More Characteristics of Happiness – Happiness #4
Here I will continue my posts about the common characteristics of happiness. Here is the list.
- Keep an Open Mind – Maintaining an open mind opens up doorways to interesting things in the world, some of which may help you to become happier. Also, open-mindedness reduces inner tension about holding strong negative opinions about others. Less inner tension usually implies more equanimity, thus more happiness. Bertrand Russell informed us that open-mindedness expands personal interest in the many wonders of the world. George Bernard Shaw noted that open-mindedness helps our change process, which often means more creativity and interests. Norman Vincent Peale said happiness is based on the absence of hate and worry; open-mindedness helps here.
- Act on Your Purpose – Personal purpose in life is a very strong factor. You may need inner silence to connect with your higher self and its core purpose. John Locke noted we must avoid misery and pursue happiness. Friedrich Nietzsche reminded that the “why” of our life helps us cope with almost any adversity. Ralph Waldo Emerson suggested that life’s purpose is not happiness but being compassionate, useful, and honorable. Leonardo Da Vinci equated work with purpose and purpose with work. The Buddha advised that ultimate purpose is to work toward ultimate truth.
- Rest and Relaxation – To be happy we need to relax, and to relax we need to be courageous regarding the demands on our time, space, and energy. The techno-craziness of the current world’s constant distractions make rest and relaxation more difficult. Sometimes, as Nathaniel Hawthorne noted, frantically seeking happiness is a no-win situation; we need to relax so it can find us. John Lennon noted that we need to shut off our mind-chatter, relax and float a while. Thich Nhat Hanh and Oprah Winfrey tell us to breathe and let go of all troubling thoughts, and emotions.
- The Quality of Your Thoughts – Marcus Antonius reminded us that happiness can depend upon the quality of our most private thoughts. Mahatma Gandhi said we must forgive to be happy; holding on to negative views about others does not help us. Ralph Waldo Emerson suggested that seeking spiritual inspiration improves our mind and happiness. Sometimes just being open to the wonders of the world – nature, growth, friendship, discovery, love, is helpful. Use all your senses to remain with wonder.
For more information refer to Baxter Harmon, L. (2015). Happiness a-z…New York: MJF Books, pp. 111-181.
Anthony R. Quintiliani, PhD., LADC
From the Eleanor R. Liebman Center for Secular Meditation in Monkton, Vermont and the Home of The Monkton Sangha
Author of Mindful Happiness