Defining Happiness

Recently a trusted mentor (guru) emailed this to me:

May you be happy, healthy and whole,

May you have love, warmth and affection,

May you be protected from harm and free from fear,

May you be alive, engaged and joyful,

May you experience inner peace and ease.
I replied, “What happens if being happy, healthy and whole and having love, warmth and affection means someone else will experience loss, hurt and pain? Is it every person for themselves? When is it OK to go after your own joy and happiness, which might not bring the same for the other person?”

At this point I would have loved a speech that began with, Well, grasshopper… *grin* However, my mentor replied, what is your definition of happiness? This started a very good conversation between us.

Science tells us that the old paradigm — if I work hard and achieve success, I will be happy — must be replaced with start with happiness first, and success will follow. Happiness is found through the development of self, not in chasing material things. And in my case, developing myself has shown me that community, relationships and connectedness are elements included in my definition of happiness. It’s not all about me. Thinking of others, being in relationship with others and connected to a community are very important in my happiness.

What is your definition of happiness? What makes you come alive? What choices do you make each day that contribute to your happiness? Here are five simple interventions to boost your happiness and create more positive experiences for those around you.

  1. Gratitude – At the end of each day, list three things you’re thankful for or three things that went well that day.
  2. Meditate – Spend a few minutes each day just being still, present and focused on your breathing.
  3. Exercise – Science recommends 30 minutes a day, but even just a walk around the block on your break can help.
  4. Acts of Kindness – Practicing kindness for others doesn’t only boost their positive emotions, it boosts yours as well.
  5. Journal – Take three minutes and write about a positive experience in the past 24 hours.

If you’d like to turn this into a 21-day challenge, let me know! I’d love to guide you and your team to more positivity and happiness.


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