Do you want to know the ultimate secret to lasting happiness? I’ll give you a hint. I am “the link is what you think” guy. I believe, okay, I think that every emotion we ever have is first conceived and then anchored in the way we think. Simply put, you can’t ever have an emotion unless you first think about an event, person, place or situation in a way that creates that emotion.
So you want to be happy? It’s the highest form of health we know. We’ve long known that creating a good feeling inside of yourself with pleasurable physiological and psychological sensations, being fully immersed in and flowing with an activity you enjoy, and doing good for others are three wonderful pathways to contribute to your happiness.
We also have long known that buying lots of things, being young and physically attractive and even having children—though a definite source of fulfillment and enjoyment—that many think bring about happiness, don’t, according to science.
How do you know if you are really happy?
You spend time outside.
You get enough sleep.
You enjoy spending time with your family.
You enjoy spending time with your friends.
You voluntarily help others. (science tells us that the ideal amount of time is 100 hours a year helping others)
You even meditate and mindfully maintain a sense of gratitude.
Sounds like you are happy!
I want you to create a 30-second elevator speech all about you. If you only had 30 seconds to tell someone about you, what do you say? What’s your credo, the essential set of guiding principles by which you live your life? If your credo includes not sweating the small stuff, looking forward with positive anticipation, celebrating the success of others, taking care of mind-body-spirit, dedicating yourself to continuous learning and being filled with gratitude, then undoubtedly you are on life’s happiness track.
When you genuinely understand that happiness is an “inside job,” that you are the only person who can “make” you happy, the choice for you to make is clear. It’s time to stop blaming our feelings of unhappiness on external things and take responsibility for them ourselves.
Someone treating you poorly?
When you come from happiness, you are able to walk away, smile and continue being you.
Someone not acknowledging your talent or contribution on a project?
When you come from happiness, you understand that your value is not based on their evaluation, but rather yours.
Someone telling you that you are living life incorrectly?
When you come from happiness, you understand that it’s all about spending the time you have on earth the way you want.
Someone not living up to your expectations?
When you come from happiness, you understand the less you expect the better life is.
So if it’s longevity you are after, know that positive emotion is highly correlated with longevity. If it’s marital fulfillment you are seeking, happiness is linked to that as well. In fact, the science is clear and compelling: all things being equal, happy people live longer and experience better health than unhappy folks do. As has been observed, there is no true health without happiness.
READ THIS NEXT: The Beginner’s Guide on How to Meditate!