There Is No Key To Happiness.... The Door is Always Open!
What? No key to happiness? Yes.... it's true. The reality is most of the things that we think will make us happy (or think of as the "keys" to happiness), don't.... at least not for long. Vasts amounts of money, a promotion at work, or material acquisitions such as a new car, new house, new dress or the latest technological gadget bring a short lived thrill that drop us back down where we started when it wears off.
It is important to realize that pleasure is not happiness. Happiness is not dependent on things, and it is not conditional. It is a state of being that comes from inside of us. Happiness is a lack of desire, it is the opposite... it is gratitude for all that is. We can develop and transform ourselves by tuning in to ourselves rather than focusing on outside things so that happiness can flow freely through us.
Science has shown there are four qualities we can develop to improve our happiness level: Friendliness, Compassion, Cheerfulness and Gratitude.
Friendship, scientists say, has a much greater effect on our happiness levels than income. Friendship also bolsters the immune system against disease and has shown to improve our health and help counter the illness triggering effects of stress. While we all have an limitless source of friendliness inside ourselves, many do not develop it. In it's place what we call friendship is usually politeness, and at times hypocrisy. So how do we develop friendliness? We can send out waves of friendly energy by doing one or two things for others every day for which we expect nothing in return. In essence... perform Random Acts of Kindness.
Unfortunately, many of us are guilty... when we "people watch" our thoughts often go to criticism rather than compassion. There is a heart inside even the worst of people, and if we are able to see it, we will be filled with compassion. One of my favorite quotes is "See the light in others and treat them as if that is all you see." - Dr. Wayne Dyer. Being cruel and critical merely feeds our own unhappiness. Being compassionate means seeing others with love and acceptance. This allows us to spread happiness to others and in turn aids in developing the happiness center inside of us.
Choosing to live a life full of joy, cheerfulness and laughter will lift us up, while choosing a life of sadness and misery will burden us and anchor us down. Sadness is a habit. It is a chosen reaction to circumstances in our lives. Cheerfulness is also a habit, one that can be developed. It is important to look for the light in life, not the darkness, because the way we look at life directly impacts how we feel inside. By seeing radiance and light around us, we will feel radiant and light.
A complaining mind is never at peace. There is so much to be grateful for in life. If we can shift our focus from the disappointments in life to the many things we can and should be grateful for, our lives will change exponentially. With each expression of gratitude, out loud or quietly in our hearts, we are filled with more peace. One way to help remember all that we have to be grateful for is to keep a gratitude diary. Each day, write down one new thing for which you are thankful. On days that you are not feeling very grateful, page thru the diary for a refresher to put your heart back on track.
Developing these four characteristics will create a greater capacity for happiness because they reside within ourselves and are not dependent on outside sources. They are not temporary or transitory feelings, but lasting.