Six Ways to Build Happiness from Within

Written by: Karyn Hall

What does it really mean to have happiness from within? Doesn’t happiness come from laughing with friends, having a family you love and enjoying your work? Certainly there are many ways that you can find happiness outside yourself. But lasting, enduring happiness comes from within and isn’t so affected by whether you lose your job or a friend moves half way around the world. You can develop happiness from within in many ways. Here are a few ideas that make sense to me.

1. Live in the moment. When you throw yourself into mindfully living each moment fully, you are living as your authentic self without censure or judgment. Living as your true self is an internal source of happiness. In this Tedx video Kaitlin Armstrong talks about finding her inner happiness.

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2. Give up routinely pleasing others as the basis for your mood. As you go through your day, some people are going to be irritated, disappointed, or judgmental of you. Their reactions belong to them and likely have very little to do with you. Let them have their mood, their emotions, and don’t let their emotions change yours. You are not living your life to please others or if you are that will bring suffering. Be aware that they are having an emotion, label it as their emotion, and remind yourself that you are not responsible for the emotions of others and that taking on that responsibility does not make sense.

If you believe that you have some responsibility, in that you have done something unkind or hurtful, then make amends the best that you can and go forward.

3. Know and live your value and purpose in life. What do you value? Contributing in some way? Building a sense of community? Living your values is a process, an experience. The happiness that comes from that doesn’t rely on outcome but knowing that you were true to yourself and lived for what mattered to you. The person who goes to prison for the rights of others knows that he is living his values.

4. Give up perfectionism. Perfection is an illusion; one that means you’ll never see yourself as good enough. If you are a perfectionist, you may not acknowledge that you are trying to reach perfection. You may tell yourself you are far from perfection and that you are trying to be adequate. Embrace your flaws, celebrate your mistakes–these make you wonderfully human. If you look at nature, there is no perfection. Apples are not symmetrical, rocks have dents and chips, and trees have scars. Yet nature is beautiful and natural. Your flaws are part of you and having flaws and imperfections is reality.

5. Create joy. Look for joy everyday, seek it out, create it, and savor it. Find ways to smile as a daily habit.