Positive emotions can powerfully impact overall satisfaction with life and happiness. This concept seems obvious, yet coming up with a strategy to uplevel these emotions in our daily experiences never seems to cross our minds. Instead, we look for external affairs to increase our happiness. It works; however, many more opportunities fly under the radar when finding life satisfaction. Is it possible that we could have our cake and eat it too? I say yes. We can enjoy those external jolts of fun and pleasure, for example, a lovely vacation or tickets to see our favorite musical artist. At the same time, we work on increasing our overall life satisfaction in other internal practical ways. These strategies can also help you to “feel happier.”
What does happiness mean to you?
Sonja Lyubomirsky, an author and researcher on positive psychology, describes happiness thus, “the experience of joy, contentment, or positive well-being, combined with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile.”
So, there is an evaluative component here, along with a felt one; how we think about what we feel matters as much as what we experience.
You can start to evaluate your feelings by asking where you want to go.
How much thought have you given to where you want to go? Are you satisfied with the direction that your life is going? Are you happy right now and living a joyful life? Is there more?
To go where you want to go takes thoughtfulness and conscious effort. It becomes more evident the longer you live. Amidst the rush of our busy lives, filled with work, family, friends, and other commitments, it can be easy to lose track of where you are. Without slowing down and creating intention, you can end up in places you never meant to, simply because you weren’t paying close enough attention, not steering deliberately, or pumping the brakes.
Intelligent Ways To Cultivate Happiness
Happiness looks different because we are so different. Therefore, making happiness a lasting feature of your life will take a bit of self-knowledge and evaluation. Are you people-oriented? Then harmony in relationships might be a necessity for you. Are you more of an individualist? Then you may prefer a more quiet existence. Your context, including work, friends, family, home environment, cultural elements, and personal values, will all factor into how you find satisfaction. In addition, how you look at the world and treat others plays an important role. These factors allow your happiness, to some degree, to be created by you.
According to Psychology Today, “regularly indulging in small pleasures, getting absorbed in challenging activities, setting and meeting goals, maintaining close social ties, and finding purpose beyond oneself all increase life satisfaction. It isn’t happiness per se that promotes well-being; it’s the pursuit that’s key.”  In other words, life is a process, and when we make the process itself valuable, rather than hyper-focusing on the destination, we create the potential for greater enjoyment. Furthermore, when we consciously develop our ability to see the good in our lives, even amidst hardships, we can begin to master ourselves, fostering an internal equilibrium. In doing so, our happiness is no longer in the hands of others or circumstances outside our control. Instead, we see that it is an evolving experience we must continuously cultivate.
Ultimately living a satisfying life is a primary key to happiness. Building satisfaction in our lives sometimes gets overlooked while we are searching.
Let’s discuss some harmless ways to climb into the driver’s seat and begin to cultivate happiness and, in doing so, unlock some of the keys to living a satisfying life.
Here are a few ways to build a satisfying life that leads to more happiness:
- Acknowledge the Positive:
If you look hard enough, you can find something in your life worth celebrating. Close your eyes and think about all the good things in your life right now. You can use these positive images to lay the foundation for your satisfying life adventure.
- Be Kind To Others:
As a child, my father always told me: “Be nice to people; it doesn’t cost you anything.” Being kind to others is very rewarding and has the potential to do more for you than the recipient. Even small random acts of kindness can boost your feel-good hormones, making you happier. Helping others is also a great way to take the focus off you and your problems. Scientific studies have shown that helping others reduces stress and causes you to feel calmer.
- Create Realistic Expectations:
I’m not trying to encourage you to play small. But, people with more realistic expectations tend to be more content and satisfied with their lives. Too many unrealistic expectations you may never achieve can cause you to feel like a failure and diminish your happiness. When your goals are more realistic and come from your heart, you will likely meet them and experience true joy. Cherish what you have already accomplished as you move forward to attain more.
- Eat Good Food:
This may seem common sense, but I didn’t learn this until later in life. You feel and look much better when nourishing your body with healthy, nutritious foods. These good feelings travel to your brain and make you feel happier. These vitamins and minerals have a direct effect on your energy level and your mood. So make time to prioritize eating well. It will have a positive ripple effect that pours into almost every area of your life.
- Become a Life Long Learner:
Learning “new things” can profoundly affect your life satisfaction and brain health. While the body loves routine, the soul loves novelty. Learning something new can fuel your well-being by increasing your confidence and creativity. Choose a topic that you are passionate about and dig deep. You can try reading books, listening to podcasts, attending seminars, and meeting other like-minded people. You will be amazed at how awesome and happier you will feel.
Bonus: Find Healthy Ways To Layer Your Dopamine:
Sometimes referred to as the happy hormone, dopamine allows you to feel pleasure, satisfaction, and overall well-being.
Dopamine has been called the happiness hormone for a reason. As we age, this lovely neurotransmitter can decline. Also, science has shown that some people have less than their fair share of this happy chemical. Keeping this in mind, you may be able to find healthy ways of laying the release of dopamine in your life. According to Healthline, here are ten ways to increase dopamine:
- Eat good quality protein.
- Eat less saturated fat.
- Consume probiotics
- Eat velvet beans
- Exercise often
- Get enough sleep
- Listen to music
- Get enough sunlight
- Consider Supplements
Layer in some of these components to boost the chemical in your brain associated with happiness and feeling good.
When you become clear about what matters and focus on pursuing those things, you bring more meaning to each facet of your life. Missteps and adverse circumstances don’t throw you off your game because you understand they are a natural part of life’s equation. This internal locus of control gives you a sense of efficacy, which benefits everyone.
Since you experience happiness from within, make it a goal to prioritize helping it to grow. Foster ways of thinking and behaving that increase your enjoyment. You may not be able to control the world around you, but you can have a say in how you interpret it. So, choose happiness and watch your life’s satisfaction multiply.
Be well + prosper,
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