Everybody wants happiness, but a lot of people aren’t sure how to find it. So how can we identify what makes us happy and figure out a way to incorporate that joy into our lives?
Finding new ways to be happy is one of the subjects tackled by New York Times bestselling author Ilchi Lee in his book, I’ve Decided to Live 120 Years: The Ancient Secret to Longevity, Vitality, and Life Transformation.
In this day and age, we have an easier life than many of the people who came before us. We have access to the greatest medical advancements and healthcare this world has ever seen. Our standards of living are higher than ever before. But still happiness manages to elude a lot of us.
We might have it in our younger years, but lose it as we get older and are faced with medical issues, financial troubles, or even loneliness as our children move away or our relationships fail.
What Can We Do to Become Happier?
If you’ve recognized a lack of happiness in your life, don’t worry&mdash:it’s never too late to get it back, as Lee points out in his book.
The key is to do some soul searching by asking yourself a few questions: When do you feel happiest? What are you doing at that point? What situations or environments tend to suck away your happiness? What do you do to actively bring happiness into your life and heart?
Taking stock of your situation and allowing time for a little personal reflection can be an eye-opener. But in order to truly become happy, you need to be willing to take action and transform your life.
In his work with helping people live more joyous lives, Lee has realized many people are unhappy because of their environmental factors. They think they lack something, whether it’s money, a relationship, or good health, that would make them happy if they could only secure it.
But instead of allowing our environment to control us, we should learn to control it, Lee says. Even people with a perfect environment&mdash:money, fame, love&mdash:are sometimes unhappy, so obviously environment isn’t everything.
The key to happiness, Lee says, is by learning how to separate yourself from your emotions. You can learn to leave the negativity behind and understand that it’s only temporary.
How Can We Ditch Negative Emotions?
The first step to banishing the effect of negative emotions on your happiness is realizing what you’re feeling and not allowing that negativity to control you. That’s a choice only you can make. It’s why true happiness can only come from within. To be happy, you have to change your thinking, not your situation.
When you’re faced with a hard situation, look for the positive message in it. In his book, Lee recounts one of the hard knocks he faced when he first arrived in America more than 20 years ago. Fresh off a plane, he had his bag stolen, which contained the seed money for his business. He could have allowed that misfortune to sink him. Instead, since he couldn’t change the situation, he changed how he looked at it and immediately felt a lot better.
When you can learn how to reframe your reaction to a situation, it won’t matter what your environment looks like because you’ll have the power to be happy in the middle of any storm.
Having pursuits that tap into the love in your heart and your creativity can also help you feel happy. Finding a hobby that allows you to use that creativity, such as writing or painting, can be enough to snap you out of any funk or depression. And using the love in your heart to help others, whether it’s through charitable work or just helping out a friend or family member, can bring immeasurable joy to your life—and others.
To learn more about how you can pursue and achieve happiness in your life, read I’ve Decided to Live 120 Years: The Ancient Secret to Longevity, Vitality, and Life Transformation.