There is so much written on the idea of happiness: how we can achieve it, where it comes from, and why some people seem perennially happy. Have you met those people? The ones who find joy in any situation. I certainly have. Sometimes, I even am one of those people. But where does the ability to find happiness in life’s challenges, unfair, and even cruel realities come from? Happiness comes from the inside.
Does that mean we can just choose to be happy? No. But we can set the conditions, patterns, and habits to bring more happiness into our daily life. Does that mean you’ll never experience anger, frustration, or unhappiness again? Probably not. But you might find 1% more happiness each day.
I’d say happiness is a choice, but it’s not always one we have the option to make. In the cosmic sense, we are all consciousness, and consciousness is a field of unbounded happiness. But most of us have forgotten that level of all-time happiness. It’s not there on the surface level of our day-to-day experience. Then how do we have a choice?
There are moments in everyone’s life when we are no longer overcome by grief, worry, distress, or any other overwhelming emotion. In those moments, when the emotion starts to lose its grip, we have the power to choose gratitude and, with it, happiness.
How to Cultivate Happiness
The first way to choose happiness is to make a habit of transcendence. When we transcend, or go beyond, our surface level of thinking and experience pure consciousness within our own awareness, naturally, we experience more and more happiness. Establishing the habit of morning and evening practice of Transcendental Meditation is the first and most powerful way to choose happiness each day. By setting the conditions for our physiology and nervous system to experience more happiness, we can increase happiness throughout our lives, regardless of outer circumstances.
Perspective can play a crucial role in determining our level of happiness. Is the glass half full or half empty? How we interpret and perceive events, situations, and challenges in our lives can significantly impact our emotional well-being. Even in the face of adversity, individuals who can find the good, who can find the silver linings, also find more happiness. When you want to have greater happiness, find the good. See the good, choose gratitude, and see how happiness grows.
Going beyond yourself is another powerful tool for happiness. When we reach beyond ourselves, we connect to others and to something higher. Our relationships play a significant role in our overall happiness. In addition to nurturing meaningful connections with family, friends, and community to enhance a sense of belonging and well-being, giving to others is a powerful tool to create more for yourself.
Be the friend you would like to have. Give the love you want to find in your life. Create the reality you desire, not by wishing or complaining, but by giving that into the environment. When we give, we receive more back, often from unexpected sources. Giving creates greater happiness naturally.
Gratitude is the often-overlooked best friend of happiness. Gratitude cultivates happiness, and happiness, in turn, can lead to gratitude. Take a moment each day to appreciate something in your life or notice something you love about each person in your life. Build the habit of gratitude in life and see the happiness you find with it.
Self-care is often overlooked but plays a vital role in our happiness. Taking care of our physical, mental, and emotional well-being is essential for maintaining a positive outlook on life. Engage in activities that bring joy, practice self-compassion, and set boundaries as initial self-care steps that can contribute to our happiness. Beyond that, taking care of your Self—nurturing and cultivating your own higher consciousness can bring new layers of happiness to your life.
Is Happiness a Choice?
While there are many times when any range of other emotions take over, setting up the conditions to experience a stable level of happiness regardless of life’s storms is possible. We can be weather-proof. We can have unshakeable happiness. We can also have 1% more happiness each day. It is not through effort that happiness comes, but through an effortless reality inside and from choosing to find the good whenever you can. Step by step, you can choose to experience more happiness each day.