What does happiness look like? What does it act like, smell like, sound like, and feel like?
I’ve said before that “happiness is not something that can be found by seeking it.” While experts try to pinpoint what makes us happy and why some folks are happier than others, many people are still left flailing in uncertainty about how to actually get the happiness they desire.
Think of finding happiness not as a pot-of-gold-at-the-end-of-the-rainbow jackpot but as a lifetime of unfolding treasure, the constant discovery that comes when you live an active and curious life with openness and generosity. What does it mean “to live an active and curious life with openness and generosity,” you ask? It means to live with a sense of wonder, asking yourself “What can I learn today? What can I do to benefit or support someone else today? How can I connect with a loved one today? How can I bolster one or more of my meaningful relationships today? How can I surprise myself or someone else today? What can I give today–to myself, to my life, to another human being–that I’ve never given before and that won’t cost me anything but a little imagination?”
Although you can’t search for happiness as if you’re on a scavenger hunt, there are certainly some habits that will offer a boost, especially when those habits are maintained over time. But certainly, happiness has an anatomy, if you will. And like any anatomical entity, it’s glory is best witnessed through action. Exercise your head-to-toe happiness anatomy with small efforts, like:
- Extending a visible, tangible, and specific kindness to someone. (Some ideas: a smile held 10-seconds too long, looking up from your desk to have a genuine conversation with a coworker, giving a small tip to the barista who memorized your coffee order.)
- Taking a count-your-blessings walk. Some people call this walking meditation or a prayer. But walk and self-talk your way on a short 20-minute thankfulness journey by literally recounting all the things, big and small, for which you’re grateful. I guarantee you won’t run out of blessings. When it comes to curating a happy outlook, there’s nothing more beneficial than noticing the good things in your life. With the count-your-blessings walk, you get the boost of physical activity with a big
When it comes to curating a happy outlook, there’s nothing more beneficial than noticing the good things in your life. And with the count-your-blessings walk, you get the boost of physical activity along with a big ol’ helping of gratitude.