How To Find Happiness Without Pursuing Happiness

How To Find Happiness Without Pursuing Happiness

I can honestly say that I have yet to come across a person that doesn’t want to be happier.

It’s one of those universal desires — and for us moms, it becomes even more important because we owe it to our children to show them how to be happy through our example.

How To Find Happiness Without Pursuing Happiness

It can easily be argued that every decision a person makes is in the pursuit of happiness.

The need to be happy drives everyone, but people pursue happiness through different means. Some believe they’ll be happy if they can only amass a large enough fortune. Others believe they’ll be happy by helping others. Some pursue a family, while other believe the freedom of staying single provides a better opportunity for happiness.

Each of us has our own vision of what happiness would mean. But the truth is, by focusing on all the things we want to get–be–do in order to be happy, we’re in fact missing the entire point.

An investment banker and a Buddhist monk are still pursuing the same thing, only in dramatically different ways.

Happiness is like a butterfly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.
– Thoreau

Can you make yourself happy on purpose?

Can you pursue happiness and capture it like a child chasing a firefly?

Science says “no.”

You don’t find happiness in the pursuit of happiness.

How To Find Happiness Without Pursuing Happiness

Here are some tips on how to find happiness without pursuing happiness:

1. Avoid overestimating the effect of your circumstances on your happiness.

Even a perfect relationship and perfect job can become a grind after the newness wears off. You don’t need to live in the perfect location or have the ideal career to be happy. Nothing is perfect all the time.

* Studies show that people with modest incomes and possessions can be just as happy as the wealthy. There are happy and miserable people in every part of the world.

* There are happy and miserable doctors, clowns, homeless people, tall people, short people, men, and women.

2. Searching for strong emotions.

Studies find that the happiest people are moderately happy on a regular basis. The frequency of positive emotions is much more important for happiness than the intensity of the emotions.

3. Focusing on happiness leads to misery.

Several scientific studies have shown that when subjects focused on happiness, they reported feeling lonely and depressed. Searching for happiness is a singular, perhaps even selfish, activity. Putting too much of your attention on yourself results in lowered mental health.

* Keep your attention on others if you want to be happy. It’s hard to be happy if you spend a lot of time alone.

4. Gratitude is an important component of happiness.

If you have a lot to be grateful for, you’ll naturally be happy, too. Make gratitude a habit. Ask yourself what you’re grateful for several times each day.

* Set up trigger points, such as when you take a shower, put on your shoes, start your car, walk into your place of work, take off your shoes, and get into bed. These are just a few ideas. Think about your own life. What are your current morning and evening routines? Use those routines to remind you to be grateful.

Happiness is the goal, but it can’t be pursued. It just happens when you’re living your life.

A few good friends, the right mindset, and gratitude are all the intelligent person requires to have a happy life. Live your life according to your core values. It might not make you happy, but it will help to avoid being unhappy.

There’s no reason to put off being happy until you’re married, make six figures, or climb Mount Everest.

Choose to be happy NOW.

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Comments 35

  1. This sounds all good! Some people are more grumbly than others, and it is a habit they developed. I do find watching the script in your mind what you focus and say to yourself makes a difference. When something bad happens, acknowledge it, then try to see how it might not be that bad, etc. I try to be happy about small things that went my way, esp those “small” things that if they didn’t go my way, I know I’d be really disappointed! I don’t search for happiness, I try to seek a good day, good goals, and do whatever good I can do that day, rather than look to be happy.

  2. In an increasingly self-focused world being of service to youself via others seems to be less prevalent. Yet having the generosity to be of service is one of the greatest gifts anyone can give.

  3. I spent years of my life proving these factors to be so true. While I was not miserable my teenage years and actually had some great times I put conditions on my complete satisfaction and contentment in life. Like i knew I would have achieved a life changing status when I turned 15(then it was 15) and got my drivers license. Next I finished high school in 3 years because I would be happy once I graduated. But then college started and I knew once I got my Bachelors degree in accounting and got that super job I would have made it in this world. Then their was marriage, having a baby, and my depression hit rock bottom some time after that.
    I am so very thankful that God gave me a thankful heart and an attitude of gratitude to enjoy my journey in this world and as I do the next right thing and do for others my journey includes much more joy along the way.
    Thanks so much for this post.

  4. This is an excellent feature.I try to remember to be grateful for everything I have in my life because I am truly happy with what I have and the way my life has turned out.This is such a positive and inspiring article.

  5. So much truth to this. For a long time I tried to force myself to be happy, which made me really focus more negatively. Once I learned to let go, I was a lot happier, naturally.

  6. I really appreciate this article. I find my happiness in helping others and trying to bring a smile to their face. There are so many lonely people out there. It definitely takes my thoughts off of myself. Thank you so much for sharing

  7. Words of wisdom. Agree that happiness is an active pursuit (without fixating) and that gratitude has a piece of that. Finding happiness in little things and not having such great expectations. good reminders and fresh wisdom in here.

  8. I couldn’t agree more with the piece about gratitude. I find if I’m focused on the things that are right as opposed to the things that are wrong .. I’m far happier and more content

  9. I start everyday thinking of all the blessings I have in my life. It always puts me in a great mood. I think it is important to find the things that give us joy and remember to take time out for ourselves.

  10. This can be so hard to remember, I think we all wait for that moment where everything is perfect but truthfully that may never come. We need to make the choice to be happy, I love it.

  11. I didn’t realize that we can find happiness without pursuing our happiness. This ia worth reading and sharing.

  12. I love this! People in general need to be happier instead of being so negative. I try to take your last point to heart and be grateful for the little things in life instead of complaining about things we do not have.

  13. Excellent, excellent post. So many people think they can make themselves happy. You can’t do that. Happiness creeps up on you when you live a life that’s authentic.

  14. This post resonated with me so much because I use to think that I need the perfect setup to be happy. I would be so busy chancing the next goal that I never took the time to smell the roses. I agree with you, nothing is perfect all the time and we have to really get that in our minds.

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