be learned. Instead of sitting around waiting for joy to descend upon you or searching for fulfillment in all the wrong places, consider how you can incorporate these keys to true sustainable happiness into your life.
You are a once-in-humankind event. Your soul is a unique blend of passions, gifts and quirks. If you're not showing up to the world as your true self or living in a way that feels right to you, you feel out of alignment and your happiness levels will suffer.
When you give from a place of love without expecting anything in return, you are nourished and fulfilled as much as the receiver of your gift. Giving doesn't have to be grandiose -- you can give a silent blessing in your heart, a kind word of support, or a helping hand whenever you spot an opportunity.
The modern world glorifies busyness and if you're like most people, you're probably feeling overwhelmed and exhausted as a result. Your inner spirit needs time in stillness and silence to rest, replenish and renew. Try meditating for ten minutes each morning and see what effect it has on your day and sense of wellbeing.
Flow is the feeling you experience when you get completely lost in something you love. It could be cooking, writing, painting, running, building, serving others or any number of things. When you lose yourself in something you love, you create the perfect space to find yourself -- you experience your essential nature.
Gratitude is the sweet shortcut to happiness. It turns what you have into enough; it trains your mind to focus on all of the beauty, simple joys and goodness surrounding you; and it fills you up with feelings of pleasure and satisfaction, which in turn makes you a magnet for more good things.
When we're on holidays in another city or country, a simple street, café or park can seem fascinating and amazing to our fresh eyes. Try bringing this same sense of awe to your local neighborhood and everyday environment. You will be surprised by the wonders you discover.
Eckhart Tolle teaches that the intensity of our pain depends on our level of resistance to the present moment. When you accept the present moment as it is, you instantly access a sense of inner peace, while freeing up your energy to make changes within your circle of control to create different outcomes in the future.
Most of us spend our days lost in our heads, reflecting on the past or contemplating the future. We're not connecting with life itself -- with our senses, our loved ones, the beauty of a sunrise, the feeling of the wind on our skin or the taste of our breakfast. Try to connect with the present moment all throughout the day. It will make your days feel much longer, brighter and fuller.
The most important relationship you will ever have is the one you have with yourself. Unfortunately, many of us talk to ourselves with criticism and contempt. Start treating yourself like you would treat a best friend or loved one -- with love, compassion and unconditional acceptance. As Buddha wrote, "You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire Universe, deserve your love and affection."
Everyone's soul has a unique purpose in life. It may be one single great mission, or a series of smaller intentions like enjoying earthly pleasures, being of service to others, and growing into the best version of yourself. Your path and purpose will be different to everyone else, so instead of conforming to social norms, consult your own heart and intuition when making decisions for your life.
There is a saying which goes, "Worrying is like praying for what you don't want." In most instances, worrying about the future is no more logical or warranted than expecting a positive outcome -- in fact, your life experience likely shows that most things work out in the end. So save yourself from the emotional turmoil of worrying, and cultivate a mindset based on optimism, positive expectation and trust.
A walk through the park on the way to a meeting feels like an obstacle, but a walk in the park for no reason at all feels like a luxury and a joy. Have you lost touch with the innate playful spirit you had when you were a child? See if you can bring it back. Make time to do things for the sake of enjoyment, and bring an attitude of fun and play to your daily life and experiences.
In the ancient text the Tao Te Ching, we are taught there is a time for everything -- a time for taking action, and a time for resting; a time for certainty, and a time for uncertainty. Incorporate balance into your life by alternating periods of action with periods of rest. Reflect on whether your life is fulfilling in all life areas -- from love, career, health and learning, to finances, leisure and self-growth.
At a fundamental level, we are all the same and we are all equal. You have a choice -- to focus on the differences between yourself and other people, or to see the common humanity you share. When you feel compassion towards others and accept them as they are, you actually set yourself free -- from your rigid expectations of others.
15. A new perspective.
According to the text A Course In Miracles, a "miracle" is a shift in our perspective about a person or situation -- from feeling fearful to feeling secure and love-filled; from holding a grudge to practicing forgiveness; from getting upset by a trivial matter to remembering the bigger picture of life and letting it go. The more you practice these shifts in perspective, the more you will experience contentment and inner peace.
Elyse is a writer and happiness teacher at NotesOnBliss.com and the creater of the Beautiful Life Bootcamp eCourse. For updates and inspiration, sign up now.