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5 secrets to finding happiness

Updated: May 17, 2020

1. Don't look for happiness outside of yourself.

Nobody and no thing in this world can give us happiness. External things, people and experiences can spark us... can awaken a curiosity or stir a desire. We can then follow these threads and in the process discover something about ourselves. The first step is therefore an understanding that we need to know ourselves beyond our childhood and societal conditioning in order to begin to move toward a life where we can experience real happiness. Happiness comes from an alignment with the core sense of our self – the real us. This leads to point 2...

2. Cultivate your relationship with yourself

Left unchecked our relationship with ourselves can go off track – like a car without a driver behind the wheel. The way we treat ourselves tends to be a conditioned replica of how our parents treated us. Are we generous to ourselves? Do we give ourselves healthy routines that support our growth? To truly listen to our core needs and deepest longings takes focus and patience. Like helping a child to discover what they are truly passionate about, it may take some trial and error, and a few discouraging dead ends. Depending on how much care and attention was given to us as kids we may find that this sense of our truest yearnings is quite buried.

But the patient digging is worth the effort – for when you discover and connect to those innocent wantings, hopes and dreams it is astonishingly energizing! Keeping this inner spirit that we all felt at some point in childhood is indeed a key to finding happiness

3. Maintain hope by giving back

Happiness and hope are companions. Possessing a genuine sense of possibilities goes well with having happiness. Giving and being in a position to give is a great joy. How can you give back? Is there someone in your life who could do with knowing you are there for them? Is there a project you could undertake that results in a giving for others? Even just a small punctual thing, like doing something unexpected and joyful for no real reason. An example of this is those musical flash mobs, where musicians gather incognito in some public place and play beautiful live music for a gathering crowd of surprised and appreciative people. Creating wonder and delight for others for no reason other than an expression of joy and humanity.

4. Live in a place that nurtures you

Where you live is important. It needs to be a place where you feel held, and supported. Supported by the ambient environment of your surrounds. Do you enjoy the 'vibe' of the area? Does it feel good? If it doesn't ask yourself why. Identify what it is that is not right, or not supportive. In some cases it will actually be something inside you that is out of whack. Something of a deeper emotional nature that needs to be resolved. In other cases there is genuinely something not right about the feel of the environment of your place. Take stock. If your place actually is really nice, perhaps you are not truly appreciating that. Are you allowing yourself to register on a feeling level, just how supportive the place really is? Or is it that the place you're in is simply not right, and cannot support you in what you need at this time.

5. Cultivate gratitude

The key to this one is that the gratitude be genuine. There's no benefit in telling yourself you should be grateful for something if in fact you are not. This is not about 'behavior modification', but rather a curious examination of your life to see what it is that you are in fact really grateful for. And not an intellectual sense of gratitude but a visceral, feeling based experience of gratitude. When I did this exercise I realized how much I valued friendship - and that a couple of people in particular stood out. It came with a flood of feeling - these people were hugely important and I was so glad to have them in my life – but up to the point of doing the exercise I was largely taking them for granted – and hence not consciously connected to any feeling of gratitude. If you read about people who've gone through near death experiences a common thing that they report is having a real change of perspective about their lives. Things they took for granted before they actually had a great appreciation for now. And that feeling of genuine gratitude is hugely energizing.


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