To many, the goal in life is simple: to be happy. However, may people seem to have difficulty doing this the way they expect it to be these days, what with busy schedules and bills to pay and whatnot. But there is a secret: the paths to happiness are closer than we think.
The thing about happiness is that it’s both simple to achieve, and yet not, because some of the paths to happiness seem to go against what we may know and have been raised to believe. But when done right, in the right doses, based on what one is capable of doing, these paths to happiness will truly increase your happiness levels to new heights.
There are two kinds of paths to happiness: the paths for others, and the paths for yourself.
The Paths For Others
These are the things that involve our daily activities, things we do to our physical self, do outside to other people, to the world, our expression of self to everyone and everything else.
1.) Give and Relate – when you care about others and give and extend help, gifts, or assistance. In addition to this, building relationships by relating to others, engaging in their joys, supporting them through their sorrows, and strengthening bonds through love and care, it makes us happy. Both of these paths also increase and widen our own social networks (no, I’m not talking about social media ones!) and give a sense of belonging that many people may find difficulty searching.
Suggested ways – volunteer in shelters and soup kitchens, budget a reasonable amount for regular gift giving, reconnect with old friends.
2.) Be Active and Try Things – exercising and getting fit not only have physical benefits, they also have emotional and mental benefits as well. Getting an endorphin and adrenaline high can not only improve the mood at that moment, but also strengthen the body which in turn will also improve mental well-being. And you don’t need to be a triathlete or a gymrat to do this. Just be active in your own realistic ways! And once you’re active, try out new things. Learning skills and achieving milestones also brings us happiness and a sense of discovery, and in some cases, it is the path to discovering one’s true passions that can lead to an even happier life.
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Suggested ways – get a gym membership, go on regular walks with the dog, attend workshops, go back to school, go on hikes, enjoy nature.
3.) Increase Awareness and Appreciation – there is more to life than what your eyes glance at as time whizzes by. The proverbial “stop and smell the roses” saying applies here! Increase your awareness through meditation, slow down your day to appreciate the many different things that are present in our world. When was the last time you paused and simply listened to birds chirping over breakfast? The last time you walked to work and smelled the different aromas of the city? Things like this. And once you appreciate what you have, what you experience everyday, it can make you a lot happier.
Suggested ways – walk to work sometimes, go to a park and read a book, find hidden places, engage in your hobby.
The Paths For Yourself
These are the things we do inward towards us, our mind and soul.
1.) Accept Yourself, Find Meaning – we have to accept the fact that all of us are made, raised, and live differently, with even the slightest of nuances that differ us from the rest, despite what societal norms try to dictate. We should not compare who we are on the inside with what we see from other people outside. Accept who you truly are, what your heart really tells you, and it is the very powerful thing. And it is in accepting who we really are can we start to find meaning in our lives, what we are meant to do and give back to this world.
Suggested ways – meditate regularly, find like-minded peers and engage them, take time off and go on vacation, unleash your spirit to the universe.
2.) Be In Touch With Ups And Downs – our lives will be an emotional rollercoaster ride. It won’t always be good, and it won’t always be bad, unless we choose to do nothing about it. Having the right attitude in experiencing the ups and downs, being grateful and sharing the positive emotions, and being strong and reaching out when needed during the negative emotions, trains our mind and soul to be stronger, bounce back better, and be happier in the long run.
Suggested ways – reflect, meditate, recall past experiences
3.) Plan Your Path – having a compass for your life goal can be a daunting task, but once written down, or planned ahead, you will find that when you achieve milestones that adhere to this compass, each one will bring you happiness and joy. So have that plan ahead!
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