8 Steps to True Happiness

“I think the purpose of life is to be useful, to be responsible, to be compassionate. It is, above all, to matter and to count, to stand for something, to have made some difference that you lived at all.” Louis D. Brandeis

It’s become popular over the last several years, to create vision boards in order to manifest your dreams. Vision boards are collages, made with images cut from magazines. Their purpose is to represent the abundance you want in to create and obtain in your life.

The manifestation guru’s want you to believe that reaching your goals and manifesting your dreams will bring you happiness.

The problem with vision boards is that they are all about ‘me,’ my needs, my wants, and my desires. They don’t stand for community, service to others, or making a difference, things I believe that are required for personal happiness.

If money, possessions, fame, and status, brought happiness then Amy Winehouse would still be singing, Michael Jackson would be still be dancing, and Hollywood would be the happiest place on earth.

Tal Ben-Shahar author of The How of Happiness: A scientific Approach to Getting What You Want says, “Happiness is a combination of meaning and pleasure. We need what we’re experiencing to be meaningful.”

Happiness comes from within. Being content requires living from within, putting more focus on personal values, and loving others. Happiness is more about internal qualities than external stuff. It’s more about inclusion than separation. Happiness isn’t something you search for or go after, it’s a moment by moment decision you make.

Anyone can become a happier person because happiness begets happiness. However it does takes a lot of effort.

Read on for steps to implement your personal happiness plan:

1. Make an intentional choice.

Happiness is an intentional choice. Each morning tell yourself, “I’m happy today.” Take daily responsibility for your happiness quotient. Choose to enjoy the next 24 hours, then the next, and the next. If nothing else ever changes in your life, know that in spite of everything, you can be happy. Make a commitment to happiness, be happy now.

2. Practice self-acceptance.

Honor your uniqueness. Dance with your spirit and reach for the stars. Shine your light on your quirkiness. Appreciate your magnificent talent and enormous wisdom, use them to make the world a better place.

Stop chasing happiness. When you quit neurosing about a better job, a bigger home, a smaller body, joy bubbles to the surface. Happiness isn’t something you chase or become in a distant future. Happiness is all that you are right now.

3. Invest in the best.

The best investment you can make is in the relationships you have with your family, friends, colleagues, and community. Communicate. Spend time together. Participate in volunteering, a feel-good activity. As you enrich the lives of others you enrich your own. Strong connections to others increases your well- being. Chasing happiness causes you to miss the happiness right under your nose. Extend love to others today. Notice how good it makes you feel.

4. Live in a state of appreciation.

Learning to be grateful throughout the day will change the way you interpret life. It changes your brain and opens your heart. Writing down your gratitude list helps solidify it in your brain.The more you express gratitude, the more you find to be grateful for.

Happiness isn’t acquiring something or in some future event. Gratitude is found in the present moment, happiness follows.

5. Drop grievances and resentments.

Forgiveness is giving up being a victim. It turns ‘poor me’ into ‘free me.’ You create your own suffering, stress, and misery by your need to be right. When you hold on to resentment, you miss the present by reliving stories of the past. Happiness dwells in a loving heart and a healed past. Decide to see things differently. Don’t worry about how to forgive, instead choose to be a forgiving person.

6. Enjoy your life.

According to University of California, Irvine’s Professor Lee Berk, “If we took what we know about the medical benefits of laughter and bottled it up, it would require FDA approval.” Take the time to enjoy doing the things you love. Don’t allow the pursuit of a dream trump your time to play and have fun. Be spontaneous, lighten up and laugh. Untether yourself from technology. Leave your electronics at home. Never underestimate the power of creating good times for yourself.

7. Get connected.

Know what inspires you and supports you. Draw strength from a daily spiritual practice, draw, meditate, pray, spend time in nature or do yoga. When you feel connected and grounded, you rush less, do less, and desire less. You become happy with your life exactly how it is in this moment. Spiritual happiness allows you to squeeze all the joy you possibly can out of everyday. There is no other time, there is no other place, find happiness right here, right now.

8. Celebrate your life.

Happy people take time to celebrate themselves and their everyday growth and progress. Validate yourself by being your own cheerleader and tooting your own horn. Recognize your accomplishments big and small. Don’t wait or rely on the approval of others. Celebrate that you have your basic needs met. You are worthy of all life has to offer. Know it, own it, celebrate it!

Life is a grand event, participate in it fully. Researchers have found that people are happier being with others, than being alone. When you are with others, you become more alive, social, and care-free. In turn others want to be with you and near you. Happiness spirals upward. I’m all for that, are you with me?

Tess  is a speaker, author, fear shattering, calculated risk taker, obsessed with being happy and bold.  Her blog, The Bold Life is a juicy mix of inspiration, spirituality, and personal development.  Download for free her eBook, “Peace, Love, and Connection.”

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Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

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