The Road to Happiness: Three Essential Skills
by Janet Shlaes, Ph.D.
People who tend to be happy live intentionally with regard to three core happiness skills. They understand that happiness is a choice, rather than a birthright and are committed to practicing these skills on a daily basis. They know exactly what they want, what constitutes their unique version of happiness and are proactive in their happiness journey. Happy people appreciate that happiness is a daily endeavor, rather than a absolute destination. Employing the three essential happiness skills detailed below can empower you to live a life of purpose, direction, passion and authentic happiness.
What makes you happy? On the surface, this seems like a simple question, however, getting to the heart of this question can be quite challenging for most. Why? Getting to the core of what makes you happy requires moving beyond externally generated messages regarding the “shoulds” of happiness and moving to a deeper level of awareness. Authentically answering this question requires honesty, courage and vulnerability. Your answer will greatly inform you about your deepest values, needs and motivators. It may also require letting go of people, possessions and circumstances that don’t align with your unique happiness narrative.
What are you willing to commit to as a means to bringing more happiness into your life? Once you have a working knowledge of your particular version of happiness, commitment enters the picture. Being fully committed to doing whatever it takes to create a fulfilling values-based life provides the requisite motivation and sustenance to move through any challenges that present on your journey. Commitment is rarely a one-time act; it requires returning to the primary question of what makes you happy and periodically reconnecting with your commitment to living a life of meaning and passion.
The skill of self-care is often the most difficult one to embrace; for some it feels selfish to focus on self-care when they have others to think of. Consider, however, the familiar instructions on airplanes where we are asked to put on our own oxygen mask and then take care of our loved ones. What if your happiness directly served to enhance the lives of those you care about? Your level of happiness positively impacts your relationships on a personal and professional basis. I’m not suggesting a life of pure self-focus at the expense of others, however, a lack of self-care will not serve anyone. Self-care is not a one size fits all feat. For some, self-care may include a healthy lifestyle via exercise or diet. For others it may involve hobbies, socializing, being in nature, reading, etc. What matters is that your approach to self-care provides positive benefits to you and others in your personal and professional lives.
Happiness is a choice and a life-long endeavor requiring self-awareness, commitment to doing whatever it takes and intentionality with regard to self-care. What is your unique version of happiness? What are you willing to do to bring more happiness into your life?
For addition insights and observations, check out the following posts:
Are Your SMART Goals Smart Enough?