The pursuit of happiness is one of the basic elements of human existence. We want to be happy. So why are so many people unhappy then? Most likely people are not happy because they are missing one of the six keys to happiness.

The most important key to your personal happiness is deciding that you will be happy. For many people, their personal happiness is not a priority in their life. Too often, we put the happiness of others before our own. While this may please our children, spouse, customers, or boss, this is not the path to our own happiness. This doesn’t mean you should make yourself happy at the expense of others, but you must remember that the reverse should also not be true — your happiness should not be sacrificed to make others happy.

Once you have decided to make your pursuit of happiness a priority you need to determine just what it is that makes you happy and brings you joy. Spend some time reviewing the happy times in your life. Think about memories that make you smile or activities that make you joyful. Can you find a common element or theme? Then that is one of the keys to finding true happiness for you.

6 Pursuits of Happiness

Now that you have identified what makes you happy you need to engage in that activity. Perhaps you need a creative outlet? Join a writing group, take an art or craft class, or learn an instrument. Do you need physical activity? Then find a way to get back into a sport you love or start a new one. Perhaps you need to make more space for ‘me time’. Perhaps for you that’s a soak in the bath surrounded by candles, taking part in an online event (I love a gong bath) or perhaps disappearing into a good book in a quiet place (I love walking on the beach). All that is necessary is that you find a way to reconnect with this key element.

However true happiness for most of us is not dependent solely on finding that one key. For most of us, we also require special people in our lives to be happy. Perhaps you have lost touch with someone important and can reach out to them? Or perhaps it is simply a time to plan some special time with family. It is important to our own pursuit of happiness to stay connected with those we love (the science back this up too).

Another essential to finding true happiness is to give of ourselves as well. Helping others in both small and large ways can help make you happier and more content. You might even be able to find a way to combine giving and engaging in an activity that makes you happy. For example, if you love to make people laugh you could organise a community talent show as a fundraiser for a local charity. Recently I joined the Cinnamon Trust as a volunteer – supporting elderly and terminally ill people to continue to have their dogs at home, while I help with dog walking and other things they can no longer do. There is science to back up that helping others  (kindness) will enrich your own life and levels of happiness.

Finally, make a list of all the aspects of your life that do make you happy. So many of us get down because we dwell on the negative, but usually there is something about your life that makes you happy. In NLP we talk about ‘what you focus on you get’. Others have been quoted as saying ‘what you pay attention to grows’. Make a list of these items that bring you happiness so you can have a quick mood enhancer when you feel down. Another idea that I love is each time you have an experience that brings you joy or happiness write it on a piece of paper and pop it in a jar. When you’re feeling down dip into the jar and pull out a handful of reminders and smile to yourself as you recall those experiences. 

The pursuit of happiness does not have to be challenging or arduous. Finding true happiness can be as simply as determining, identifying, engaging, connecting, giving and reminding yourself of the 6 keys to personal happiness.

To find out how NLP can help improve your happiness, do check out this YouTube Video I created on Happiness HERE. If you’re ready to change some of the unconscious processes and thinking patterns that are currently getting in the way of your happiness, you’ll want to check out our NLP Practitioner course.  Deciding your happiness is a priority is the first step!

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