As we enter into a New Year I invite you to ponder: It is possible to take specific action steps to become happier? We find ourselves pouring effort into improving our circumstances, only to find that we’re not that much happier after all?
The King of Bhutan, the last Buddhist kingdom in the Himalayas, has decided that the best way to foster economic development in his country is to shift the focus from GDP (Gross Domestic Product) to GDH: Gross Domestic Happiness.
“Gross National Happiness is more important than Gross National Product”
– His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck
While most people in this tiny country between India and China are subsistence farmers, they enjoy food, shelter and universal health care. They refuse to make money from commercial ventures that could compromise their nation’s health, environment and egalitarian principles.
So, can an entire country—or even one individual—raise happiness levels?
Being in choice with our state of mind is something I focus on with my coaching clients. Many have not stopped to consider being in choice even an option. Logically, we know we must devote considerable time and effort to master a sport, hone our professional skills or successfully rear a child. We seem to have a blind spot regarding exerting control over our emotional or mental lives, most often we have not paused to consider that we have a choice in the matter.
With sports, there’s a correlation between practice and mastery. As it turns out, the same applies to attaining greater happiness. You need to be intentional and mindful, and to practice what it is you are seeking.
To become happier, you must be intentionally applying effort every day of your life. It can be hard work, but it’s the most rewarding assignment you will ever undertake.
Why Be Intentional About Achieving Happiness?
Researchers who study happiness have found compelling reasons to achieve it.
Happier people are:
- Better leaders
- More flexible and innovative
- More resilient when faced with hardships
- More productive at work
- More sociable
- More energetic
- More charitable and cooperative
- Better liked by others
- Better negotiators
- Higher earners
- Physically healthier (stronger immune systems)
- Likely to live longer
Happiness bolsters and sustains self-confidence and self-esteem. We come to believe in ourselves as worthy human beings, deserving of respect — a mindset that facilitates positive behaviors and outcomes leaving us feeling more fulfilled.
As we become happier, we benefit not only ourselves, but also our partners, families, communities and society at large.
It seems to me that the pursuit of happiness is worthwhile. What do you think?