When we're happy, we're productive, we're good at building
meaningful relationships with those around us, and... we feel great!
But happiness is a tough thing to pin down.
Here are five things that lead to lasting well-being...
1. Feel Your Emotions
All emotions serve a grand purpose in assuring our survival and our quest for a sense of well-being. Don't run from your feelings.
Fear can guide us away from danger...or help us to overcome the past, once we learn how to differentiate what is frightening us now, from what scared us as children.
Sadness can flush out our natural suffering.
Anger can protect us...or signal deeper feelings
And by taking time to focus on emotions such as peace, gratitude, satisfaction,
pleasure, inspiration, hope, curiosity, or love guarantee a sense of happiness.
- Get Involved
When we're truly engaged in a situation, task, or project,
we experience a state of flow. Time seems to stand still or rush by, we lose our sense
of self, and we concentrate intensely on the present. True flow comes from an authentic passion arising from our highest self...not a false
addiction to a quick high.
3. Positive Relationships
We are social beings, and good relationships are
core to our well-being. People who have meaningful,
positive relationships with others are happier than those who do not.
4. Meaning and Purpose
Meaning comes from serving a cause bigger than ourselves.
Whether this is a specific spirituality, deity or religion, or a cause that
helps, entertains, nurtures others in some way, we all need meaning in our lives
to have a sense of well-being.
You don't have to save the world, just be nice.
It is healthy to strive to better ourselves in some way,
whether we're seeking to master a skill, achieve a valuable goal, or win in
some competitive event. As long as we don't overdo it and burn ourselves out
Let's look at how you can do this.
Since we can't be happy all the time, we need to make
sure that we experience all of our feelings. Repressing your feelings prevents well-being. Let your anger, fear and sadness come. Ride it like a wave. And focus on emotions such as pleasure, happiness,
contentment, peace, joy, and inspiration.
If you're not experiencing enough gladness
in your life, stop and think about why.
First, look at your career. Do you get to use your talent and strengthsin your
Also, take a moment to identify people, events, or things
that give you pleasure. Find ways to bring joy into your daily routine, and to ensure that you don't keep on putting
these things off into a future... that never quite arrives.
Do you feel engaged in your career and your life?
Engagement is most commonly thought of as doing something creative..., but you can also experience deep engagement when participating in
sports, spending time with friends, or working on projects that fascinate you.
Do you have positive relationships? These can be with
family, friends, neighbors, or colleagues.
Relationships take engagement and effort, and they're
strengthened when we make an effort to connect with other people.
On the other
hand, you can't do much to change people: if your relationships aren't
positive, how far should you seek to preserve them?
Do you feel that your life and work has meaning? That is, do
you feel that you're connected in some way to a cause bigger than yourself?
Spending time with others, volunteering, entertaining or
performing acts of kindness can really improve our sense of meaning in life.
For many of us achievement is everything, and if we're
not busy it can seem that we're not living up to expectations and living a
However, if we continually push ourselves, we can easily run ourselves ragged in pursuit of the next achievement.
If you feel that you're devoting too much time
towards your achievements (and thereby throwing the rest of your life out of
balance), then it might be time to pull back and focus on the other four elements
that can lead you to well-being
Adapted from the
ideas of Martin Seligman Ph.D.
“Happiness is the
meaning and purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.”