Here Is How To Always Be Happy

Dogs seem to always smile.

Don’t go looking for happiness. Money, stuff and relationships can add to it, but it’s not the source. Being at peace is. You get there by letting go.

Everyone wants to be happy. It’s an elusive state of being that goes beyond cultural, geographical, and temporal boundaries. From the moment we enter this world, we go on this lifelong quest for joy and contentment. Yet, for most, it remains a difficult pursuit.

Forbes published the article, 8 Top Things Things People Desperately Desire, But Can’t Seem To Attain. Happiness topped the list at #1, with money ranking as #2. YouGov conducted a survey and found that 43% of working people in the United States would rather live a stress-free, happy life over significant financial achievement.

It would seem most people, including you and I, are wanting some kind of lasting, reliable happiness over anything else. This includes over the acquisition of wealth and social status, that is when viewed as single pursuits.

What exactly does it mean to be happy?

The Definition Of Happiness Is…

Subjective views of an objective world.

…objectively unknown, but subjectively experienced.

Psychology Today published an article by Dr. Tchiki Davis that explains how happiness is ultimately your own definition. It can vary wildly from person to person, and while there are similarities, it remains uniquely individualistic.

Slightly in contrast, but also in agreement, the publication Very Well Mind details what happiness is, addressing the physical to the emotional encapsulation of the concept. Though the emphasis is more on measurable outputs from the presence of happiness, perception remain the primary influence.

However, while happiness is complex and multifaceted, happiness can generally be characterized by a sense of well-being, contentment, and joy. It has also been known to go beyond mere pleasure, or the absence of negative emotions. 

Happiness tends to be the result of deep satisfaction with your life. 

There Is A Reason Why Most People Pursue Happiness

How you think determines much of your happiness.

Many would argue that the desire for happiness is a fundamental and shared aspiration deeply ingrained within ourselves. While happiness itself can be subjective, there are several key reasons why most of us want it.

Evolutionary Programming 

Sonja Lyubomirsky, author of The How Of Happiness: A Scientific Approach To Getting The Life You Want, suggests that seeking happiness and pleasure is hardwired into our brains. They often serve as rewards for behaviors that are beneficial for our survival and reproduction, such as eating nutritious food, forming social bonds, and seeking safety.

Psychological And Health Benefits

Happiness is closely associated with positive emotions, life satisfaction, and overall psychological well-being. Research in psychology, particularly the study of positive psychology, has shown that happy individuals tend to have better mental wellness. They cope more effectively with stress and have stronger social connections.

Further research has also demonstrated the positive impact of happiness on physical health. Happier people tend to have stronger immune systems, lower levels of stress hormones, and reduced risk of chronic diseases. These health benefits contribute to a longer and more fulfilling life.

Hedonic Treadmill 

The hedonic treadmill concept suggests that we, as human beings, tend to adapt to changes in our circumstances, both positive and negative, and eventually return to a baseline level of happiness. This phenomenon has been used to explain why we continually seek happiness as we adapt to our current level of comfort or consistent well-being.

This Healthline article does a solid job of summarizing Hedonic Treadmill in greater detail.

Happiness Is Actually Very Important

Very important.

The truth is, happiness makes existence in this life significantly better.

At the individual level, happiness is not just a passing emotion, but a profound state of well-being that includes physical, mental, and emotional health. There are plenty of studies that have shown how happier individuals tend to live longer, have stronger immune systems, and are less susceptible to chronic illnesses. 

Moreover, happiness is closely tied to cognitive function and creativity, as positive emotions can enhance problem-solving abilities and boost overall productivity. 

Emotionally, happiness produces a greater ability to cope with life’s inevitable challenges. It’s the cornerstone of fulfilling relationships and social connections, as happy individuals are more likely to form and maintain meaningful bonds. 

On a societal level, happiness holds significant importance as well.

Nations that prioritize the well-being and happiness of their citizens tend to experience greater cohesion and stability. The World Happiness Report, which assesses happiness levels across countries, consistently reveals that countries with higher levels of happiness also tend to have lower crime rates, stronger democracies, and greater levels of trust in institutions. Additionally, happy citizens are more likely to engage in pro-social behaviors, such as volunteering and contributing to their communities.

Happiness Can Seem Incredibly Difficult To Get

Like rock climbing, happiness can be very difficult to attain.

Happiness often appears very difficult, if not impossible to get, or have for extended periods of time. 

The reason lies in its complex and subjective emotional state, something that can be influenced by a multitude of factors.

Firstly, our ever-evolving desires and expectations change the benchmark for what it takes to be happy. As individuals, we tend to set higher and often unattainable standards for ourselves. This is driven by societal pressures, comparisons with others, and the constant bombardment of idealized lifestyles. 

As a result, this perpetual chase for something better or more leads to this constant state of dissatisfaction. Happiness always seems to be just out of reach.

What If I Told You Happiness Is Mostly A Choice?

Much like a red door among many non-red ones, happiness is about choosing it.

Many of us tend to believe that true happiness exists outside of ourselves, as something to be sought and discovered in the external world. 

It’s not.

However, this perspective is deeply ingrained in our culture, often pushed by societal norms and media, both suggesting that happiness can be had in material possessions, relationships, or specific achievements. It’s as if happiness is a destination to reach or treasure to be found. 

While external factors do contribute to moments of joy and contentment, sustained happiness has always been with you. 

The article, Happiness Is A Choice (And A Pretty Smart One), published in Psychology Today, explains how happiness is a series of personal, internal decisions.

It’s about recognizing that we have the power to shape our emotional experiences. Choosing gratitude over complaint, optimism over pessimism, and kindness over bitterness are all decisions we can make internally. 

