I know there isn’t one formula for happiness. There are many variables. And, as much as we want to be, it’s actually not realistic (nor healthy) to be happy all the time.
Yet, a few years ago, I discovered one formula for happiness. Here it is: Happiness = Presence + Gratitude.
I have found presence and gratitude are two predominant factors of happiness. Our lives are made up of positive and negative experiences. However, it is within our power to shift our perspective, our (present) mindset, and therefore our experience.
Here are 4 Practices towards living a happier life:
- Cultivate presence. By being present in the micro-moments of our lives, we enjoy more insights – and even awe and excitement. The worries and stressors dominating our minds are removed. And, it gives us the room and the moments to feel deep gratitude for what we have in these moments, in front of us.
- Practice gratitude. While gratitude shouldn’t be forced, it can always be found. Even in life’s most tragic times, gratitude appears, whether it is for doctors, for loved ones, for food, for hot water, whatever it may be. We “know” we should feel grateful. It is important to genuinely feel grateful in the moment, or we’ll feel defeated by the practice. And, yes, gratitude is actually a feeling - not a thought. Our thoughts point us towards our feelings of gratitude; and like a muscle, it grows when used.
- Be of service and practice kindness. Helping others is a practice of kindness and it is one of the best feelings ever. It can be in the form of donating time or money. It can also be empowering to do the little things every day. It may be holding the door open for someone, picking up trash on the ground, or leaving a big tip at a restaurant. When it comes from the heart, doing for others is one of the best feelings (of happiness).
- Make time for connection. Back to presence (and being present), let’s remember to allow ourselves to feel and experience meaningful connection on a regular basis. From loved ones to our self, nature, a higher power, it is vital to carve out time to connect with who (and what) is most meaningful to us. It can be a quick text; it can be breathing space in the middle of the day to just be with ourselves; it may be a walk; it may be reading our favorite spiritual, religious, or science writings. Connecting to who and what we care about helps us feel present, fulfilled – and happy.
Need more tips on creating your pathway to happiness? Want to dive into how to have a happiness mindset for yourself? We have many experienced Guides, who are able to work with our employee members on creating this wonderful aspect of life.