“Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.”
– Dalai Lama
Happiness seems to be the ultimate goal for so many of us, but the question always comes up, HOW? How can I live a happier life? I get asked this question in workshops and by friends when I talk (sometimes ad nauseum!) about living a happier life. So I did some research about how to answer this basic question.
On one of my favorite website, Daily Good, there was a post recently by Action For Happiness. Action for Happiness outlines the 10 Keys to Happier Living.
These keys are simplified by the Acronym: GREAT DREAM
Giving – Do things for others;
Relating – Connect with People
Exercising – Take care of your body
Appreciating – Notice the world around you
Trying-out – Keep learning new things
Direction – Have goals to look forward to
Resilience – Find ways to bounce back
Emotion – Take a positive approach
Acceptance – Be comfortable with who you are
Meaning – Be a part of something bigger
For each of these ten keys – there is information, questions, resources and a range of suggested actions to help you apply them in your daily life. It is well worth exploring this wonderful site!
Interestingly, as I researched this more, I was taken back in history, to about 300 BC, to the work for a man called Epicurus. As an aside, I was quite drawn to his name, interestingly, because on the Enneagram, I am a Type 7 – The Epicure or The Enthusiast. If you are not familiar with The Enneagram, it’s a model of human personality, which divides personality into 9 Types. I slot quite well into Type 7 – I’m a planner and I have a need to be happy!
In the healthy state, the need to be happy induces Type Sevens to explore the world and genuinely appreciate what they find. They derive great happiness as a result, thus their need is satisfied and a balance is reached.
At the healthiest level: Assimilate experiences in depth, making them deeply grateful and appreciative for what they have. Become awed by the simple wonders of life: joyous and ecstatic. Intimations of spiritual reality, of the boundless goodness of life.
Of course there is the unhealthy, obsessive side to this as well.
In the unhealthy state, the basic fear of being being deprived can cause Type Sevens to numbly seek new and different sensations and adventures without truly appreciating the experience. This means they will derive little happiness from all the highs, which further increases Sevens’ feeling of emptiness and basic fear of being deprived. The cycle continues to build up.
Type 7s also have a history of debauchery and addiction . . .
Desperate to quell their anxieties, Type Sevens can be impulsive and infantile: do not know when to stop. Addictions and excess take their toll: debauched, depraved, dissipated escapists, offensive and abusive.
But that is another story! I digress . . .
Back to Epicurus. At the heart of Epicurus’s Philosophy is a simple thought – that we aren’t very good at knowing what will make us happy. He boiled happiness down to three basic ingredients:
- An Analyzed life
The 10 Keys and Epicurus echo each other in many areas – the main one being that we need friends and connection. And they both reflect the Dalai Lama’s sentiment that Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.
I want to close with Epicurus On Happiness, well worth the 20 minutes to watch and to help answer the question How Can I Live a Happier Life?
I’d love to hear about your thoughts on Epicurus and his philosophy of happinss, and how you live a happier life. And as always, thank you for stopping by, I appreciate it.