26 Jun Happiness and Giving
Happiness – surely one of the most sought after goals in the world yet also, one of the most elusive. But why, when we know so much about the key variables that contribute to happiness, do so many people miss the mark?
Quite simply, because they look in the wrong places!
Instead of focusing inwards, one of the things we know about happy people is that they spend more time focusing outwards. They care for themselves, live healthy lives, and attend to the challenge of negative thoughts as well as the reinforcement of positive ones. But they also care for and actively engage in activities that will benefit others. Rather than being selfish and self-centred (as some of the common myths and misconceptions seem to suggest), happy people are more generous and more altruistic.
“Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.” (Helen Keller)
Having a clear sense of life purpose is, interestingly, one of the core strategies that will increase your chances of happiness. If this purpose involves the benefit of others, then you increase your likelihood of experiencing real and meaningful positive emotions even further.
I can”t remember where or when I first heard this but there’s a great quote that goes something like:
“There is a wonderful, mystical law of nature that the three things we crave most in life, happiness, freedom, and peace of mind are always attained by giving them to someone else.”
And there are so many ways we can give to others: just as there are so many ways we can become happy ourselves. But as many (older and wiser people) before me have noted, give first and you will receive.
– Donate money (you only need to give as much as you can afford)
– Donate time (there are innumerable organisations who”d love a helping hand)
– Donate expertise (give generously of your skills and experience)
If happiness is something you”d like to experience more of then clarify your life purpose and think optimistically; develop positive relationships with others and live healthily; but most of all, don”t forget that one of the most powerful sources of happiness is engagement in charitable acts. Give, and there’s no doubt you”ll receive!