The 6 Components of a Happy Life

What is the definition of happiness? Why do some people seem to have the secret to happiness, while others struggle to gain any satisfaction? These are some basic but effective ideas that you can use to cultivate inner happiness and build an incredible life.


The route to happiness isn’t difficult. Happiness is not dependent on amassing a certain amount of fame or wealth; happiness is not dependent on reaching a certain social pecking order. If we are always striving after something bigger and better, happiness will remain elusive.

Happiness is found in the present moment, not some dreamed of golden future. We need to learn the art of being content with our current situation. Our current life may be far from perfect; but, if we can detach from negative situations and appreciate the value of simplicity happiness becomes easier to cultivate.

Live in the Heart

If we only live in the mind we look at every situation with our critical judgmental mind, as a consequence, we will inevitably find innumerable faults with the world and with other people. When we are constantly criticising others we can find neither peace nor happiness. However, if we live more in the heart we have a more tolerant, accepting attitude towards others. The heart’s qualities are acceptance and oneness. Children find it is easy to see happiness in the most ordinary situation because they are more in the heart. At times we need to distance the critical mind and take a simpler, childlike view of life.

Control Over Your Thoughts

When we feel like helpless victims of our own negative thought streams — how can we hope to be happy? To cultivate happiness we need to cultivate positive thoughts. This means stopping negative thoughts and replacing them with good, inspiring thoughts.

Avoiding negative thoughts requires practice. Meditation and concentration exercises can help us control our thoughts. But sometimes the best way to prevent negative thoughts is to concentrate on something positive. It’s your own thoughts that take you to heaven or hell, so be very careful with what is allowed into your mind.


If we show no appreciation for others and for life, we create a narcissistic outlook. We focus excessively on our sense of self and ego. When we offer gratitude for small things in life, it helps us feel a broader identity and awareness; our consciousness expands and we bring to the fore our own positive qualities.

Gratitude has tremendous power; if it is sincere and heartfelt it makes a big difference to our outlook on life. Gratitude helps bring to the fore a sincerely positive attitude to life.


Happiness is easily found in usefully serving others. Activity doesn’t mean filling up our lives with as many activities as possible — this only leads to a sense of self-importance and stress as we struggle to do several things at once. But, if we are calmly active we find a sense of purpose in life; this sense of purpose and satisfaction helps cultivate an inner sense of satisfaction.

Physical Exercise

When you take regular physical exercise you will feel many benefits. Firstly, when we look after our body we are less prone to lethargy and illness. Through developing our fitness we gain an increased sense of self esteem; this is because we are taking active steps for our self improvement.

Increasing our fitness also enables an increased sense of mental well being; exercise helps rid the mind of many useless thoughts. It is important to have the right attitude to exercise, don’t think of school P.E. lessons in the cold rain; getting fit doesn’t have to be torture — you can easily find a sport or some exercise that is enjoyable and sociable.

Tejvan Pettinger is a member of the Sri Chinmoy Meditation Centre. He lives in Oxford where he works as a teacher. He enjoys writing and updates a blog called Sri Chinmoy Inspiration, a collection of articles on self improvement. Recent articles include: Tips to Deal with lack of Self Confidence.

50 Responses to The 6 Components of a Happy Life

  1. James says:

    Excellent summary. And I’d really emphasize on the last one (physical exercise)! The goal is not to become a body builder but physical activity is good for body AND mind :)

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  3. Another key to happiness is to have a purpose. I wrote about it in Work in Progress:

    “That basically means I go out everyday and spend my time doing things that add value to my life and the lives of other people. And there are tons of those. Every time I read a book, go running, or do a favor for a friend, I like to believe I make a small difference in the world. Silly as it may sound, I believe those things add value to my life and I believe that value gets passed on to everyone around me.

    “That’s my key to happiness. It’s just a case of living one day at a time and making sure every day counts. It’s about doing little things that have a huge impact. A smile here and a compliment there really go a long way! In the end you realize that happiness is a choice and that you might as well be happy because 99% of the time there’s no reason not to.”

    (Available from http://www.varsityblah.com/about)

  4. Peter says:

    Nice article Tejvan. But I would add “meaning” – ie to live with purpose – to your list.

