Mental & Emotional Health

10 Tips to Pursue Your Definition of Happiness

What we want always seems just out of reach, but that isn’t so. That concept is merely a self-imposed limitation we create for ourselves. It is a limit we put on our perspective and our abilities. The truth is, you must create an environment you enjoy for yourself to be happy. It’s not about possessions like the sports car, big screen television or even money.

The reality is happiness starts within. Give a miserable person everything he wants and guess what? After a while, he will still be unhappy.

Everyone’s definition of happiness is different. How do you pursue your version of it? It starts with these 10 tips.

Practice narcissistic acts

Most of us were taught by well-meaning parents to do things for other people, or to practice altruism. While it’s great to be nice, don’t ever forget about yourself. That doesn’t mean you have to be a jerk or not lend a hand to others, but make sure you’re not neglecting your own needs, wants and desires. You must understand that it’s okay to do things for yourself and to engage in activities that give you pleasure. Some of the most successful people will tell you that they could never help others if they didn’t take care of themselves first. If you’re not looking out for number-one, you will never truly be happy.

Focus on your relationships, including money

Money does not buy happiness; however, when you have a positive and healthy relationship with money, it does make life easier. While money is certainly not everything, make sure your financial house is in order. In addition, strengthening your social and emotional bonds with the people in your life gives you a better outlook on the world around you. Laughing and sharing your favorite activities with loved ones substantially increases your happiness.

Eat healthily

Your body works as a direct reflection of what you eat. Eat for fuel rather than fun. Maintain a healthy diet with enough protein and low to no added sugars. One good rule of thumb is to minimize sugars of any kind. Substitute your unhealthy favorites with a healthier alternative. Do this one at a time to build habits and not overwhelm yourself. When you begin eating for health you will feel how healthier meals make you feel in comparison to junk foods.

Get outside

Nature has such positive benefits on health and the soul. You can become recharged from a simple walk in the fresh air. Happiness is found in your outlook, and getting away from the computer and phones is your first step. Leave the devices at home and opt for a more natural pastime. Take up an outdoor activity to continuously make the habit of getting in the great outdoors.

Focus on the positives of the negatives and the negatives of the positives

I often hear people say, “Only think positive.” I disagree with this because you need to feel all your emotions fully to understand what you are feeling. You will never know happiness without sadness or excitement without disappointment. It works within a yin-yang dynamic. Seek a positive perspective always, but be okay when you have bad days. Start every day with an appreciative perspective and remain honest to communicate your genuine emotions. The goal should be to live in a balanced state never tipping too high or too low on the emotional scale.

Take a vacation

If you notice yourself getting into a negative pattern of behavior, feel free to take a break. Treat yourself to a weekend away or a week on the beach. Whatever location is your happy place, go there. You can clear your brain and restart with a better state of mind. It also gives you the time to reflect. From a clear mind, you can move forward and make better decisions.

Form a meditation practice

Meditation and mindfulness are two practices that clear the mind and help lower your stress level. Doctors are now recommending meditation to their patients for better mental health. Feeling less agitated by little triggers increases your happiness level and allows you to approach situations with a calm demeanor.

Be grateful every day

Gratitude can be expressed in a literal way by communicating directly with yourself and others. Some individuals prefer to keep a journal and jot down what they are thankful for every day. That act can stimulate positive neurotransmitters in the brain to reinforce those positive actions and good-feeling brain chemicals.

Get more sleep

Everyone knows the sour mood that takes over when you don’t get enough sleep. Studies recommend between seven and nine hours a night for peak health in adults. You may feel like you get that amount of sleep, but remember it is quality over quantity. If you toss and turn and wake every couple of hours, chances are you are not getting enough quality REM sleep. Hit the pillow earlier in the evening to establish better habits.

Devise a daily exercise routine

Don’t understate the power of endorphins through exercise. They give you an extra burst in your daily energy. Endorphins give the body a flood of positive emotions and create that feeling of empowerment. Not only does it feel good mentally, but you keep your body in peak physical condition. Just 30 minutes a day of cardio can improve your health and well-being exponentially.

The takeaway

Happiness is often sought as a destination on in a material form. Understand that happiness needs to be found in the journey, too. There is a reason it is called the ‘pursuit of happiness,’ because it is the striving to be happy that contributes to our humanness. Know that you will not be happy every minute of every day. Along with happiness comes times of suffering, too. Be grateful for the good and bad and continue to seek your next little dose of happiness through caring for yourself and others.

Dr. Alok Trivedi is author of the book Chasing Success, and the founder of the Aligned Performance Institute. Visit and

you may also like

Recipes We