Do you ever wonder how some people seem to be happy nearly all the time? There are three fundamental ways of getting happiness that we can all leverage if we have the right tools and knowledge. Today, I’m going to teach you about these methods and how to get the most out of them, as well I have a really useful tool for you which I’ll talk about later.
Each of these three methods of producing happiness are completely different so let me explain. The first method is sensory pleasure. It’s so beautiful. It’s awesome. It’s the number one instant way to become happier.
Listen to your favorite piece of music and you feel great, watch a funny video and makes you laugh, a good food or see something beautiful, these sensory experiences make us feel really good right away. The only problem is that we often don’t get as much happiness from this source as we truly could, and that’s because we usually have so many of these pleasures available to us all the time.
So to counter this, all you need to do is mindfully notice when you’re really enjoying something. This is even more powerful if you’re able to share your enjoyment with someone else. Now, our second way of getting happiness is called engagement. This is when you do something that you really can’t break away from, you’re totally engrossed in it. Some call this being in the zone or being in a state of flow. You really concentrate it and having a lot of fun.
You know, athletes experience this a lot. Let’s say you’re playing basketball, you’re fully concentrated on the game. Your mind isn’t considering your shopping that you need to do or some quarrel that you had with a friend the day before. You’re totally engrossed. You can be so engrossed that you forget your biological needs like your hunger or even the need to go pee. This is engagement. During the activity, you might not even notice that you’re happy so it’s usually after the activity is over that you reflect on it and say, “Ah, that felt great.It made me so happy.”
Now, these states of flow can have peak moments but mostly we want them to be consistent, long periods of steady happiness. For example, research shows that on average, people are happier more at work than they are in their free time, and this is because for many people, work creates a steady, moderate sense of flow. So to recap, engagement is generally about activity you can plan and do regularly.
It’s not instant like pleasure but it’s pretty immediate. So if you don’t have work or play that brings you into the zone regularly, it may be time to take a close look at the activities that make up your day-to-day life. Now, the third method for creating happiness is quite exciting and completely different from the other two.
It takes a bit of time and some self-discovery but the reward is easily flowing, long-term, juicy happiness. This way of getting happy is called meaning. It’s when we have meaning in our life that we know what we value most and we live in alignment with those values. You may sense this intuitively especially when the opposite’s happening. If loving and spending time with your children is your highest value but your work takes up so much of your time that you can hardly be with your children, well you’re going to be very unsatisfied.
On the other hand, if you follow your desire to come to your kid’s school concert or help with their homework, you get this deep, very personal satisfaction in your life. So the trick here is to know what your values actually are. This is incredibly important. Knowing and following your values will reliably make you happier as you go through life so it’s very important to understand your values and practice following them.
I’ve included a free tool that will help you understand your values and if you’re committed to learning being happier, check out this tool. It’ll really help. So there you have it. There’s three different ways of producing happiness.