Everyone is searching for happiness. We all have a unique idea of what that means, but we can all agree on how good it feels to be happy. Many people think happiness is something that is going to find them, so they spend very little time cultivating it. They allow their lives to become filled with unfulfilling situations and objects, and then wonder why they are unhappy. Happiness is something you create intentionally from self inquiry and self knowledge.
1. What do you do in your spare time?
Marthe Troly-Curtin said “Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” I couldn’t agree more. Do you spend your free time doing what you love? Or do you spend it stressing about household chores or doing things for other people? Happiness starts within you. For good feelings to flourish, you must tend to it like you would a garden. This means using some of your spare time doing things you truly enjoy.
2. What would you do for free?
I love helping others. I love psychology and connecting with people who are committed to personal growth. You may love cooking or dancing or decorating. Whether or not you make a career out of what you would do for free is irrelevant. You can have a career and an amazing hobby that brings you joy, on the side. Consider what makes you really happy, whether you get paid for it or not, and then do more of that.
3. What do you enjoy doing so much that you lose track of time while you’re doing it?
Have you ever been so into what you are doing that you completely lose track of time? Some people refer to this as being in the “zone.” This happens when your focus is so intense and you become so immersed in what you’re doing that time seems to either speed up or slow down, depending on how you look at it. This is how it feels to live in the present moment.
4. What are you compelled towards?
What do you dream about? What gets you excited? Notice what gets your attention and piques your interest. Trust your desires and move in their direction. Following what makes you happy will lead you to the right places.
Too often people ignore their desires. They may feel like they want to take that trip, sign up for a class or reconnect with a childhood dream, but something stops them. People have all kinds of stories and scripts to keep themselves safe and living small. Fear of change is one major reason why people don’t go after what will make them happy in life.
If you answered the above questions, hopefully now you have a bit more insight into what makes you happy, and perhaps what doesn’t. To continue the work we started today, choose one thing that you love and enjoy to add into your routine. As that becomes more of a habit, add another activity that makes you happy to your daily or weekly routine. Continue building out your life so that it becomes full of the actions and situations that bring you joy.