The 6 Keys to Happiness
A lot of lies have been said in the name of happiness, and a lot of half-truths. These are even worse because their disguise is even more convincing.
Common belief suggests that happiness is a type of “Nirvana” which we should never lose hope of attaining. It’s something like a state of fulfillment and constant bliss.
Additionally, every society and era establishes the characteristics and conditions we need to fulfill to enter this splendid earthly paradise. Currently, the idea of happiness is founded upon three pillars: power, wealth, and beauty.
“Happiness is realizing that nothing is too important.”
Paradoxically, the idea of Nirvana and its three pillars has resulted in more people frustrated than happy. Power, as well as wealth and beauty, seem to not have the effect of fullness that some believe they will.
Quite the contrary. If that was the only and indispensable source of happiness, we wouldn’t see growing addictions among the rich and powerful, nor would we hear stories of wealthy stars who live dramas in their real life.
What is happiness? How can we achieve it?
A study conducted by Harvard University by the professor Tal Ben-Shahar, expert in positive psychology, shows that joy can be learnt!
The means to acquire this knowledge is the same as to attain any other skill: technique and practice.
The six keys to happiness, according to Tal Ben-Shahar, are the following:
1. Learn to celebrate your failures
People who are more capable of positively valuing their failures tend to be happier people. It’s very harmful to believe that you are infallible or to suppose that you don’t have the right to make mistakes. But, besides this, it’s about an idealist and tyrannical view we hold against ourselves.
Aren’t mistakes our daily bread? Hasn’t science itself, which is a model of thoroughness and perfection, been riddled with mistakes through the course of history?
Thinking that we can’t or shouldn’t make mistakes is an unfounded idea that only produces anxiety and depression.
2. Be thankful for what you have
You may believe that your health, your family or your work are realities that will be there forever, and that’s why you don’t grant them an important value in your life. You take for granted that they’re a part of your assets and forget that in one breath you can lose any of them.
It’s very true that daily we forget to be grateful for all of those daily miracles that seem “normal” to us. Unfortunately, we notice their immense value only when they’re no longer there and we realize just how important they were.
Endorphins are the hormones of happiness. They can be found within our brains and are always at our disposal. We just don’t know how to use them. A daily 30 minute walk can help release sufficient doses of endorphins. A ten minute hug will also give at least three full minutes of endorphins and happiness.
It’s simple: if you get into the habit of doing activities that promote the release of endorphins, you’ll surely feel more joy.
4. Simplify your life
It’s true that you only live once. But this doesn’t mean that you should try to live everything at once. One of today’s most common illnesses is wanting to do too many things at once and hopefully all of them swiftly. Your physical and mental health can’t take such a desperate way of life for very long.
Learn to get organized. Give each activity its own time and value. Eliminate all of the tasks that rob you of precious life moments. It’s likely that you won’t die of hunger if you work a bit less. Instead, taking time away from yourself and the people you love most can have a very high price.
There’s no need for you to become a Tibetan monk. It’s enough to take a few minutes each day to find balance, through the practice of simple meditation.
Meditation has proven to be a great way of achieving inner peace. It also helps achieve better cognitive and creative functions and a high power of will.
6. Cultivating resilience
Yes, resilience can be cultivated. It’s not an innate ability, but rather one you can develop. It’s defined as the ability of facing adverse situations and leaving them as stronger people. It’s much easier said than done.
In order to be resilient you have to put in real effort. You need to focus on finding the flower in the mud: the lesson in the middle of difficulty. It’s the path to wisdom and happiness. In other words, it’s a relative inner peace and a frequent ability to find the best in this world we have to live in.