This is a guest post by Peter Minkoff
If there were a cookie-cutter recipe for happiness, we would all be lining up to master its intricacies. As we are all different people, made of different desires, needs, and preferences, happiness is not something that comes in a single, monochrome package. However, happiness as a notion does have some shared qualities that serve as a perfect foundation for a happy, fulfilled life. You can begin to nurture them within you now and learn to enjoy your life genuinely in all of its imperfections.
1. Living in the now
It’s impossible to appreciate the gift of the given moment if you dwell on your past or if you worry about the future. While it’s part of our nature to learn from previous experiences and plan for what life may bring, it’s all too easy to fall into a rut of escaping the present. Happy people have the tendency to truly savor the present, with all the lessons they carry from their past and all the desires they begin to carve into their future.
This is one of those rare meeting points of numerous philosophies, religions, as well as science, that happiness does indeed dwell in the now – and since we have the tendency to escape the present almost half the time, it becomes a priority to help our minds appreciate the moment.
2. A sense of humor
Although even the dark cynicism of Dr. House is considered intelligent humor, happiness is reflected in the ability to laugh at yourself, to be humble enough to make jokes at your own expense, and to find good-spirited humor in most situations in life. There’s a reason a genuine grin is considered an epitome of happiness – even if you give yourself a smile in the mirror, you can help your brain release more happy chemicals.
It’s a healthy way to deal with stressful situations, find a creative release, and bond with those around you. Studies have shown that this attitude helps build healthier relationships, reduces conflict, and provides us with more confidence. Humor is a healthy, safe outlet that allows us to face and process our emotions while simultaneously enabling closeness with others.
3. A sense of accomplishment
Happy people consistently look for ways to improve and advance, as they do recognize their shortcomings, but they see them as opportunities to progress. Add to that, happy people aim to find meaningful work that will be in line with their values and further fuel their desire to move forward in life.
Happy people are natural explorers, much like the inspiring lead character of Limitless, constantly searching for new ways to improve. However, happiness is often reflected in striking the balance between achieving the goals and truly savoring the journey towards them. Whether you discover your own NZT 48 pill to fuel your abilities or you take a slower route, happiness is the ingredient that makes the entire journey worthwhile, and one you learn to nurture within yourself.
4. Building bonds that last
We all know that being surrounded by “Dementors” as they are known in the Harry Potter novels, or people who drain your energy and your happiness, can not only ruin your mood temporarily, but alter your mindset. That is why it’s wise to take a closer look at how happy people build networks of equally happy, like-minded, positive people who constantly look for ways to be happy and spread joy.
Since we’re all human, we know that it’s inevitable to encounter the occasional mood slump or to have a difficult time handling a stressful situation or a trauma. This is where happy people know they can rely on their close circle of loved ones who will aim to lift them up, and not continue to bring them down.
5. An attitude of gratitude
Being grateful is one of many ways you can be optimistic, or so your mind sees. Even in moments of challenge, strife, and hardship, those who manage to find reasons to be grateful train their brain to embrace a positive mindset towards life.
However, this positive emotion is not innate, but learned, so it takes patience and practice to master the art of gratitude in life. Take the time to write a journal listing all the things you’re grateful for, and share your views with others. Your brain chemistry changes as you change your mind to find happy thoughts, and you’ll learn to recognize them even in the darkest of times.
Finally, there is no health without happiness, or happiness without health. By investing time, thought, and effort into nurturing both through these traits, you will empower yourself to feel joy, gratitude, and love, and give you the means to power through your struggles.