Yes, it’s true. Happiness can be a practice. Happiness is a skill that you can teach yourself, allowing you to increase happiness in all areas of your life.
The challenge is how to teach yourself to make happiness a habit rather than be reliant on the seemingly random occurrence of the universe.
Actually the process is simple. As you develop these happiness habits, you will begin living your life to the fullest and sharing joy and warmth with every person in your life.
You are probably familiar with Stephen Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” His book was so popular because it was effective, helping people develop habits that transformed their lives.
In this article, from Ken Wert’s wonderful blog “Meant to be Happy;” Ken gives us his insight on what it takes to develop, “7 Habits of Highly Happy People” and how you can develop each one of them.
So to get you started, here’s Ken…
Habit #1: Think
Highly happy people are possibility and opportunity thinkers. They see the large picture and focus on the immediate steps that lead to the life they imagine. They refuse to dwell on doom and gloom “what-if” thinking.
They think imaginatively, picturing in their mind’s eye the life they want to live, the person they want to be, the way they want to serve, the meaning they want to impart, the family they want to raise, the relationships they want to enjoy.
Their lives are extensions of their vision, of both the way they think and of what they think about most of the time.
People who live highly happy lives are people who have mastered their thoughts, who are not buffeted by ugly, critical, whiny, self-defeating ways of thinking. They don’t harbor grudges or replay old wounds or failures over and over again in their minds, except to learn the lessons embedded in them.
They focus their thoughts on the uplifting and inspiring, keeping them largely free of gutter-think and negativity, prejudice and debilitating fear.
Habit #2: Grow
Highly happy people don’t lop-side their lives by focusing exclusively on fun or work or money or sports. They know that pounding a single note in life will create about as much happiness as pounding a single key on the piano will create music.
So they spend time growing in all significant compartments of life, recognizing the exponential growth to their happiness when synergistic growth occurs between each of the major areas of living. Highly happy people are therefore dedicated to personal growth in at least these 6 areas:
Mind: They work to develop their minds by reading good books, challenging their thinking, working at developing insight and wisdom and cultivating intelligence and building a storehouse of knowledge. They have a passion for learning and spend time and resources on its pursuit.
Body: The happiest people are not slaves to a self-limited body. They are not slaves to the appetites of the flesh. They don’t abuse the vehicle of their mind and spirit by filling it with garbage. They respect it as they would a temple. And so they eat good food and exercise regularly and avoid the poison of addictive substances.
Spirit: These people are keenly aware that they are more than mere bodies though. They recognize a higher sphere and look to feed that part of their lives that is in tune with the infinite. They read from scripture and other inspiring works. They fill their minds with uplifting ideas. They serve and bless others. They meditate and pray and connect to spiritual things.
Character: Happy people know their integrity to high values is more important than any earthly reward they could otherwise compromise character to attain. And so they constantly work on the foundation of their lives, the reputation and legacy their characters will create. They know their character is at the core of who they are and that by doing work there, all other parts of their lives will be positively affected.
Relationships: Because relationships are crucial to highly happy people, they prioritize them. In fact, they believe there is nothing more important than the work they do to build trusting relationships with family and friends.
Talents/Skills: Highly happy people know they are capable of great things. They know there is music and poetry and novels and skyscrapers and bridges and healing and improvement waiting inside to be pulled to the outside.
And so they try new things and develop new habits by replacing old bad ones with new good ones. They strengthen weaknesses and share the talents they acquire, not out of boastful showmanship, but as a humble steward of God-given abilities others can benefit from seeing and learning about … or, frankly, just for the fun of it!
Habit #3: Love
Highly happy people love life. They love others and themselves too. They accept the truism that their love for others is limited by their capacity for self-love.
Highly happy people love truth and nature and beauty. They love their faith and human decency. They live lives of passion because they are passionate about so much that life provides.
They love learning and growing and experiencing all life has to offer. Their passion is an extension of the love and appreciation they have for living a life of meaning and purpose.
Habit #4: Express
Highly happy people express their appreciation for all that fills life. They are grateful for the little things most people take for granted and for the big things as well. They express gratitude for acts of kindness and for the challenges that help build their character muscles.
They believe their thoughts and ideas are important enough to express them. They are not intimidated into silence but are not verbal bullies either. They express their interest in others and express their desire to learn from them.
They freely express earned praise and encouragement and forgiveness. They are not afraid to express their more tender and emotional sides because their insides are securely centered on universal principles of character.
So their expressions are honest, forthright, true, authentic, but respectful, honorable, decent, thoughtful and reflect a soul unencumbered by the fears and anxieties less happy people are bogged down by. Read about the rest of the seven habits here…
Life is built on the choices we make, consciously or unconsciously. Whenever we are learning a new skill, whether it’s learning to drive or cooking a new dish, in the beginning it’s necessary to pay close attention to the details, to be very conscious of what we’re doing.
With repetition these skills become a part of our subconscious, no longer requiring our full attention; they become a habit. This process works, and because the universe practices non-judgment, it doesn’t matter whether the habit serves you or not.
The wonderful thing is that nothing is set in stone and you can always make a different choice. So why not choose happiness as a habit?
When you practice the Happiness Habits you are choosing to create a life of joy, growth, passion, purpose and Love.