Have you ever noticed happy people seem more relaxed, energetic, and vibrant? It’s not your imagination. Being happy makes you feel good, and it’s good for your body. If you need to fill your life with more joy, take this 10 step path to happiness to improve your outlook on life!
Find a path toward happiness
Life isn’t always easy. From time to time, we’re shaken to our core when our sense of “normal” is thrown off balance. Whether it’s a personal situation or a worldwide phenomenon like we’ve experienced during the pandemic, it’s challenging to find happiness.
It is possible to come out of a difficult situation a stronger person, one who feels more fulfilled, a greater sense of contentment and happiness.
Sometimes taking a step back and recognizing things for what they are is the greatest gift you can give to yourself. While there are things in life over which we have no control, there are others you can influence.
You may not have power over what others do, say, think, and feel. However, you can control your responses and perceptions.
When you focus on your responses and perceptions and acknowledge and accept without judgment that life is unfair and uncertain at times, you’ll change the way you feel emotionally and physically.
How to find happiness within
Happy people have a stronger immune system, they cope with stress better, go to the doctor less, use less medication, report lower levels of pain, and miss fewer days of work!
First, figure out what happiness means in your life. What does it look like?
Then, what activities or people will make you achieve this state?
Finally, what’s holding you back from achieving this sense of fulfillment and contentment?
Is it anger, uncertainty, or stress?
To find happiness within, consider what brings you joy in life. Reignite your passions in life by taking this 10-step happiness journey.
- Be authentic.
- Learn the power of now.
- Be realistic.
- Know your priorities.
- Learn to let it go.
- Control your options.
- Be grateful.
- Celebrate along the way.
- Give to others.
- Invest in “you.”
Focus on one thing at a time so you find happiness rather than more overwhelm.
Happiness is a journey, as well as a destination. Celebrate along the way. That will not only make the journey all the more worthwhile but will also help to reinforce the behavior you enacted to achieve your ultimate goal.
1. Be authentic
“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.“
First, consider who you are every day. Are you showing your true personality and acting as your true authentic self?
It’s so difficult to be ourselves with the social media landscape. It’s full of blissful families and stress-free vacations. We see the realities of life far less, making it difficult to feel good about your own life if it’s not as joy-filled. So, if you spend a lot of time on Facebook or Instagram, consider taking a technology timeout. Focus on you, rather than keeping up with everyone else.
Reduce stress and increase joy by being yourself and no one else.
2. Learn the power of now
“Men spend their lives in anticipation, in determining to be vastly happy at some period when they have the time. But the present time has one advantage over every other – it is our own. Past opportunities are gone, future have not come.“
-Charles Caleb Colton
How much time do you waste either regretting the past or worrying about the future rather than enjoying the present?
Life-changing moments in our history are great reminders that there’s no time like the present. You never know what personal or worldwide event will change your sense of normal.
Even when “now” is less than ideal, like during the pandemic, you can find ways to cherish the present moment.
If you have trouble focusing on the “now,” consider mindfulness or other ways to reduce the stress in your life and enjoy each moment.
Also, try mind-calming techniques.
Gratitude is one of them. A gratitude journal can help you reflect on your current situation and find positivity in each day.
There is power in the present moment. Focus on what you can control here and now, rather than what already happened and what lies ahead.
3. Be realistic
“A pint can’t hold a quart; if it holds a pint, it is doing all that can be expected of it.“
When you face each day with a To-Do list you know is beyond your capacity to complete within a week, much less in a single day, how much happier would you be if you faced the facts?
Pare down the list to what you can realistically accomplish within the time available. Set yourself up for success by focusing on the things you can control.
When you’re feeling overwhelmed, do one thing. That’s one of the many way to boost your productivity.
4. Know your priorities
“Decide what your priorities are and how much time you’ll spend on them. If you don’t, someone else will.“
If everything is important, nothing is important. Are you spending your time and energy on what makes a difference? Or are you twirling in an activity that provides little light or heat?
Many people talk about achieving a work-life balance. It’s elusive for some just by the nature of their personal life or their career. To achieve balance, you need a 50/50 split.
If that doesn’t work for you, think of it as work-life harmony. In this world, work and life play off one another and work together harmoniously. With these 4 powerful tools, you’ll achieve work-life harmony which will help you live a happier life.
