5 Ways to Engage More Fully With Happiness

Yoga for MenHappiness is not some “magical” place at which we arrive, and lasting Happiness can be difficult to obtain…without hard work that is.

That’s not what you wanted to hear is it? The truth is, happiness is a discipline, a practice and a persistence in challenging yourself and your belief systems. Happiness depends upon remaining open to different viewpoints and taking what suits you while leaving the rest behind.

Happiness is a state of mind, not brought about by external material objects or internal desires, but by cultivating an ability to tap into the abundant joy that fills the space between the spaces on a daily ongoing basis.

Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions.
~ Dalai Lama

1. Never stop learning
Realize that you are responsible for seeing that you become an intelligent, educated and progressive person. Education shouldn’t end with a certificate. Try to view education as not just knowledge obtained, but as a skill that you can use to continuously acquire more intelligence, and to be able do it much more efficiently over time. The onus is you to remain interested and engaged in life. Want to learn a new language? Of course you do. Guess what? Now is the time.

Yup, right now.

And one more thing: seek out opposing viewpoints that challenge your anecdotal and well-worn path of assumptions about the world. You’ll be glad you did, even if they only serve to reinforce what you already know.

2. Become aware of your habits
Be your own mental gatekeeper
This is a solid step towards achieving presence. It’s important to realize that we all fall into habits. We go through life doing things unconsciously because that’s the way we’ve always done them. If we can realize this fact, we can then learn to recognize when we are leaning too heavily on those habits.

But some, if not most, habits that we unconsciously develop lead to negative thoughts or actions. Learning to be able to “head them off at the pass” before they affect us is another good habit to develop, and this can be applied to most areas of your life. Once you become aware of the fact that you CAN change your thoughts, it’s becomes awfully difficult to keep letting the bad ones slip back in.

The goal of meditation is not attainment of Nirvana, it’s simply to relax. And if you can achieve that, well then good on ya

3. Meditate
Discover your own personal form of meditation and realize that your process of discovery is as unique to you as your fingerprints. What works for the next guy may not work for you. AND THAT’S OK! And don’t become discouraged if you don’t have immediate “success” – whatever that means to you. The goal is not attainment of Nirvana, it’s simply to relax. And if you can achieve that, well then good on ya.

The benefits of meditation and the art of pranayama are worth seeking out. It is time well spent. Make meditation a lifelong practice, as it is the surest path to achieving the greatest amount of positive transformation in one’s lifetime. Peace, well-being and good physical health are but some of the advantages of a life spent in contemplation.

Simply put, know thyself.

4. Cultivate a strong core of friends
Feel free to be you
Friends need to be people you can really count on and accept you for who and what you are. Friendships are not genuine if things must be hidden from one another. Understand that EVERYTHING on this planet is related and connected, and that includes people.

Here’s a visual: think of yourself as a single node on the web of things that is our current reality. By connecting with other similar and energetically harmonious beings and interests (nodes), your own personal energy is amplified and life becomes more interesting. Much like waves of sound, you amplify your friend’s energy as well in a symbiotic, life-affirming relationship. And if you have friends that drain your personal energy (energy vampires!), don’t be afraid to let them go.

10 seconds not long enough? Rinse and repeat until you get there. And make sure you stay focused on the breath

5. Learn the power of counting to 10
Making molehills out of mountains
This is simple. Stop…Breathe…Count to ten. And make them 10 long seconds in which you are absolutely in the present moment and focusing on the breath. Having done that, you arrive at a different moment than you were in 10 seconds ago, when you were facing that difficult challenge that seemed insurmountable. You can now take a different mental approach because now it is a new moment. With new moments come fresh opportunities, and fresh opportunities allow for more options in your decision-making tree. You are now able to realize that you are free to take an alternate path, rather than fall back into your old, unconscious decision-making patterns (see “Become aware of your habits” above).

10 seconds not long enough? Rinse and repeat until you get there. And make sure you stay focused on the breath rather than the jerk that just cut you off in traffic or else you’re just going through the motions.


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