“I am in charge of how I feel and today I am choosing happiness.” ~Likainen Parketti~
That turns out to be a big mistake.
Yes, things will make you happy – for a little while.
When you first get “things”they’re fun and they make you feel good, but like fireworks, that light up the sky for a moment then disappear, so does the pleasure you get from “things.”
What’s the secret to lasting happiness, joy and wellbeing?
Things have little effect on your overall wellbeing and none that’s lasting. Your genes, according to researches play a major role but they are not easily manipulated. “Choice” is the best strategy for boosting your happiness.
Maybe you’ve heard the saying that “Nothing can make you happy, you can only choose happiness.”
So then, how do you choose happiness? Practice.
There are practices, that when you choose to do them, will increase your happiness. However, you must do them, “There is no happiness without action.”
Ten Secrets to Lasting Happiness
It is the mission statement of this site to share with you practices and strategies to increase your overall happiness and wellbeing.
However, the “Ten Secrets to Lasting Happiness” are not the actual the practices and strategies but are the activities or categories where the practices are found.
1. Gratitude and Appreciation (Savoring) – Gratitude and appreciation are two sides of the same coin which includes of some of the most powerful practices for inviting joy and wellbeing into your life. Simply put gratitude can make your life happier and more satisfying.
I’ve listed gratitude first because it found underlying, many if not most, of the other activities.
2. Practicing Kindness and Compassion – Kindness and compassion are the basis of all moral behavior. Kindness at its core is about relieving the suffering of others, (whether it is minor discomfort or major trauma) They, also, simultaneously relieve the suffering of the one committing the act of generosity.
The milk of human kindness is happiness.
The fourteenth Dalai Lama described it this way, “If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”
3. Practicing Forgiveness – Forgiveness means to untie – forgiveness is the untying of our emotional knots. It is in this release of emotion, where we freely feel the flow of pain, fear, anger, loss and disappointment and where we also can experience empathy, compassion and ultimately joy.
It was a hard choice whether to list gratitude of forgiveness first, because forgiveness often must be practiced first to even get to a place of gratitude. One of the hardest people to forgive is yourself, and is very closely related to the next happiness activity.
4. Self-Esteem and Worthiness – To know yourself – Positive self-esteem is unconditioned, lacking self-judgment, shifting your identity from the ego oriented self-image to the authentic-self, which is who you are beyond the masks of all your social conditioning. Unless you are happy with who you are, you will never be happy.
5. Cultivating Nurturing Relationships – This category explores the connection between happiness and relationship, because the key to our happiness and wellbeing are our relationships.
The connection between happiness and your social relationships are evolutionary wired in, they serve many important needs.
6. Practicing Optimism – Practicing optimism as a strategy to increase happiness has a great deal in common with practicing gratitude, as both focus on the positive side of life. Optimism is not only about the past and present but about anticipating a wonderful future.
New research suggests that there is a new category of optimist – Realistic Optimist – that combines the positive outlook of optimists with the clear-eyed perspective of realist. Realistic optimists combine the two views and as the result are forward looking and at the same time aren’t getting bogged down by unhappiness.
7. Giving and Receiving – The activities of giving and receiving are closely aligned to kindness and compassion. Spiritual teachers describe them different aspects of the dynamic flow of the energy of the universe, like the inflow and out flow of the ocean tides.
It is the intention (meaning) behind giving and receiving that is most important. The most potent is to create happiness for the giver and the receiver.
8. Purpose and Passion – Purpose is most often interpreted as career, however, it’s larger than that, defining not only all the roles we play but our symbiotic relationship with the entire Universe.
Without purpose and passion there is no meaning, and without meaning there is no true happiness or wellbeing.
To have a happy life is to have a meaningful life, which is create by belonging to and being of service to something that is greater than self.
It’s important to have a passion for the moment and your journey through life. It’s the key to true happiness.
9. Flow and Peak Experience – Finding flow and peak experience are connected to purpose and passion and related to the practice of mindfulness or presence. They are the ability to expand your mind and body to achieve mastery and discover the rewards found in each moment, indeed in life itself.
Peak experience is similar, except that it can happen spontaneously – not necessarily requiring mastery – and leads to self-actualization.
10. Meditation – Meditation, because it is the path to self-realization, is the path to the ultimate happiness and the journey that reaches for the highest level of fulfillment.
Even if this seems too esoteric, meditation encourages happiness in all aspects of your life; work and play. Meditation is an antidote to your primitive biological responses. It resets the mind-body mechanism and reducing stress and enhancing your immune system.
I do not claim this as the definitive list of activities or categories to bring about lasting happiness and wellbeing. For some, this list includes subcategories, for others, they require greater refinement.
Use anyone of the activities to build a series of practices around and then take action and you will discover more wellbeing and greater happiness in your life.