By Janet Miller
Happiness. Everyone wants it, everyone is seeking it, but few actually have it. Is our quest for success, money, and accomplishment actually limiting our happiness? Having met with many entrepreneurs and C-level executives around the world in my previous job, I took a few notes along the way. Here are the 5 habits I found that distinguish those who are truly happy:
1. They accept their calling. Not everyone knows what their calling is in life. Equally, however, many people might find what they think is their calling, and abandon it out of fear. Instead of shying away from what you’re good at, because you’re afraid of the hard work, notoriety, or anything else associated with it, actively pursue this calling. If you find your purpose, or have a hunch you have, seek it, and don’t look back. Focusing on your true strengths, and what you believe your purpose is, will help unlock true happiness.
2. They don’t chase money. Contrary to what some supremely successful people may portray, money does not bring happiness. Beyond a certain amount, the amount required to live comfortably and indulge occasionally, more money does not necessarily bring more happiness. In fact, a single-minded quest to pursue money might block out friendships, family, leisure, health, and other things that are critical to long-term happiness. There will always be someone richer, and more money to make. Those who are truly happy stop worrying about money.
3. They sleep. There are those people for whom sleep is a waste of time and work is their only source of achievement and happiness. For most others, however, sleep is important. Everyone knows how a good night of sleep feels. Sleep is a trade off in time with work, relationships etc., but often it is one worth making. Many of the truly happy people I have met are very generous with the sleep time they give themselves.
4. They laugh. Laughter is often the sign of good relationships between friends, family, coworkers, and even strangers. Laughter releases chemicals in the brain that make you feel momentarily happy. Have enough of those moments, and you have got a pretty good base of happiness. One morning routine that some people use very effectively is to look at themselves in the mirror for 5 minutes and to simply smile from ear to ear. This sets a positive tone for the rest of the day.
5. They give. Giving is related to caring and charity, but is itself something different and worth focusing on. There are plenty of worthy and righteous reasons to give, say, to charity. One of the lesser-mentioned reasons is that giving makes the giver feel good. The notion of “the gift” is complex, and sometimes tied up in a weird “who owes who” psychology. However, if you can avoid this, there are lots of benefits from giving. Giving to friends, family, and charity, all have their virtues. It feels good to help someone in need, and it is a reminder of your own good fortune. You cannot control whether or not you receive help in a time of need, but you can control when you help others.
– Janet Miller is a certified yoga instructor, nutritionist and seasoned work at home mom of four. She worked for more than 10 years at a Fortune 100 corporation before deciding to work at home full time. You can reach her at her blog.