I’ll say it again…Happiness.
Take a few breaths, relax the way I did on the couch in the bright sunshine. It was while enjoying the warmth and beauty of a spring day in Richmond, Virginia, with Bella that I contemplated the key to happiness. Lately, the time spent on my couch has been quite intellectually stimulating which is proof that the plan for better health is working.
As Bella chewed on her keys, I pondered happiness.
37 Keys To Happiness
Happiness is officially defined as a state of well-being brought about by enjoying, showing, or marked by contentment, pleasure, satisfaction or joy.
There are some keys that will help us get to a state of feeling happiness and it really isn’t rocket science.
- Be here, now – Living in the present is the only minute that we can control. The past is gone and the future isn’t here yet.
- Remain aware – While living in the moment, be aware of everything that is making that moment possible.
- Gratitude – Appreciation for everything big and small is a vital key to happiness.
- Accept that it isn’t easy – We are all different, but there is for sure one thing that is the same; life is often difficult and filled with adversity. If we accept this truth, the painful times are a little easier to bear.
- Let your body lead you – Our physical body will let us know what it needs, (rest, sleep, fun, food, water, shelter, warmth) so listen and accommodate it.
- Be comfortable in your skin – You have beauty of the body and the soul. If you don’t believe it, ask someone that loves you and they will agree with me.
- Let go of fear – Happiness is strangled and suffocated by fear. Face your fears, see them as they really are (the product of memory, which dwells in the past) and overcome them. You can’t improve the past with actions in the present. Accept it and move on fearlessly into the future.
- Become resilient – You know yourself best, so learn techniques that will guide you to bouncing back resiliently during and after difficult experiences.
- Friendly relationships – We are all social beings and cultivating strong relationships reinforces our positive self-image.
- You are smart enough – People with the highest IQ’s are not capable of any more happiness than those with the lowest IQ’s. Why? Often, people who are smarter also have higher expectations of themselves and life which keeps their state of happiness equal to everyone else’s level.
- Accept change – Sure! Just hand me all your dimes, nickles and quarters. What? Oh, not that kind of change? Alright, change is not easy to accept, but I am trying to do it with a semblance of grace. Change happens every day to every one, so the sooner you can find peace with the whole concept of change, the more happiness you will find in your life.
- Peace, be still – Meditating and remaining in touch with our inner dialogue is a vital key to finding, being and remaining in a state of happiness.
- Enjoy the journey – Nurturing and attaining goals is great, but as I always say, “Stop and smell the roses” or in other words, enjoy the journey.
- You’re all you need – Other people can influence your happiness in a positive or negative way, but they are not needed in order for you to have happiness in your life. Love yourself.
- Manage stress – If you don’t manage stress, it will manage you and take your straight to an early grave. Stress causes so many problems in the body that it literally will kill you. I don’t know a better reason to learn to manage your stress than that, so having control of this part of life is definitely a key to having happiness.
- Let it be – Over analyzing every little aspect of life, our thoughts and feelings is unnecessary. Take the time to just enjoy, observe and give up trying to figure everything out. Women could take a lesson from men with this key to happiness.
- Marriage – Although marriage is not all white lace and roses, it is still a scientifically proven fact that people who are married, live longer and are happier. Just for clarification, cohabiting does not have the same positive effect as marriage. Obviously, the piece of paper and gold band have a magical happiness power that some speculate as a great proof of commitment and love.
- Approval by one – Relinquish your need for external approval because the only opinion that really counts is your own. Have an unconditional self-acceptance and self-love.
- To thine own self be true – Learn who you are and what makes you tick. Become empowered with a clarity of your authentic self.
- Focus – Older people have it all going on and can teach us all a very valuable lesson about an important key to happiness. As we age, it seems natural to focus on the things that make us happy and ignore or banish all the things that negatively impact our happiness. Think about it, when you’re 95 years old, every experience is a little richer because it could be the last time you get to live it.
- Be satisfied – Keeping up with the neighbors does not bring happiness. If you want what you have, you’ll have what you want along with the happiness associated with the feeling of being satisfied.
- More is not necessarily better – Studies have shown that once your basic needs are met, money only seems to add to your happiness if you already feel happy. It doesn’t bring you permanent happiness.
- Faith – Whether you believe in God, a Higher Power or something else, exhibiting faith in something greater than our self creates security and gives us a purpose in life. Feeling an ultimate direction for our existence leads to happiness.
- You’re not alone – In case you didn’t know it, there are billions of other human beings inhabiting the planet. We are all connected in many ways, so no matter what you’re going through, someone else is going through the same thing. Remember the movie “Cast Away” with Tom Hanks? As he carried on conversations with the volleyball named Wilson, I was very aware of how important it is that we are all in this experience of life together.
- Let go of anger – Anger stifles forgiveness and the unforgiving spirit finds happiness to be elusive. Face the circumstance with a greater understanding and anger will subside as you learn to cope. A key point to remember is that just because you forgive, it doesn’t mean that what happened wasn’t wrong. It just means that you aren’t going to let that emotion or the circumstance control you or your future.
- Listen – Communication is such a major key to having solid relationships. When I had my manly communication epiphany, I started to watch how men and women relate with each other on a daily basis. It is totally fascinating! In our conversations with both genders, it is important to truly listen and to ensure the atmosphere is conducive to great communication.
- Don’t sleep with dogs – Growing up I remember my mother saying, “If you sleep with dogs, you’ll wake up with fleas.” Well, I eventually understood the message. If you are surrounded by negative people filled with hate, their attitude will greatly influence you. The inner you is reflected by what you do, where you go and who you choose to spend time with on a daily basis. If you wake up with fleas, happiness is usually very far away.
- Give unselfishly – An unselfish heart and charitable spirit, gives much, but receives more. Happiness can always be found in giving unselfishly of our money, time and talents. Be generous with yourself…often.
- Strengths, not weaknesses – No one is perfect. Don’t expect perfection of others or yourself and I guarantee that happiness will be much easier. It is great to want to improve, but understand that you won’t ever be able to fix everything.
- Smile – It is said often, but that doesn’t diminish the importance of putting a smile on your face every day. Happiness smiles.
- You’re the boss – You are in control of all your actions, so don’t set yourself up with predestined unhappiness.
- Judge not – Not only shouldn’t you judge others, but don’t judge yourself. Happiness gets bogged down when consumed with a judgmental mindset.
- Give up the bad stuff – If this comes across as bossy or preachy, I’m sorry, but give up the toxic things that are bad for your body and soul. You know the normal things like drugs, cigarettes and alcohol, but even things like tanning, over eating and abusive relationships are things that can drag every bit of happiness into the toilet.
- Courage – I know that it is not easy to be courageous in the face of tribulation and fear. Courage, however, is one of the most important keys to obtaining happiness.
- Persevere – People who give up don’t succeed. People who keep going, not only succeed, but they are also much happier.
- All or nothing – Be in your life, activities and relationships, all the way, one hundred and fifty percent.
- Be like a cow – Have you ever watched how a cow roams around the pasture totally content with eating grass, mooing and relaxing? Be content with yourself. After all, you are an original.
I nearly bit my fingers off while typing number 11, but I stand behind my list of 37 Keys to Happiness in order to live a happier life. Obviously, number 11 is the bane of my existence. Maybe my attitude would change if I took some time to chew on Bella’s keys because they sure do seem to make her happy.