We all want to be happier. It is built into our human wiring. Yet it is increasingly challenging to achieve that state in our highly competitive society. And what’s more, some people are confused about what happiness even entails.

Truth bomb #1: Happiness is not measured as being less miserable.

Nancy Etcoff gives a great TED presentation Hooked on a Feeling: The Pursuit of Happiness and Human Design.  

She explains that people are using medication to keep anti-depressed, and illegal drugs to elevate their situation. If we could only see that positive thoughts and remarks are the key to counteract all the negative floating around.

We must understand the depths of emotions and recognized that emotions are not just feelings. When we label, describe, and discuss our emotions, it helps us regulate them.

Are you experiencing one of these emotions? Anger, anxiety, concern, contempt, content, depressed, disgust, excited, fear, frustrated, irritated, joy, loving, sad, satisfied, shocked, surprise, tense.

If you can identify a particular emotion you are feeling, how much more deeply can you describe  your emotional experiences and how many subtle variations do you use?

Eric Barker shares research results of a neuroscientist who studied how to reverse depression. Among the small changes you can make are:

  • Regularly ask yourself “What am I grateful for?”
  • Label your negative emotions.
  • Be ok with “good enough.”
  • Connect with people directly.


Truth bomb #2: Nature makes us happy

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that cities are incorporating more trees and green spaces as they are building up.

People generally slow down when they are in nature, they are usually not at work, and the fresh green air certainly helps relax the mind.

I was so surprised to read in National Geographic that studied housing projects with more trees had lower crime rates and lower rates of aggression. It isn’t the oxygen that helps; it is the community that a courtyard creates, where neighbors know neighbors and are connecting socially.


Truth bomb #3: Being connected to a community helps us feel we belong

Having a tree to congregate under isn’t the only way we get connected these days. We can find communities of like-minded folks on the internet in all sorts of bundles.

We see community centers and libraries providing various community engagement opportunities, while pop-up free yoga sessions and concerts in the park are keeping people connected on other levels as well.

While we need to be content with ourselves to find true happiness, it turns out having others around us is huge as well (as noted in this Psychology Today article).     

When you can find people who support you as well, the sky is really the limit to your happiness.

Take time to recognize and note what you are grateful for in your life. Connect with other good people, identify your emotions, and don’t get caught up in perfection.

Your higher purpose is to be good and to be happy. Embrace it and allow it to flow into your life.