We all want to be happy. But what is happiness? Here’s one definition…
Happiness is simply the ability to not want more; to find gratitude and satisfaction in the moment that you have right now.
In other words, your happiness hinges on living in the moment instead of yearning for some future indicator of success.
Here’s the best way I know to live in the moment… Express gratefulness.
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Appreciating what you have right now automatically brings you into the present. It allows you to get past the dissatisfaction of wanting a bigger house or a better relationship or a better job and experience what you have right now.
With that thought in mind, here are five ways to boost your gratefulness on a daily basis and find lasting happiness.
5 Simple Ways to Be Happy
1. Before dinner each night, say one thing you are grateful for. (If you pray, then this can become part of your prayer as well.)
2. Write a Thank You note to someone this week. If you can’t find anything else to thank someone for, then just write them a note to thank them for being in your life. Any time they spend with you is a gift because they could choose to spend it with someone else.
3. Take 30 seconds to breathe. There is no easier way to make time for yourself and be grateful for your own existence than to breathe. Close your eyes. Breathe in through your nose for a count of three and out through your mouth for a count of five. Do this 5 times.
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4. Do nothing for 2 minutes. Guess what happens? Nothing! You didn’t lose your job. Your family didn’t leave you. You’re not a failure. Nobody judged you. In fact, the only thing that really happened was that you realized that you can make time for yourself and enjoy your own presence without consuming something (eating, watching TV, etc).
5. Call a friend that you haven’t talked to in a while. We live for close connection. Having Facebook friends and Twitter followers and a large network is great, but it lacks the meaning of close connection. Reach out to someone who is important to you. Talk about whatever the hell you want. You don’t have to say anything cheesy or uncomfortable. Just enjoy the conversation and be grateful for that person.
The Fine Print
Important Note 1: I don’t believe that you need to be dissatisfied to be driven. I think it’s possible to love the life that you live and seek to make it better at the same time. So, don’t abandon your goals of a better job or a better relationship or a better life. The problem is that too often we convince ourselves that we need to abandon the present to achieve the future.
Important Note 2: if you think these things are too simple or too stupid to work, then I’d like to ask you this: When was the last time you tried one of them? Do a few and see if they work rather than living like a skeptic and writing things off before you try them.
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A version of this article originally appeared on James Clear’s website.