Ask anyone what they want out of life and the answer is universal: everyone wants to be happy. However, even though people are becoming more successful and have better access to resources, the question of happiness remains: many of us remain unhappy and dissatisfied with life as it is. The key to happiness, then, is not material success. Instead, it is a feeling of contentment that we must cultivate in our daily lives.
1) Avoid comparisons: We often measure our self-worth by comparing ourselves to others. The media we consume feeds our sense of relative deprivation, where the emphasis shifts from the haves to the have-nots. Each of us has different strengths, priorities and life experiences. Don’t let your self-worth depend on other people’s.
2) Focus on your strengths: We all have our share of strengths and weaknesses. While it’s important to learn from mistakes, don’t be too critical of yourself. Instead, focus on the things you’re good at and use your strengths to reach your potential.
3) Find the purpose: Doing things simply because others are doing them will not give you the happiness or satisfaction you are looking for. Find meaning and purpose in what you do. In times when you find yourself struggling, let yourself be guided by your values. Go beyond yourself and strive to make an impact in the lives of others as well. Research has shown that much of our anxiety and depression stems from our obsession with looking within ourselves and worrying about our condition. The moment you do something for others without expecting it, you feel happier. Altruism can go a long way toward creating a sense of well-being for both ourselves and those around us.
4) Celebrate your success: We often beat ourselves up for our failures, but we don’t always recognize a job well done. No success is too big or too small. Celebrate every success, every step forward.
5) Rate your efforts: Despite our best efforts, things may not always go our way. Remember that while our efforts are within our control, the end result is not. Take pride in the efforts you make.
6) Acknowledgment: Gratitude is a positive emotion that leads to a greater appreciation for the positive things in life. Practice gratitude every day by taking the time to recognize and appreciate all that you have.
7) Invest in relationships: In our pursuit of material success, we often tend to take our relationships for granted, probably one of the biggest mistakes we make in our pursuit of happiness. More than money and fame, it’s healthy and supportive relationships that are critical to our happiness. Whether it’s within family, friends, colleagues, or community, take the time to prioritize relationships.
8) Enjoy what you do: Doing things you don’t like and waiting for short breaks to enjoy life is likely to lead to unhappiness. Instead, engage in the things you love so that work doesn’t seem like such a chore. In your daily life, spend time on things that bring you joy, add meaning, and give you a sense of fulfillment. Embrace new experiences instead of material acquisitions. Get outdoors and sign up for creative workshops that address your passion.