It is a common question that is asked by many; How can I be happy? The reality may not be what you expect though because happiness isn't something you can find or purchase. True happiness is an inside job that is cultivated over time. It isn't instantaneous. To achieve lasting contentment, the practice of continuously expressing gratitude and consciously recognizing the good in your life must be done over and over and over again.
It can be easy to forget the impact our environment and people have on our emotional wellbeing. The practice of regularly expressing thankfulness for the living beings that contribute to our lives draws in positive vibrations. These emotions are then amplified when we learn how to also discern how much beauty there is to experience from being aware of the environment around us. At home and at work, it is crucial to value and acknowledge each individual’s efforts and contributions, with genuine appreciation and kindness. With these accumulative actions of recognizing the present-life blessings, creating moments of mindfulness and positive action, a healthy mind and body can begin to become more relaxed and less anxious about the course of life.
We can also extend this practice to parenting and family. Studies have shown that parent’s active participation in their children’s lives creates a strong connection and secure base for children’s development. Moreover, showing affection and admiration towards loved ones and being conscious of placing yourself in the shoes of another person can assist in learning how to respond, understand and connect with others. By letting our minds actively help us perceive the behaviours of those around us, we can begin to approach relationships with awareness and understanding. This includes cultivating a relationship (romantic or otherwise)with ourselves, understanding our needs and allowing ourselves to receive love.
In terms of personal growth, the practice of looking within yourself and being introspective is essential when seeking meaningful change. We must learn from our experiences, analyse our self-defeating thoughts, push boundaries in order to transform our internal monologues in order to align ourselves with our dreams and aspirations. Additionally, meditation enables us to detach from draining mental processes and seek comfort inside us. Being kind to yourself during difficult times teaches us about self-compassion and invites us to accept and learn from our failures without judgement.
Similar to personal growth, removing external stressors from everyday life is beneficial for mental health and can even contribute to physical health. This can involve creating structure and organisation with routines, forming identities and social circles, eating healthy, limiting exposure to media, allowing yourself time free of judgements and strictly taking care of your body. Also, managing extreme stress levels and/or depression means sometimes one needs to treat it like any other illness, take time off and do things that infuse joy and tranquillity into your time.
In closing, achieving long-term lasting happiness involves both conscious effort and contemplation of the here and now, self-acceptance, indulging in activities that bring joy, practising gratitude and understanding the perspective of those around us. With regular attention to our emotional environment, we can learn from our experiences, demonstrate more positivity and compassion to those around us and eventually acquire more satisfaction in life.