Happiness. Happiness is something we all talk about, we all want, we all strive for, but what exactly is it? The definition of happiness is the ‘state of being happy.’ The definition of happy is ‘feeling or showing pleasure or contentment.’ But, what exactly does that mean, what does happiness look like, and how do we achieve it? Happiness to you might look different than happiness to me, but at the end of the day, I bet it’s the thing we all want in our lives.
When I picture happiness I see it looking something like the planet Saturn. The idea of happiness is the actual planet spinning around with the word HAPPY right smack in the middle of it. The things that make up, or define, happiness are the rings around it. You see, happiness to me is not just one thing. My happiness consists of multiple things that make up the rings of my planet. If any of those rings are missing from my Happy planet, then my happiness wouldn’t be complete. Yet, if any of those rings were just standing alone, without the other rings, then my happiness wouldn’t be complete either.
Let me give you an example. One of the rings around my happiness planet is ‘health’. Now we all probably agree that if we had to define happiness, it would include having great health. If you take my ring of health away then my planet (AKA me) would not be as happy. I may be traveling the world (another one of my rings of happiness), but without my health then the travels would not be as satisfying. Now, if I only have the ring of health and nothing else (like my family, which is another of my rings) then I am not truly happy either. I don’t want to be as healthy as a horse but have nothing else in my life. Nor do I want to travel the world but have nothing else either. Does that make sense? Happiness is the circle (or the planet) and the rings are the things that define what happiness looks like to you. For most people, ultimate happiness is a combination of multiple things.
So, the big question is, how do we achieve happiness? Happiness is a lot easier to achieve than you may think. In fact, becoming your ultimate, happiest self can be achieved by following these 4 easy steps.
Step 1: Define it. What makes up your rings of happiness? This shouldn’t be too complicated or time-consuming. Look at your life and come up with some general words that describe happiness to you. Some examples of this might be travel, relationships, health. Don’t get too detailed here. This is the easiest step.
Step 2: Make a list. Under each ring of happiness make a list of the things you can do every day, in each area, that will help fulfill your happiness. If health is important to you then under your health ring you could write ‘exercise 20 minutes daily’ and ‘eat better’. Maybe relationships are one of your rings. Under your relationship ring, you might write ‘send an email/text/call at least 3 people every day’. Understand where I am going with this? Write down what you can do each day that will bring you ultimate happiness.
Step 3: Do it! This is the most difficult step because it requires action. Now that you have defined happiness and made a list of what you can do each day to bring you happiness, now you actually have to do those things! We all want happiness and great things in our lives, but many of us choose to just sit around and wait for happiness to find us. Believe me, happiness will not find you laying on your couch binge watching Netflix all day. You have to do the work!
Step 4: Recognize it. Often times we become so focused on what we want that we don’t actually see what we already have. Every day take the time to recognize and be thankful for all the things you have in your life that make up your happiness. Even if you are not exactly where you want to be, look around and see all that you already have. Recognize and be thankful for what you have in your life. This is the most important step.
Life is how you choose to see it and what you focus on is what you see. Recognize and be thankful and you will be surprised how much you start to recognize all you already have to be thankful for. Happiness, pleasure, and contentment may look different for each of us, but happiness is an easy choice that each of us can make every single day. Now, go and be happy!