It’s about recognizing joy in the small moments.

The Goal Is Internal Peace, Lasting Happiness Follows

By being at peace, everything else becomes peaceful.

Internal peace is the cornerstone of lasting happiness. 

When we find harmony within ourselves, we create a solid foundation for enduring contentment. It’s similar to a serene lake reflecting the beauty of the world around it. 

When our inner turmoil subsides, we become more ready for life’s challenges, better equipped to navigate its ebbs and flows. This tranquility naturally creates a positive outlook, allowing us to appreciate the present moment and find joy in the simple pleasures of life. 

Happiness Comes From Within, as published in Psychology Today, reinforces how internal harmony brings about happiness from ourselves. 

It’s A Little Easier Being At Peace After 40

A door with the number 40 representing the age of 40.

Reaching the age of 40 often brings with it a sense of maturity and self-assuredness that makes it easier for us to achieve inner peace. By this stage in life, many have experienced enough challenges, successes, and failures to provide valuable life lessons and perspective. As a result, many of us often have a better understanding of what truly matters in life.

Furthermore, the passage of time tends to bring a heightened sense of self-acceptance. We’re more likely to have learned to embrace our strengths and weaknesses. This self-acceptance is a powerful catalyst for inner peace, as it reduces the self-inflicted burden of reaching perfectionism. 

Mind you, any age can attain an internal sense of peace and harmony, and that’s also not to say that everyone at 40 is at peace. In fact, it tends to be quite the opposite, as I wrote in a previous article here.

However, the following may be more accurate.

Those of us after the age of 40 should have it easier to be at peace, as there is less naturally interfering during this stage of life.

Thus, people after 40 should be happier. The operative word is “should”.

Letting Go Is How To Be Happy At Any Age

An open hand to butterflies.

Material things, social status, relationships, and physical pleasures are not lasting happiness, though they can and do contribute. 

Happiness itself is not something that can be sustained outside of ourselves. It is not something to be found and then held onto.

The experience of lasting happiness is not about maintaining an emotional state, as all emotions eventually fade away.

Internal peace seems to bring about lasting happiness.

In my experience, the most effective and easiest way to be at peace is to learn to let go. This alone comes with many benefits that can substantially better your life. 

Mind you, when I say, “let go”, I’m not suggesting to ignore or not deal with or not recognize problems. What I’m referring to is a release of the emotions surrounding it. 

For example, there may be dissatisfaction with your job. As such, an emotional build-up of resentment, stress, perhaps anger, maybe regret, and so forth may be your day-to-day experience. Each of those emotions can be let go or released when felt. In other words, the burden those emotions bring can be removed. It’s not going to magically make your job better, but there will be less interfering with your ability to find new work, or perhaps discover better opportunities with your employer.

Letting go can be applied to any unwanted emotion. The less undesirable emotions there are, the more at peace you can be.

The more at peace you are, the more likely happiness will be present in your life.

Here is one way of letting go.

(1) First acknowledge the presence of the emotion or feeling you don’t want.

If you’re feeling angry, admit it. Sad, nervous, worried, and so forth. Openly to yourself recognize it’s there.

(2) Next, allow yourself to feel it. 

If fear is present, let it be felt. Anger is the same. Rage, sadness, jealousy, whatever. The emotion wants to be recognized and experienced. 

(3) Then, ask yourself if you can let it pass away.

Whether you answer yes or no, it doesn’t really matter. It’s not so much about gaining approval but rather to be present with it. The more you can be in touch, not fighting its presence, the faster it seems to dissolve. 

(4) Repeat 1 through 3 until you feel better.

In many instances, going through steps 1 – 3 will be enough one time. A good number of people who follow this process experience near-immediate relief. However, if you don’t feel a full release (and I didn’t the first time), do it again.

It took me about a dozen times before I was able to genuinely let go of the anger I had toward a co-worker a while ago. 

(5) You can do this any time, anywhere.

The first few times it’ll take a little practice, but eventually, you’ll find yourself capable of doing it anywhere, and quite rapidly. 

I’ve discovered that many circumstances that I did not want to be in, were much easier, and often worked out better through this practice.

By letting go regularly, you’ll notice less will affect you. Waiting in line is less burdensome, if at all. Delays, setbacks, disagreements, mistakes, and so forth just don’t sting like they used to.

When there is less affecting you, the experience of lasting happiness shows up, often with no real effort.

You also tend to make better decisions. Insights, clarity, and more present themselves, which many times results in personal and financial advancements. That’s not a bad thing either.

Feng Shui Can Boost Happiness

The effects of Feng Shui.

Even the practice of Feng Shui can help increase your happiness, though it still does not supersede the importance of looking within.

Environment Psychology has shown the powerful influence the environment can have on behavior. By adhering to some basic principles of Feng Shui that focus on decluttering, paying attention to the application of colors, and arranging furniture from the command position, you’ll increase the likelihood of feeling better. 

When you feel better, your choices improve. Combine that with letting go and you suddenly have a strong recipe for producing happiness.

You can read more on my previous writings on the benefits of decluttering here, and the application of colors here

In My Experience, Happiness Isn’t Something To Be Found

A hidden bear found.

Happiness is a state of being that too many spend their lives chasing, often looking for it in external circumstances or material possessions. There is nothing wrong with having things and a lot of them. In fact, it’s great.

However, things and favorable circumstances shouldn’t be the source of happiness.

True and enduring happiness arises when we learn to understand and manage our own thoughts, emotions, and perspectives. It’s about nurturing a positive mindset, practicing gratitude, and finding joy in the present moment. 

The easiest way is by letting go. Add a little bit of Feng Shui for a boost.

Happiness then, in my experience, is inevitable. 

Until the next time, cheers!

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