Happiness Is…

 <happiness concept
Happiness is many things – peace of mind being a key component. Happiness and feelings of well-being-ness, which lead to peace of mind are personal, wouldn’t you agree?  Many years ago the Sociology Department at Duke University did a study on “Peace of Mind”.  After studying hundreds of people, both happy and unhappy, nine factors were found to contribute to emotional and mental stability.

l.  The absence of suspicion and resentment.  Holding a grudge was the major factor in unhappiness.

2.  Living in the present and the future. Much unhappiness stems from an unwholesome preoccupation with past mistakes and failures.

3.  Not wasting time and energy fighting conditions you cannot change.

4.  Cooperating with life, instead of trying to either demolish it or run away from it.

5.  Forcing yourself to be outgoing with others-instead of retreating within-during times of emotional  stress.

6.  Refusing to pity yourself or seek self-justification in easy alibis that make you appear “noble” to yourself and others.

7.  Cultivating the old-fashioned virtues of love, honor, loyalty, thrift. (I would add courage to the list!)

8.  Not putting too much pressure on yourself.  When there is a wide gap between the standards you set for yourself and your actual achievement, unhappiness if inevitable.  If you cannot improve your performance, try lowering the demand instead.

9.  Finding something bigger than yourself in which to believe. Self–centered, egotistical, materialistic people score lowest of all in any test measured for happiness.

Do  you resonate with this list? Would you add anything to it? Do you find the choices you are making support the life you dream of living? Are you living in the past, feeling regret or fearful, judging yourself or others? Are you afraid you can’t find true happiness without another person completing you? Are you jealous of, or resent your family, friends, job or any other area of your life? These are questions that can lead to answers, if honestly faced. There is a bridge from unhappy to happy, from broken to unbroken. We have all been unhappy at some point in our life. We are human and life can be difficult at times.

One of the most effective ways I have found to be happy and stay happy, is to live from the inside out – vs the outside in.  A daily spiritual practice to connect with my inner source of love, wisdom and power is something I find essential. Starting the day in meditative gratitude, as I pre-pave/visualize the day as I would like it to unfold, puts me in the drivers seat.  Spending time in nature is another way to soothe the soul and ignite peace of body, mind and spirit. Making choices that I know are for my highest and greatest good support my life. Staying harmless to self and others is another key element to happiness. We all have our own methods that suit our happy factor. I would love to hear a couple of yours!

Debra Oakland