We might want several things from life: better finances, a bigger house, a more fulfilling career. But in accomplishing these goals, what we’re truly hoping for is a lasting sense of contentment—happiness. Perhaps, happiness is the ultimate goal of human existence. Our goals, then, simply form the circumstances which we believe can make us happy. But this attitude makes happiness seem elusive. As we frantically chase it, it escapes our grip, appearing ever distant.
Truth is, happiness is a state of mind that can be independent of our circumstances. And while this state of mind might seem elusive, we can achieve it by simply inculcating certain habits—habits that declutter our lives and make room for all the good things the world has to offer us.
Count your blessings
It is scientifically proven that practising gratitude can make us happier. Taking a few minutes every day to remind ourselves of all the things we are grateful for can improve various aspects of our lives. When done first thing in the morning and right before turning in for the day, this habit can help us eliminate negative emotions and replace them with positive ones. By fixing our general attitude towards life, gratitude can improve relationships, professional lives, even health. When every sphere of our life improves, we automatically feel more fulfilled and happy.
Connect with nature
American naturalist John Muir once said, “In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.” It is indeed true. There are physical, mental and spiritual benefits that come from engaging with nature. Activities like taking a walk in the woods, swimming in the ocean or hiking up a mountain can do more than just clear our minds. They can open our hearts to the beauty of the world we live in, and create in us a sense of childlike wonder. Connecting with nature this way not only recharges our batteries but also brings us perspective.
Simple acts like buying lunch for a homeless person or feeding your neighbourhood strays every day can make a difference. By helping people and animals, we form connections with them that can bring us warmth and joy.
Make time for inner reflection
Introspection is crucial for self-improvement. And if we do not improve consistently, we stagnate. Often, it is in stagnation that misery arises. This makes it all the more important for us to periodically set aside time to reflect on ourselves and take stock of where we stand. Being honest with ourselves about our shortcomings can help us work on them and evolve as individuals. At the same time, acknowledging our strengths and accomplishments can motivate us to build on them and do better. They say that the solutions to most of our problems lie within ourselves. A little alone time every day can help us look within.
Give back to the world
We live in a world that is full of inequalities. There are always people and animals who can use our help. Contributing to their lives can give us a purpose in ours. This in turn, can bring us happiness. One does not have to be a philanthropist to give back to the society. Simple acts like buying lunch for a homeless person or feeding your neighbourhood strays every day can make a difference. By helping people and animals, we form connections with them that can bring us warmth and joy. This can translate into a life of giving that can benefit others, besides bringing us peace and contentment.