11 Keys to Happiness in Life

These 11 keys to happiness will help you unlock the door to feeling more satisfied and content with your life. People who rate themselves as happiest make a habit of including these happiness keys in their daily lives. If you practice them faithfully, they will help you be healthier and happier, too.

Philosophers, mystics, and wise ones have long spoken about the secret keys to happiness. Researchers are now proving the truth of their words. 

Benefits of Being a Happy Person

The words healthy and happy are often found together for good reason. As a mind-body being, how happy you are is a key indicator of your physical, mental, emotional, relational, and spiritual health.

Happy people tend to enjoy healthier relationships and make more money. They are more present, resilient and creative. 

On average, they live nine years longer than their less cheery counterparts and experience 30% less illness. When you are present and resilient, you are less affected by the health-harming, immune-suppressing effects of stress.

Not only that, but happiness feels good. You feel more confident, more at ease, enjoy higher self-esteem, and have a zest for life. 

Sounds good, and yes I want to be happy, but what are the keys to happiness and how do I get them?

keys to happiness

How to Find Happiness

Here is the good news. Pleasure and gladness of heart are not things to be found. They are cultivated like a beautiful garden or a fine wine. They can be yours, too, when you make these happiness secrets part of your life. 

1- Set the intention to raise your happiness set point.

To a great extent, happiness is an 'inside job'. If you are looking to circumstances and people and stuff to make you happy, you will be disappointed in the long run. They may temporarily give your spirits a boost, but ultimately a sustained sense of contentment and joy come from inside you.

You were born with a baseline happiness set point compliments of your genetics and personality traits instilled early in life. Still, that set point is only responsible for 50% of how happy you feel. To some extent, that level is permanently changeable up or down. 

If it is true that half of how happy you feel is predetermined, what about the other 50%? Well, it is estimated that 10% is influenced by circumstances and the other 40% is due to your personal intentional activity. That gives you a lot of power over your emotional state. 

Draw the proverbial line in the sand. Set the intention that you are going to enjoy life more and that you are the one that will make that happen. Have faith in yourself and your spiritual source. Believe that using the happiness keys will work for you and put them into practice. Wishing alone will leave you unhappy. So will doubt. 

Intentional activity in thought, word and deed is the foundation for all keys to happiness. Open yourself to possibilities and allow space for how this will manifest. Enjoy the experience.

By the way, here is a happiness secret you can count on. Doing good for others on a regular basis is one of the best ways to raise your set point. Altruism helps you feel better about yourself, and with improved self-esteem comes a greater sense of happiness. It is true that in giving from the heart you receive. It is part of the makeup of the brain.

2- Practice gratitude throughout the day. Look inside yourself and around you.

Gratitude is one of the spiritual keys to happiness. This is not about just being grateful for stuff, but for the simple things of life. If things aren't going as well as you like, find the silver lining in the cloud and be thankful for it. If you are on top of the world, celebrate those moments.

Refrain from comparing yourself with others to find them or yourself lacking. Just be grateful for what is. When you thank the universe for the goodness you do have, you open yourself to more goodness, as this happiness quote suggests. There is peace in gratefulness. If you do not feel it at first, no problem. Be grateful anyway and eventually the feelings will follow.

lasting happiness

3- Be okay with not having all the answers or the answer you want.

Be open and flexible. This is resilience. Have a goal and work towards it, but detach emotionally from the outcome and how it evolves.

Goals take us in directions. Ask yourself, "I wonder what it would take to..." and then take a step or two in that direction today instead of complaining about not having it now. Celebrate the small steps you take. Enjoy the journey.

Here's another great question I learned from Maryam Webster, creator of the ETHOS method. "What generative energy, space and consciousness can I manifest to ____ (fill in blank with the solution you are wanting, not with the problem). Then use a clearing technique to release any blocks that keep this from happening.

4- Allow yourself to slow down and enjoy little things.  This is one of the easier keys to happiness. A few minutes of slowing down and focusing on the present moment shifts your energy and instills a sense of inner calm.

If your needs are met, take the pressure off yourself to work and earn more just to keep up with other people. Happy people know that contentment is less about money and more about doing things they love with people they love Running on the hamster wheel of success for the sake of impressing others robs you of power and joy, and is not how to find happiness.

Really let yourself be present. Engage your senses and notice the wonders all around you. Take pleasure in the moment. Listen to the birds sing. Smell the roses. Watch your child sleep. Look at the stars. Fully take it in, even for just a few seconds. Take a deep breath and blow out tension on the out-breath. 

schweitzer in the hopes of reaching the moon

5- Take back your power. Give up the false illusion that your emotional state depends on someone or something else. Take responsibility for your thoughts, responses and actions. If you hear yourself saying, "I'll be happy if...", or "I'll be happy when...", you are setting yourself up for discontent.

This does not mean you cannot have goals. It means you set and work towards them from a position of self-love and inspiration, not dissatisfaction and misery.

This key to happiness is about claiming your power and defining boundaries. Look at how you treat yourself and others and how they treat you. Ask yourself:

  • What are you tolerating? 
  • Where are you leaking energy? 
  • Are you giving too much or too little? 
  • Do you have enough time to do what you love? If not, why?

As you answer these questions, you may be tempted to judge yourself. Don't. Just observe and assess.

Then, using that awareness, decide where changes can and most need to be made. Once you are clear about this, list a few things you can do to make changes. Be aware that your brain will resist big long-term changes, but will respond well to small, consistent steps. Need to clean up the mess in your house? No problem, go for it and get it done. Changing the habits that got it that way-that will require more diligence and smaller steps. Find a way to bring pleasure to the task and so much the better.

Continue reading keys to happiness 6-11.

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