If asked, most people will say they would like to live a happy life, but how many people actually know how to create a happy life? Remember, many of our beliefs, perceptions, and behaviors on how to approach life were acquired before we were even born. They then became part of the default system that runs our body until we change it. If your parents knew how to create a happy life, then you most likely are able to do the same, and effortlessly. On the other hand, if they didn’t or couldn’t, then you might find yourself struggling with knowing how to create your own happy life.
If you want to increase the happiness in your life, where could you start? To begin with, I feel we are blessed to live in today’s world because science is now addressing this question and providing us with some simple steps for change based on their findings.
Let’s begin with what constitutes a happy life. Some people might think a passive, pleasure-oriented life would bring them the most happiness, but scientists are now finding that the phrases, “Do what you love,” and “To thine own self be true,” along with a focus on striving for excellence based on one’s talents, brings about a greater sense of wellbeing and happiness. “This type of well-being is much more robust and satisfying than the passive, pleasure-seeking happiness, and is good for the body,” says Richard J. Davidson, PhD, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
So what steps could you take to create a happier life? The research shows that just taking some time at the end of your day to write down everything you did and then looking at the percentage of things you did that you like and the percentage of things you didn’t like can help you get to the source of your discontent.
It is easy to get caught up in an automatic “check-things-off-my-list-mode” and forget that what we do during the day has a profound impact on how we feel and our level of happiness. Just changing one item from something you don’t like to do, to something you do like to do can have a significant impact on how you feel at the end of your day. Also, try approaching something you don’t like—but need to do—in a different or more enjoyable way. This can also have a significant impact on how you feel at the end of your day.
We don’t have control of things outside of ourselves, but we do have control of how we respond to the things there. I know my life changed radically when I began to allow myself to review, and remove, a “to do” item from my list if I was feeling overwhelmed. I found that removing just one item, and replacing it with something that gave me pleasure, could make a huge difference in how I felt in the moment and at the end of my day.
With this in mind, I invite you to explore some of the ICWIB! art activities and videos for FREE because they are a wonderful way get in touch with yourself, identify what gives you pleasure, and subsequently help you create a happier and more fulfilling life.