Happiness is something you must create and give in order to receive and enjoy. Being happy can mean something different for everyone, but I’m sure there are a few laws of happiness we can all follow if we want to make the most of life.
“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace and gratitude.” – Denis Waitley
This is a blog about happiness. I write about small things that may help you – that have either helped me or others – experience happier days. Always remember that YOU get to decide what makes you happy. You know better than anyone else what happiness means to you. This blog, and any other outside advice, is just a guideline to help you get back to yourself.
With that in mind, here are a few “laws of happiness” I’ve noted while on my own journey. Some of these lessons might be more valuable to you than others, depending on who you are and where you are in your own journey.
21 Laws of Happiness: #1-7
1. Happiness is a state of mind.
When we enter the cycle of acquisition and satisfaction, we place a veil over happiness. Material wealth often makes this human journey more comfortable, but there are many other ways to measure success that have nothing to do with material possessions. Freedom from fear, genuine self-expression, solid relationships, healthy bodies, spontaneous adventure — these are all dimensions of success.
Happiness is not a possession to be had, but a state of mind to be lived. Happiness is a way of life that we choose on a daily basis, over and over again. It’s a way of being, a way of experiencing moments, and a way of conducting ourselves.
2. Being is as important as doing.
Don’t be so distracted by doing that you forget about being.
Action is great. Not much is accomplished in this world without action, but where do your actions stem from? Do you know? What fuels your passions? Are you passionate about being alive?
Happiness always dwells within. It’s there whether you choose to tap into it or not. Outside accomplishments often give us a sense of purpose, but we must not wait until the day the goal is achieved to be happy. Happiness is to be had right here, right now, in this beating moment, regardless of the future.
Leave space to think, breathe, live, and simply be. I understand that it’s tempting to create a mental to-do list for every waking moment of the day — I’ve been there, and it’s something I still struggle with. Learn to leave a little breathing room for life to happen.
It’s healthy and necessary to pause, close your eyes, and let the world spin around you for a little while.
3. Integrity is important.
What qualities do you cherish in yourself and in others? What matters to you? Where is your heart? What thoughts, actions, and behaviors give you a sense of humble pride and grounded purpose? Know your answers and be genuine. Be true to yourself and live a life that feels like your own.
The safe and easy choices are rarely the same choices that will lead us to a free and happy life. Be brave enough to stand your ground and do what you know to be right in your heart.
Choosing joy isn’t automatic, but it becomes easier and more natural with practice, patience, and persistence.
4. Giving is receiving.
Giving and receiving are different aspects of the same source and flow of energy in the universe. The world is round and the universe is responsive — all that is put out is brought back to you in one form or another.
Giving really is receiving when it’s genuine and from the heart. The giver of a good deed or kind gesture benefits just as much as the recipient. Ask yourself daily how you can make a loving contribution. When you do this, your own happiness is given a breath of life.
5. Negative thoughts are only persuasive if you allow them to be.
Unless you believe the destructive thought, it is rendered harmless and cannot make a home in your head. It is not your thoughts themselves, but your attachment to your thoughts, that causes suffering.
Whenever a not-so-happy thought arises in your mind, recognize and dispute that pessimistic thought. Realize your beliefs are just beliefs, and may or may not be facts.
Become a detective:
- Find evidence. Search for proof of your pessimistic thoughts (they’re not always true).
- Find alternatives. Search for other potential causes of a bad event — not everything is your fault — and focus on the alternatives of a situation that you can change.
- Identify its implications. Even if this thought is true, will it really doom you forever? What are the consequences of it being true?
- Identify its usefulness. Even if this thought is true, ask yourself what good it will do you to dwell on it. Is holding onto this belief more destructive than the fact that it’s true? Instead, detail how you can change the situation in the future.
The above disputations are inspired by a chapter in Martin Seligman’s book, Authentic Happiness.
6. You don’t change who you are; you grow into who you really are.
You don’t need permission to be yourself, and you don’t need anyone’s validation to be happy.
There’s a part of you that is genuine, pure, unchangeable, and infinite. This part of you does not need external validation or guidance. When we tap into that part of ourselves, many people call it “listening to your gut” or “following your heart.” Some call it intuition. Whatever you call it, trust that it’s your truth.
This journey is not about changing who you are at your core. It’s about letting go of what was never really you in the first place. It’s about becoming more of yourself, the best and truest version of yourself.
7. Be flexible so that you don’t break.
In essence, don’t try to control everything. Life does not always go our way, and that’s for the highest good. Sometimes, you need to let things go for the sake of your health and happiness.
Try not to live a life filled to the brim with concrete plans and distractions. Work hard, but be flexible. Spontaneity has proven to be a key ingredient in my happiness. Some of the best moments in life happen unplanned.
Do not be afraid to let go, relax, take a deep breath, and love what is, right now in this moment. Do not be afraid to accept yourself, others, situations, circumstances, and events as they occur. Trust that this moment is as it should be, for the whole universe is as it should be. There is no other way.
Read part 2 of this series, which covers the next seven laws of happiness.
What have you learned on your journey to becoming the best, happiest version of yourself? Please share your thoughts, lessons, and experiences with me in the comments.
Share these laws of happiness with someone you care about.
Never give up on what makes you come alive.