In Pursuit of Happiness
Happiness is not something we chase; it is not something we can buy. Happiness is a state of mind and it comes from within, but it is influenced by our environment.
The country of Bhutan measures Gross National Happiness (GNH) the way we measure Gross National Product (GNP).
Bhutan’s Centre for Bhutan Studies developed a sophisticated survey instrument to measure the population’s general level of well-being or happiness. The four pillars of GNH are
- the promotion of sustainable development,
- preservation and promotion of cultural values,
- conservation of the natural environment, and
- establishment of good governance.
The Centre for Bhutan Studies further defined these four pillars with greater specificity into eight general contributors to happiness—
- physical, mental and spiritual health;
- social and community vitality;
- cultural vitality;
- living standards;
- good governance; and
- ecological vitality
These eight contributors to happiness are solidly based upon the empirical research literature of happiness, positive psychology and well-being.
So – how can we measure happiness? And more importantly – how can we increase our happiness?
At its simplest form we can rate our happiness from 1 to 10 on these categories:
- Health – physical
- Health – mental/emotional
- Work – Life balance
- Relationships – significant other
- Relationships – family
- Relationships – friends and social network
- Physical environment – home and neighborhood
- Access to nature
Once you see in which categories you are happiest and in which you are less happy, you can decide which category you would like to improve.
Be Grateful: First of all we can increase our happiness by being grateful. It’s easy to forget just how good we have it. The practice of being grateful can help us focus on the many good things we have. Take a small notebook and at the end of each day write down at least five things you are grateful for. These can be things like having a roof over your head, a nice meal, having money to pay your bills, a conversation with a friend, a nice and sunny day.
Celebrate: Next, make a habit of celebrating accomplishments – large and small. It is easy to check off tasks off a to do list, and move from one thing to another. After completing a small task, celebrate by giving yourself a short break, may be do a little happiness dance. Just watch a football player after a touchdown. You get the idea. When a major project is done, be sure to recognize and reward yourself and other team members.
Change: Now take a category that you would like to improve. Let’s take relationships for example. Evaluate your friends – which uplift you and which drag you down. May be it’s time for a heart to heart talk; may be it is time to let a friendship end. People change over time, may be you are no longer into the bar scene, but your friends are. If nothing else holds the friendship together, then maybe it’s time to let it go. Make room for new friends that share your other interests.
Share Happiness: Lastly, get in the habit of sharing the happiness of others. For example if you are playing a game and the other person wins, congratulate them on a game well played or on their good luck. When you win, accept congratulations graciously.
To determine if coaching can help you achieve your goals, schedule a free coaching consultation. Call Edith at 847.913.3900.