“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. “
Words written in 1776 are still true today. The sentiments expressed by the philosophers and authors of the Declaration of Independence have inspired others.
Happiness was no longer a commodity available to a select few but something we all had the right to seek.
But, what is happiness, and how do we obtain it? It is a question many writers and philosophers have attempted to answer.
Everyone desires to be happy, but the meaning of happiness is simultaneously personal and objective. We all assume what happiness is based on what we have learned from others and our own experiences. But, to obtain it is a different matter.
Personally, happiness is circumstantial and therefore not sustainable in the long run. But, it is a nice thing to experience.
So, I would suggest that instead of trying to live a happier life, try to live a more joyful life.
Joy and happiness are similar, but joy does not depend on circumstances or your mood. It is a permanent state of contentment and self-fulfillment that allows you to find happiness in moments of adversity.
- Let go of negative emotions.
The first step to living a joyous life is to let go of negative emotions. There are many negative emotions: anger, hate, and pity. But, there are many more emotions that fall under negative emotions. Generally, negative emotions cause you to feel worse about yourself.
Negative emotions can arise out of personal issues or tense interpersonal relationships. At times, these emotions can live in you creating deeply rooted resentments which can alter your perspective on life. Thus, making you a prisoner to your emotions.
It may be difficult to overcome these emotions. So, here are a few suggestions. It takes a lot of maturity and self-awareness to analyze and break down your negative emotions. In her article, Elizabeth Scott Ph.D. suggests a method called TEARS, which stands for teach or learn, express, accept, re-frame, and social support. These steps dilute down to learning to listen to how your body responds to negative emotions and using those negative emotions to learn more about yourself and to grow into a wiser and happier person.
- Be grateful.
Another way to live a joyous life is to be grateful. There is tons of research linking gratitude to happiness. An article by Harvard Health states that practicing gratitude helps you acknowledge the good things in your life. For some, it helps them feel connected to something greater than themselves.
But besides the research and data, practicing gratitude forces you to look past your worries and perceived losses and to focus on the things that are before you now. If you look closely, you will find so many things to be grateful for. Gratitude instills in you a sense of contentedness for the things you have and an acceptance for the things to come.
- Try to make new experiences.
Making new experiences is another way to live a joyous life. It gives you confidence and gives you a reason to be proud of yourself. Making new experiences can also help you replace the bad experiences in your life.
- Seek self-fulfillment
In the same vein, seeking self-fulfillment is another way to live a joyful life. Self-fulfillment is a given if you want to live a joyful life. You should seek to fulfill your ambitions and goals. Seeking self-fulfillment boost your self-esteem and helps you realize that your happiness does not depend on other people’s perceptions or even your own [perceptions]. Sel-fulfillment helps you trust your strength and overcome your fears.
- Prioritize the people you care about.
An important factor for living a joyous life is to prioritize the people you care about. WhatImean by prioritizing is to make time for them. Do not take them for granted.
Also, the only opinions that you should listen to come from those who you prioritize.
- Spread happiness.
Emotions are contagious. They trickle down through our interpersonal relationships and affect those around us. Nicholas Christakis, professor of medical sociology and medicine at Harvard Medical School, found that happiness is a collective phenomenon. One of his studies posited that the closer, whether in distance or relation, you are to a happy person, the happier you will become.
The theory sounds a bit strange and unlikely. But, think about the last time you hung out with a friend and how you felt afterward. The emotions either of you felt during or before hanging out are transmitted via a conversation. This transmission happens unconsciously, but they affect how you feel.
The great thing about this is that happiness and other positive emotions can be transmitted and it comes back to you in heaps. So, the more you spread happiness the better you will feel.
Moments of happiness are always welcome but remember that they are not permanent. So, enjoy them when they come and strive to live a joyous life.
@selfcarevisuals. (2022). Advice that will help you to live happier. Instagram. Retrieved 2022, from https://www.instagram.com/p/CaFvIMPMY8g/
Aubrey, A. (2008, December 5). Happiness: It really is contagious. NPR. Retrieved March 23, 2022, from https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=97831171
Field, B. (2021, May 17). How being grateful can actually make you happier. Verywell Mind. Retrieved March 23, 2022, from https://www.verywellmind.com/how-gratitude-makes-you-happier-5114446
Harvard Health. (2021, August 14). Giving thanks can make you happier. Harvard Health. Retrieved March 23, 2022, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/giving-thanks-can-make-you-happier
Sansone, R. A., & Sansone, L. A. (2010). Gratitude and well-being: the benefits of appreciation. Psychiatry (Edgmont (Pa. : Township)), 7(11), 18–22.