Want to cultivate happiness in your own life? How to Make a Commitment to it in your daily life
Being committed to cultivate happiness in your daily life means setting a goal for yourself and then doing what it takes to reach that goal. In this case, the goal is to be happier.
This concept of being committed applies to other aspects of our life, like being committed to a relationship when we get married, or if we commit to a job, or a healthy lifestyle like exercising.
The first step is to make the choice to be happy. You are doing that by making a commitment to your future happiness.
What Skills are Necessary in Order to Cultivate Happiness?
How do we set up our daily life to help drive our future happiness? There are several things we can do to help to create a new habit of having a more positive outlook.
Of course, this is true for any new habit you decide to pursue. If your goal is physical health, one of the steps to get there is to add more physical activity to your day.
Once you make the commitment to whatever your goal is, you then make sure you practice it daily until the new behavior or action becomes a habit (which is something you do without any conscious thought).
How do positive emotions Lead to happiness?
In the article “Happiness is a Choice”, the link between positive emotions and happiness was discussed. Dr. Barbara Fredrickson calls positive emotions the “engines of positive psychology”.
The term positive psychology was coined by Abraham Maslow in his book “Motivation and Personality” and then made popular by Martin Seligman in 1998 during his term as President of the American Psychological Society. You can read more about the founding fathers of positive psychology here.
While Maslow was interested in how humans can ascend the pyramid to self-actualization (being your best self), Seligman focused on how humans can flourish by looking at human happiness and fulfillment. Long story short, if you want to be happier in your life, you need to make a commitment to cultivating your happiness by using the engines of positive emotions.
Positive emotions like joy, hope, gratitude, serenity, pride, amusement, etc. all help to lead to being happier in your life. If you experience joy, you feel happy. If you have an attitude of gratitude, you probably feel happy too. Each positive emotion is the driver of being happy.
what are Some things you can do to cultivate happiness?
Your journey toward a happier version of yourself relies upon your commitment to your own happiness. You know it won’t be as easy as just saying to yourself you will be happier from here on. If only it were that simple!
The path to a happier life begins by committing to trying to make ourselves happier. Then, we need to define what makes us happy too. To help us determine what makes us happy, we can use several different tools.
Practice gratitude by keeping a gratitude journal
We talked about different tools to choose happiness and one of them was practicing gratitude. By choosing our focus each day on the positive emotions (glass half-full) rather than the negative emotions (glass half-empty) we might have, we are taking a step towards our happiness.
A gratitude journal is one tool that can help you practice your gratitude for your daily life. You can make a quick entry each day of a few things you are thankful for that day. Over time, you might be surprised at how this small step can lead to a big change in your overall life satisfaction.
Your gratitude journal can also offer some good clues about the things you appreciate in your life. And then you can devote more of your time and effort in that direction.
To increase your contentment in life – focus on the present moment
Happy people tend to focus more on the present moment than what might have happened in the past or focusing too much on the future. We can’t change the past and we can’t live in the future.
The present moment really is the time to shift away from negative thoughts and lay the foundation for our future happiness. Like creating a healthy lifestyle by choosing to workout consistently, it is just a matter of daily practice.
Making a conscious effort to focus on the present moment also can help you to figure out what is making you happy right now (and maybe plan to do more of it.)
Take note of what makes you happy (and unhappy too!)
While you are staying grateful and focusing on the present moment, take some time to think about what brings you joy in your life. Can you come up with any good examples of activities you like that consistently make you happy?
For me, I love to read. I love everything about reading. I know when I curl up with a new novel that I can be transported to another time or place solely through my imagination. It makes me happy to know I can visit so many different places just by doing a little arm-chair traveling. I also love reading series of books and coming back to characters that feel like friends.
How about you? What do you love to do? is there something that you love to do and why?
On the flip side, spend a little time thinking about things that don’t make you happy in your life too. For example, in my case, I don’t love doing dishes.
I like creating meals and feeding my family of four, but the sheer mountain of dishes we create is enough to make me want to hide. However, if I reframe it to being lucky to have the family to cook and clean for, then it makes it more palatable. (It is even better if I pair doing dishes with listening to music I like.)
Go to your happy place
One other way to make a commitment to cultivating happiness is to find ways to deal with emotional setbacks or struggles you will inevitably encounter in life. If you have heard people talk about going to their happy place, you might think it is a place in their house or something.
However, a happy place, is a concept in your mind. It is a place you can conjure up as needed to make a big impact on your state of mind at the time.
It works like this. Find a calm, safe space where you can close your eyes and daydream for a moment.
Once you are there, you close your eyes and visualize either a happy scene in your life (like a favorite vacation spot). You can also dream about something you would like to have too.
Spend some time really focusing on the details of the scene – the colors, the sounds, the smells, what you are wearing, how you feel, etc. And once you feel like you can really be there in your mind and relax, spend a few more minutes there.
Going to your happy place can be a great way to handle stressful situations when you are trying to regain some equilibrium emotionally.
Spend Time with your social support system
One key component to a happy life is to have a strong support system socially. Whether that is your friends, your family members or people you work with, wherever you can have a healthy relationship with someone who can support you is important to your overall happiness.
Being lonely (which can mean the absence of a social support system) is painful and can often make you feel unhappy. So making sure you spend time cultivating happiness through happy relationships is key.
Another benefit of spending time with people who know and love you is they are great resources for helping you to figure out what makes you happy. If they have been in your life for a length of time, they have probably seen you be both happy and unhappy, and can help you find clues to what was the driver of being happy/unhappy as well.
We all have heard of the devastating impact on older adults of not having human connections and the harm that social isolation can bring (pandemic anyone?). Not devoting enough time in your own life to your social support system (through romantic relationships, friends, family, etc.) can be a really bad idea.
Having a sense of purpose
Having a sense of purpose in your daily life is a good way to make an investment in your future happiness. When you feel like you are making a difference either with your job, donating your time, or doing creative work you love, you feel fulfilled and full of pride (which can lead to being happy).
How Do You Cultivate Happiness?
These steps may all seem like simple ways and small things to do to achieve greater happiness in your life. However, like any other regular exercise, the benefits are cumulative. You may find as you invest more time in positive emotions that your overall health improves due to less stress. You also might find your whole outlook on life is more positive too.
What is your secret for cultivating happiness? Share your favorites in the comments below.
Next up, we will spend more time figuring out what makes us happy. If you want to get a head start, you can brainstorm and think of as many things or people that make you happy. This information will be an excellent tool to help you cultivate more happiness in your life.
More information in this Series:
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