How Do I Find Happiness In Life?
The central trick to finding happiness in life is to stop LOOKING For it, and actually FIND it. There is a difference. If you are looking for happiness, then you generate an energy of NOT having it. Otherwise, why would you be looking for it? Whereas if you FIND it then you actually HAVE it, and can accumulate more and more of it. Let me show you how.
Here are ten easy strategies to actually find happiness in your life. They seem simple. They are! Happiness is actually very easy to find if you know where to look. Here are some of my best strategies:
1. Spend time being happy.
This sounds too easy. I mean, obviously, if you spend time being happy, then of course you will be happy, right? But – be honest – how many of us actually spend time simply being happy? Most of us spend our time scrambling around trying to earn money to buy things that we think will make us happy, but then they never do. So we spend more time scrambling thinking that it must be some other thing that will make us happy. But somehow, this strategy never seems to work out.
Here is the clincher. Happiness is never found in a thing outside of YOU. Happiness is a thing that is found inside of YOU. And the more you are running around trying to chase happiness or pin it down, the less of it you will have.
Right this moment, as you are reading this article, take a moment. Close your eyes if you need to in order to be less distracted. And simply say to yourself, “right now, for this moment, I am being happy”. If you need convincing, simply smile. Invite happiness to rise up in you. And then notice. Allow the space of the quiet moment of happiness to expand. Notice how it feels in your body to be happy. Especially notice the sensations of happiness. Does it change the way you breathe? Does it relax your body to be happy? Does it quiet your mind to be happy? How does it feel to be happy?
Notice that you can have this experience any time you choose it, and it doesn’t matter what else is going on around you. Simply make the choice for happiness, and it shows up! Practice happiness often in very short moments throughout the day, and I guarantee it will start to accumulate.
It is a sad truth that we have become so busy that we have to actually schedule happiness, at first, for it to happen at all. So, get out your smartphone or your calendar or your daytimer, and schedule it in. Pick one hour per week where all you have to do is take yourself out, alone, for FUN. And fight tooth and nail for that time, because I guarantee it will be encroached upon by the rest of your life.
During your fun time, remember that JOY and HAPPINESS are very closely related. So, go do something that you truly enjoy. This does not include laundry or running errands or anything other than that thing that you LOVE to do, that you never have time to do, that you always wish you had time to do. Now is that time. Simply go out, by yourself, and ENJOY one hour a week. Period.
While you are taking time to enjoy yourself, notice what shows up in your world. Notice the details of that hour. Notice the people around you if there are any. Step out of your usual time and into joy-time. Notice how your body feels while you are having fun. How does your body respond to happiness? Particularly, what are the associated sensations? The more you know how happiness feels in your body, the more you will be enabled to find it and notice it in your everyday life. Pretty soon you will be saying “oh look – right now I am happy!” because you will have learned how to recognize it, how to feel it.
When was the last time you simply spent time having fun with someone in your family or a friend? This could be someone who is close to you, or someone you haven’t seen for a while. Call them. Book a time. Go play together. While you are playing, notice how it feels.
This is particularly wonderful to do if you are a parent of small children. Book a date with (one of) them. Take them out and simply spend time enjoying each other (hint: leave your phone at home). This ideally shouldn’t cost a lot of money. Pick something they love to do. Or do something completely different, like taking them to an auto-wrecking car lot or a flea market or a flower market or whatever. While you are with them, focus on them. Laugh with them. Look into their eyes and SMILE. Take time to actually LISTEN to what they are saying. Children are very good at happiness. Join them! Take the space to allow happiness to occur for both of you together.
If you live in a city, this can be challenging. But, if you are near a body of water (a small pond works) go and sit by that water. Just watch the water. Spend five minutes doing nothing but noticing the beauty of the water. Or, find a blade of grass or a small plant. Even wet pavement in the rain can be a beautiful expression of nature. If you are lucky enough to live outside of a city, then you are surrounded by an abundance of happiness! Get outside and NOTICE whatever is there. Pay as much attention as you can to the abundant beauty of nature. Focus on it. Allow your appreciation of it to expand. Then pay attention to your appreciation. Let the beauty and your appreciation of that beauty become a never-ending spring of happiness within you.
Highballs and Duct Tape
Painted by Bruce Turnbull 2012
5. Spend time appreciating beauty.
Beauty can be expressed and appreciated in an incredible abundance of forms. Visual arts, film, music, food, flowers, gardens, zoos, architecture, fashion, etc. People are actually really good at creating beauty. Notice it! Take time to spend with it. Allow your appreciation of it to expand. Allow your enjoyment of it to get really big. Notice how it feels to enjoy it.
6.Simplify, simplify, simplify.
Really, happiness is the only thing that matters. So why do we spend so much time on everything else?
Happiness is knowing that at the end of the day, the only home we have is in our own breath. Everything else is expendable. There is great freedom and happiness in understanding this simple fact. So, take time to notice your breathing. This is the simple truth of life. Breathe in, breathe out. Simple.
7. Be open to receiving happiness.
What if the intelligence of the universe is just LONGING to give you happiness? How willing are you to receive that happiness? How have you opened yourself to happiness?
Often we spend time believing that we are unhappy, complaining and being grumpy. If you believe you are unhappy, then you will be unhappy.
Change your mind. Open yourself to at least the possibility of happiness. How much happiness are you allowed to experience today? Let yourself experience even more. Get out of the way of your own enjoyment.
8. Spend your life doing something you love that matters to your heart and soul.
This one is a bit more of a long-term project. But, it will naturally arise if you spend time being happy. Spending time being happy is an open invitation for more happiness. Eventually, you will be completely uninspired to do anything that doesnt contribute to your happiness. And totally inspired to do things that do! So, the best way to find your big happiness is to practice on the little things. Let your happiness be your guide.
However you personally celebrate that mystery – if you recognize it as God or Source or Mind or whatever you like. Open yourself to the mystery of unknowing in prayer or meditation or simply by sitting still. It doesnt have to be fancy. Just sit and notice the Great Unknown. And spend time noticing it. This will be sufficient to contribute to your happiness.
The Bars is a funky little technique developed by Access Consciousness that has made a huge contribution to my own level of happiness, peace, and joy. Check them out at www.accessconsciousness.com. There is information on their website about the Bars and where you can take classes in the Bars around the world. My upcoming classes can be found on their website, just search for me as a facilitator.
The News About Happiness
The good news is you dont have to implement all ten of these strategies to increase the level of happiness in your life. Just pick the two or three that sound the most FUN and the EASIEST to you, and try them for a day. If you like it, try it for another day.
The great news is that happiness is like a muscle. The more you use the muscle, the stronger it gets. Happiness is a great thing to practice – you can’t possibly get it wrong and the more you practice the easier it becomes to LIVE your LIFE from joy and happiness. Plus, the whole time you are practicing, you are practicing happiness, which is FUN. Fun for you, fun for the people in your life.
The most wonderful news is that happiness accumulates over time. Which is to say, experiencing it increases your capacity for experiencing more of it. Pretty soon, you will have so much happiness you simply won’t know what to do with it all. You will go through life laughing and tingling with joy. This, my friend, is what I truly wish for you and those you love.
So, pick the strategies that sound easiest and most enjoyable to you. Then try them out! And please comment below to let me know how it went. I look forward to hearing from you.
Another easy way to contribute to your happiness is to follow me on Twitter. I put out one tweet a day in the form of a question. The question is not meant to ever be answered. Simply let the question expand over the course of the day and see what shows up in your life. I look forward to playing with you! My username on Twitter is @SherylHamilton. See you there!!