So Hot Right Now: Happiness
What does it take to get you there?
Trending right now in social media, publishing houses, speaking circuits and even science labs is a topic no one really expected: Happiness.
"I think if you look back over human history, there are a lot of big movements towards happiness, especially during times of uncertainty. For example, I think you could make the case pretty easily that the '60s and '70s were all about figuring out how to be happier," explains Britt Reints, author of the 2013 book, An Amateur's Guide to the Pursuit of Happiness. "This current craving for happiness comes, I think, as a reaction to our global uncertainty. A lot has happened in the last decade or so that has thrown people off-kilter and made them re-examine their expectations. It feels for many of us that the rules changed midgame, so now we're trying to figure out what the heck comes next," she says.
Most researchers - and soul searchers - agree that gratitude is a great starting point for learning to be happy. Here's a modern how-to:
Hold on to what's in reach
"Too often we think the life that we really want is unattainable. In some ways that may be true... But the tiniest slice of that life may be available to you right now. Grasp it. Enjoy it. Rejoice in it... Be grateful for it." - Matthew Kelly, Off-Balance
Taking stock of what we do have is the best place to start, because gratitude grows. Reints calls it, "We multiply what we magnify."
Make it actionable
"Dictionary.com defines gratitude as 'the quality or feeling of being grateful or thankful.' ...The gratitude that makes us happier, however, is even more than a feeling... Most of the experiments I've read about involve an action of gratitude... The method varies, but the motivation is the same - in order for gratitude to have measurable results, it must be practiced." - Britt Reints, An Amateur's Guide to the Pursuit of Happiness
It's not enough to know "deep down" that you're grateful. It requires consistent practice, both doing and acknowledging. So first, do meaningful things. Put them on your calendar and practice, practice, practice. Then, write them down, use an app or share around the dinner table. (Hint: Sharing your happiness multiplies it, too!)
Celebrate the every day
"To me, the American Dream was to become happy. Really, really, really happy. And the way that I thought you got there was by doing a lot, achieving a lot, and making a lot of money... but after two decades of chasing the 'big happy,' I wasn't happy at all... I was chasing this impossible, nirvana state of happy, and was missing all of the small, happy moments that were part of my day." - Nataly Kogan, CEO of happier.com
Don't worry about engineering a highly successful life you'll be proud of when you're 90. Celebrate today's blue sky, a warm cup of coffee, your own hearty laughter. The small moments are what make a happy life right now.
This article was previously published in our Amoena Life magazine, the latest copy of which can be read online here. To make sure you hear about our new releases soon as they're available, sign up for our e-newsletter.