5. Learn to let it go
“Happy is he who learns to bear what he cannot change.”
Have you ever noticed how much lighter and happier you feel when you remove some of the emotional clutter you’re hoarding? If you need help, these are powerful ways to declutter your mind.
Do any of these sound like your life?
- You live in fear.
- You feel angry.
- You’re resentful.
- Have a spirit-crushing job.
- You have a habit that puts your health and life at risk.
- Your way of life no longer serves you well.
Getting stuck in these patterns is easy. When you’re stuck in the muck, it’s difficult to see opportunities knocking at your door. Do you feel like Atlas with the weight of the world on your shoulders? Are you feeling trapped but feel powerless to climb your way out? Are you saying no to yes?
Find freedom by letting go of that which no longer serves you. So you can say yes to the life you have!
6. Control your options
“…unlimited choice produces general suffering. The more choices we have to make, the less certainty we seem to have.“
Often less is more. Studies tell us that too many options can make us stressed, overwhelmed, less productive, and unhappy.
Limit your choices by first defining what is authentic to you and what isn’t. What feels right and what doesn’t match? Then, once you make a decision, don’t spend time second-guessing. Studies tell us you’ll usually be happy with whatever option you chose.
7. Be grateful
“Gratitude is a vaccine, an antitoxin, and an antiseptic.“
-John Henry Jowett
Think about the power of gratitude when you inject it in your life. It will free your soul of any poisons and toxins that prevent you from feeling joy.
Studies indicate happy people are more grateful. In addition, grateful people are happier. Start by focusing on what you’re thankful for in your own life, and then pass that joy on by sharing your gratitude for others.
Outward expressions of gratitude toward friends or neighbors going through a difficult time can put a smile on their face and yours. Need ideas? Try these acts of kindness, perfect for tough moments in life.
7. Celebrate along the way
“Sometimes you have to look back at your past and smile about how far you’ve come.“
-Marc and Angel Hack Life
Life is about the journey, rather than the destination. That’s why it’s a 10-step path to happiness. Reflect on how you feel along the way, and celebrate milestones.
Our brains are wired to gravitate to the negative and loss rather than gains. Don’t make the mistake of not noticing the positive. Make the most of the greatest as well as the simplest moments that bring you joy.
9. Give to others
“I served and saw that service is joy.“
Research reveals that helping others has the power to extend our lives. Paying it forward helps everyone, and often the person who provides support receives more than the one who receives it.
10. Invest in “You”
“The grass is always greener where you water it.”
When was the last time you invested in yourself? You can learn to be more optimistic and happier, but like most everything else, it requires effort and time.
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Plus, small steps you can take to change your life each month.
Investing in you doesn’t always have a monetary value. Taking time to relax, meditate, or de-stress may be just as powerful an investment because you’ll feel better after.
It’s a lesson even the most successful and well-known investors of our time, Warren Buffet, says proved to be his most valuable lesson. He invested in himself!
Invest in you – and happiness will follow!
How to live a happy life
How do you incorporate these tips so you can live a happier life? Print out this list. Carry it with you for the next month. Post it on your computer screen or your refrigerator. Put it somewhere you will notice it, and read it regularly.
Happiness is a practice in and of itself. The more you encourage yourself and celebrate happiness, the more often you’ll find you achieve it.
Sometimes taking a step back and recognizing things for what they are is the greatest gift you can give to yourself. While there are things in life over which you have no control, there are others you can influence. So, while you may not have power over what others do, say, think, and feel, you can control your responses and perceptions.
In other words, you control your happiness!
Instead of viewing the journey to happiness as something you “need to work on,” try to frame happiness as something you choose more often.
Every change in your life and lifestyle, big and small, starts with an intention to do something different than how you did it before. The same holds true for happiness.
So, while you may not have control over how others do something, know you have a choice in the way you act, react, respond to, and perceive the world around you. Here’s to choosing happiness now.
As a physician, healthcare executive at a Fortune 100 company, and integrative health practitioner, Z. Colette Edwards, MD, MBA knows the unique value of a holistic, whole-person approach to health and well-being. She also understands the challenges health inequities can present. Known as “The Insight Doctor,” she offers guidance and powerful tools that prepare your body, mind, and spirit for menopause, stress, and inflammatory bowel disease. Lastly, Dr. Edwards coaches individuals in the development of self-advocacy and health system navigation skills.