  5. Sp says:

    Thank you for this very nice article.

    I found “Live in the Heart” specially important for me. I think that this is why we sometimes have a life more complicated than it should be. That’s why, I think, is why we need Component # 1 “Simplicity”.

    Thanks again.

  6. etavitom says:

    this was great…. thanks for the wisdom!

  7. Zuggu says:

    Gratitude helps you understand what you have and where you are. In that way, only when you understand where you are standing you can move forward.

    Nice post!

  8. John says:

    I personally loved this post as well, although I do agree with Peter that living with purpose is important too. Somewhere there is a happy medium where we are both grateful for what we have, but also striving for improvement.

  9. I believe showing gratitude also sends out a signal to the universe to attract more happiness to yourself. By showing gratitude, you are actually repeating positive thoughts that further anchors themselves into your memory.

  10. Mike Cruz says:

    So simple yet requires so much discipline. Like other commenters, gratitude is so for living in the moment. Appreciating the gift of life and all it’s challenges is the key to joy.

  11. Keith says:

    For me personally, physical and mental health = happiness, above and beyond all of these things. Without physical and mental health, all of the above have absolutely no meaning for me…they are irrelevant. “A man’s true wealth is his health.” – The Buddha.

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  13. Life3 says:

    Well, good summary, but it’s easier said than done. If it were that easy, our society would not have so many unhappy people! So many problems!

    Happiness is not about how much you can/should be in control or what, it’s actually very simple. One word: Giving! It’s about giving. The more you give for the happiness / benefits of others, the happier you will be! That’s all! It’s that simple! Nothing theoretical. Just a simple act. Give away what you have – knowledge, power, money, … etc. to empower others so that you can be empowered back.

    Do you believe, what goes out will come around?

  14. Life3 says:

    I think you guys are metaphysical. Get real!

    What is “I believe showing gratitude also sends out a signal to the universe to attract more happiness to yourself. ” ??? What is “… sends out a signal to the universe to attract more happiness to yourself. ” ?? :-)

    What is “Live in the Heart” ?? :-)

    Com’on! Live and fleshy people, get in touch with the reality! :-)

  15. Life3 says:

    Some people must be living their life in the black universe out there – the space! :-) And they may be nuts. :-)

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  27. Danielle Koppel says:

    Great article – very inspiring and practical at the same time. Thank you.

  28. I am the happiest I have ever been. Giving to others has given me more than I could ever imagine. I found myself by giving to others. I have more today then I ever did in my entire life. I wish more people could follow this path. Money should be used to help others and not used to satisfy your wants. I will never change as a giver!

  29. Kudos to all these components! “Control over your thoughts” has to be one that worked out for me. This component encompasses everything. You will find that life is a lot more fun when we learn to play games with our minds instead of our minds playing games with us!

  30. Pink_Pixie says:

    I am so thank full that this website exists. I have always felt so sad and always felt think other people were getting on my last nerves. Then i realized that it was me and i was ready to change and be happy. I have tried to commmit sucide numerous of times because of not being satifised with my life, but by reading simplicity made me realize just be happy. I have really enjoyed this article so THANK YOU.

  31. 古月 says:

    the key to happiness is to be optimistic…

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  34. Matt says:

    I think exercise is the most important component of a happy life. When I don’t exercise, I feel lethargic, irritated, moody, frustrated and distracted. With exercise, I feel full of energy, healthy and upbeat.

  35. bguds says:

    happiness is life.. and its good for life

  36. Saffire831 says:

    That is because exercise increases norepinephrine, which is a neurotransmitter. Exercise also fights depression and is great for your body image and therefore your self esteem.

  37. marcy says:

    Loved this article. I can relate.

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  41. Alexandra says:

    I did a lot of research for an article regarding the misconceptions of happiness, and hardly any articles included the importance of physical activity.  It did not even dawn on me to include the importance of exercising.  When I go for a jog a few times a week I feel more alive, more in touch with my surroundings and nature, and more motivated in life.  Just from a couple hours of exercise a week my eating habits, my attitude, and my motivation levels have all changed.  It truly is a catalyst to self-improvement and happiness.  Thank you for including this aspect!

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