I hope the clickbait caught your attention! There’s obviously no straightforward route to happiness. In fact, I doubt we even have a common understanding of what happiness even means. It’s incredibly subjective and we often mix it with joy, pleasure, or excitement.
In today’s post, I’d like to look at my personal way of attaining happiness. The 3 simple steps that I would suggest are:
- Develop meaningful relationships
- Focus on what you have
- Make an effort to help others
But before I dive into that, let me at least tell you what my definition of happiness is. Happiness to me is closely linked to fulfillment. It’s the feeling of being at ease with what I have, where I am, or who I’m with. It’s when I’m present, grateful, and energized. It’s when I know I’m contributing, making a difference, or living out my purpose.
Develop meaningful relationships
The concept of meaningful relationships goes above and beyond just the people in our life. For me personally, it also includes having a deep relationship with God. This is a subjective topic, so each person may have a different opinion on the matter. But what I’ve noticed in general is that my happiness is inextricably linked to the relationship I have with my Creator.
The concept of praying multiple times a day, asking for help and guidance with all my issues, being grateful, being kind, and being appreciative of all that I’ve been blessed with, makes me happy. Something that I always keep in mind is the following:
Moving on to physical relationships, in the Ted talk below, Robert Waldinger discusses what constitutes a good life, based on research on happiness. The lessons are as follows:
- Social connections are imperative, loneliness is dangerous
- The quality of your close relationships matter
- Good relationships have a positive impact on our health
We should, therefore, strive to continuously improve on the relationships that we have, and try to further develop weaker ones with other people.
There is also another beautiful hadith that emphasizes the concept of strengthening family ties and being close to your loved ones:
Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said, “Whosever desires to have expansion in his sustenance and a prolonged life, should treat his relatives with kindness.” (Bukhari & Muslim)
For more details on kinship in Islam, you can follow the link below:
Focus on what you have
The next concept is potentially a little obvious. Focusing on what you have and being grateful will make you happy. This is especially true when it comes to celebrating your achievements and finding fulfillment in the work that you’ve done.
I often find myself feeling incredibly joyful and happy when I reach certain milestones. Whether it’s something simple like managing to exercise 5 times or week, or something as important as completing a project at work or for the postgrad. It’s not just about the outcome. It’s about the effort that I have put in, the opportunities that I have, and the dedication to finishing it off.
Focusing on what you have is an incredibly easy way to cheer up your mood. This can also extend to realizing how blessed you are to have a healthy body, a sharp intellect, and a roof above your head. As I always say, it’s not about undermining your problems. It’s about re-framing those issues and keeping your feet on the ground, but your head in the clouds.
Make an effort to help others
Service, service, service. Ultimately, the most fulfilling part of life (for me personally), is to make a difference in other people’s lives. This can mean different things to different people, but you should strive to do something that is enjoyable and beneficial.
When you see how you have helped another person grow, it leaves you with a feeling of joy and contentment. This is irrespective of whether they appreciate it or not, whether you get the credit for it or not, whether you’re acknowledged for it or not. It’s about the effort you put in to help others.
At the end of the day, we’re social creatures and we are in need of other people for our psychological well-being (to a certain extent). The more we’re able to support other people, the more we’ll be supported ourselves. So make a conscious effort to help other people, for both them and for your own happiness.
So to summarize the 3 simple steps that lead to happiness. Start with developing meaningful relationships in your life, be it with God, with your friends or with family members. Celebrate your hard work and accomplishments by focusing on what you have. And lastly, make an effort to make a difference in other people’s lives. You got this.