By Bridgette Miller, MS, LCMFT, LBSW

We think happiness comes from meeting other people’s expectations, but really it comes from creating our own. 

There are many misconceptions about what happiness is, such as feeling joyful all the time. Life has highs and lows, and so happiness will fluctuate. When you find meaning and purpose within your life, you create happiness, as well as having different experiences where we can feel “psychologically rich.”

Unfortunately, society’s expectations/views are not always realistic and can unduly influence us. Happiness has no boundaries or limits and thus can look vastly different and consistently change. That’s why happiness comes from within and is created by each unique human and perspective.  

How can we nurture our own happiness? The Science of Happiness theory discusses the purposeful and impactful choices we can all make to improve well-being. 

  1. Quality time with family and friends – Spend meaningful time with your loved ones – this is the number 1 predictor of happiness and overall life satisfaction.
  2. Sleep hygiene – Maintain good sleep habits and ensure adequate rest. Both contribute to your emotional well-being and enhance your positive mood.
  3. Exercise – Engage in physical activity to release endorphins, improve mental clarity, and boost overall happiness levels.
  4. Meaningful work that aligns with your values/strengths – Find purpose and fulfillment in your professional career that resonates with you and is crucial for long-term happiness and satisfaction.
  5. Prioritize personal happiness – Figure out what gives you joy – then you’ll be able to offer that joy to others.  
  6. Balance self-care – Take time to cultivate your personal needs to foster a sense of well-being. You will prevent burnout and allow you to maintain a positive mindset.
  7. Reflection and action – Regularly spend time with your own thoughts and emotions. Set goals, and take proactive steps toward personal growth and happiness. You will greatly enhance overall well-being and life satisfaction.

Happiness is what we make it, and within our control to change. Consider these points and integrate them into your life. When you do this, you’re more likely to create a positive environment that supports your overall happiness and success. 

Remember that everyone’s journey is unique, so it’s important to tailor these principles to you and avoid comparing yourself to others. Overall, be intentional within creating your own version of happiness. And remember, happiness comprises insightful choices along the way, rather than a destination.

Start thriving today.

Happy Family interacting with pet dog