The pursuit of happiness is an intricate puzzle.
Being human is hard work! The equation for body and soul well-being seems to be about “connecting the dots”—focusing on specifics that help keep our hearts happy. Often, one path toward fulfillment leads to another, and eventually, we see that everything we do along the way to sustain contentment in our lives is interconnected.
How can we connect the dots for a happier, healthier state of being?
1. Relationship building and dismantling.
This “dot” is huge. When we shed the people who do not serve our spirit and instead nurture the ones who do, we find more contentment in everyday living. This doesn’t mean we’ll never have a conflict with those we care deeply for—of course we will. But, when we understand when it’s time to let go of the people who are harming us emotionally or sapping our precious energy (energy that could be spent elsewhere), it helps us make room for the happiness we seek.
2. Sleeping soundly.
We’ve heard it time and time again, because there is quite a bit of science to back it up. Sleep, (and getting enough of it consistently) affects absolutely everything in our lives. From our mood to our job performance; our sex drive to our will power; from metabolism to patience and tolerance for the difficult situations that arise, sleep is the essential “dot” that simply leads to better days.
When we string a whole bunch of better days together, we feel healthier, and feeling healthy is a requirement for personal happiness.
3. Maintaining a “cheerful” attitude.
Many of us find that our moods are dictated by our circumstances. Checking motivations and how we tend to react in different situations are key elements in maintaining our well-being. It’s about having the confidence to peacefully resolve and or navigate social conflict, or external struggle without boatloads of anger.
We all know people who are seemingly calm, cool, and collected in the face of adversity. They are holding the key to inner peace because they know that certain experiences are beyond their realm of control, so why waste emotional energy if it won’t solve the issue?
4. Mindful kindness practice.
Practicing kindness is a thing. Human truth bomb time: many of us are kind, but we don’t always remember to show it because in some situations we are thinking of ourselves before others. Kindness practice can be anything we do to put others first. It can be about showing patience, selflessness, engagement, or empathy. It can be about doing someone a big favor or cheering someone up (a stranger or a friend).
Being mindfully kind is how we openly spread love, and that “open” nonjudgmental or self-serving love tends to boomerang back our way, thus creating the good vibes we seek.
5. Being present.
The moment in front is all we ever need. Approach every day with that mantra in mind. It’s the dot that blinks like a neon sign.
6. Eating consciously.
Yes, this means ethically-sourced. It means clean, organic, and nutrient-rich. It means using biodegradable utensils and zero plastic from farm to table to belly. It means treating our bodies (and animals, and the earth) well. Eating consciously is about caring, and caring is a happiness generator.
Healthy body, happy mind. A swift walk or bike ride can certainly lift our spirit and set the tone for almost everything we encounter thereafter.
Being “prepared” for what life throws at us is a huge dot in the happiness constellation! Knowing what’s coming up and being organized about it sends positive waves that buzz our self-sufficient self-esteem.
Looking forward to something is exciting! Instant gratification is what we’ve become accustomed to in our lives. If we can pick something fun to do or see, put it on our calendar, and circle it with a big fat red marker, we are giving ourselves the gift of having to wait for something, and therefore we may learn to appreciate our experiences a bit more.
10. Managing depression.
If we take medication, and it’s working, let’s stay the course. If we incorporate coping tools, like therapy and radical self-care, let’s keep up our good and steady work. When we reach out for help, it helps us maintain a level of connection to others, and that is one of the dots that helps us maintain our happiness.
11. Following creative passion.
Expression is the most human part of being human. Doing what we love to do in a creative way fills our soul, and filling our soul is pretty much the biggest dot on the list. Pursuing creative endeavors that require brain function, desire, focus, and feeling makes us different from all other species on Earth. We do not happily bloom without passion.
Once we have a clear picture of the dots we need to connect, the happiness puzzle comes together quite easily. When we combine sleep with healthier eating and exercise, for example, we often find that we exhibit a more cheerful attitude and handle our daily stresses in a serene manner.
The cheerful attitude, in turn, may lead to putting some plans on our calendar and extending invitations to others in our lives who feed us instead of deplete our energy.
In following this train of thought, we can see how the dots strengthen one another, propelling us toward the happy well-being we all seem to want.