If we compare the times we live in to the times our grandparents lived, I believe we’d all say that we live a better and happier life? But, is this really so?
We live in a world where we have lots of choices, and where modern technology has made life easier and caused everything to be within our reach, and yet, the more we have and want the worse we feel and less sure we are of what makes us happy. And that’s the key question: What makes us happy?
Many will say that having a well-paid job and a high social status is a prerequisite for happiness, but the renowned Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Jung strongly disagreed with that. Jung founded analytical psychology and his ideas and theories for improving the quality of one’s life are still considered true and remain unparalleled.
One such theory gives us the answer to our question. According to him, if we want to find out the secret to happiness, we need to look within ourselves.
Here is what he believes are the 5 key elements to happiness:
1. Take good care of your health.
The first prerequisite for achieving happiness is taking care of your physical and mental health. Treat your body right by exercising regularly, eating healthy food, and getting enough and good quality sleep.
Exercise is particularly beneficial for both your physical and mental health. It does not only help you burn extra fat and build your stamina, but it can literally make you feel happier.
Namely, when you exercise, your body produces endorphins which reduce your stress levels and which can make you feel happy in the same way eating chocolate can.
So, instead of knocking yourself out eating chocolate or your favorite cookies, make sure you spend some time exercising at home or outdoors. You can also go jogging, ride a bicycle, or just walk in nature. Whatever you choose to do, it’ll undeniably be beneficial to your overall health.
2. Improve your relationships with others.
Everyone needs love and affection. And whether it’s your family, friends, romantic partner, coworker, or neighbor – they can all give you that and contribute to your happiness as well.
For sure, we can neither like and feel close to everyone nor always get along with everyone, but undoubtedly, the person who feels loved and who prioritizes their relationships is happier than the person who doesn’t.
Sharing your life with the people you love and who matter to you can certainly make you feel happier and more satisfied with your life.
Additionally, you can derive happiness and satisfaction, too, from working on your relationships with others and doing your best to make them happy as well.
3. Focus on the beauty around you.
It’s sad how we’re surrounded by beauty and we barely notice it. There are always plenty of responsibilities, be that at home or at work, to take care of. There’re always projects to complete, places to be, and money to make.
We’ve become so busy that we forget about all the beautiful things that exist around us. Our family, our friends, the people we encounter every day in the streets, the buildings, nature – they’re all part of the beauty that surrounds us.
If we want to be happy and satisfied with our lives and reduce our stress levels, we need to stop for a second and appreciate the beauty around us.
So, go on a picnic by the river, smell the roses, breath in fresh air, look at the birds and the trees, feel the breeze, go for a stroll in the park, sleep under the stars, visit that old friend of yours you’ve been planning to see for months – soak up the beauty around you. Live.
4. Enjoy your work.
There’s a great difference between the person who lives to work and the one who works to live. The former enjoys and loves their work so much that they don’t feel like they need to separate their job from their personal life. They feel like they’re needed and productive at their job, which provides them with happiness.
Whereas the latter, they don’t put love into their job and they don’t derive any satisfaction or happiness from it. They just do it for a living.
So, don’t just trudge off to work, do what you have to do for 8 hours, and then come home feeling exhausted and empty. Instead, learn how to appreciate and love what you do for a living. In this way, you’ll be happier and the happier you are the more productive and proud of both yourself and your job you’ll be.
5. Have something to believe in.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to have strong religious beliefs, but many people, including Jung himself, believed that believing in something divine and holy can help you achieve happiness.
It’s usually the notion of death that makes most people afraid. But, the idea that our life doesn’t end when we die serves as hope and a great comfort to many people and helps them get through the tough times in life.