“Happiness” is a loaded word: It’s loaded with expectations, hope, yearning, confusion…. You get the idea. What makes happiness feel so elusive usually has more to do with how you relate to the concept than with how you really feel. Here are a few simple adjustments that can help you unleash the happiness within yourself.
1. Be present
Awareness is the springboard from which we can appreciate the world around us. Set reminders in your phone throughout the day to pause and check in with yourself. By stepping into a space of curiosity you will discover an increased ability to notice happiness in everyday life.
2. Harness difficulty
As long as you’re alive, challenges will find you. Sometimes you probably even create challenges for yourself—we all do. Instead of getting down on yourself, try thinking of difficult moments as opportunities to ask yourself: How can I be kinder to myself right now?
3. Get connected
Connection is more than an experience—it’s also a skill that we can strengthen with small gestures. Try smiling at a stranger, tell a friend you appreciate them, or tell a loved one how much they mean to you. Create connection in the small moments of life.
4. Turn meaning into action
What in life really matters to you? Is it family, compassion, good friends, the environment? Take these values and turn them into verbs. If you value family, make a plan to put phones aside during dinner. If it’s the environment, consider volunteering with an organization.
5. Find purpose
Getting involved in something outside ourselves has the power to infuse our daily lives with meaning amid the drudgery. Every day, ask yourself these three questions:
1. What do I care about beyond myself?
2. What action can I take today that aligns with this?
3. In the long run, how will my actions affect the world?
Practice and repeat this over time and watch your sense of purpose grow.