Barbara Fredrickson, PHD has been called “The World’s Leading Expert in Happiness.” She says that true happiness is not completely tied to external factors. True Happiness comes from cultivating these qualities:
Joy, Gratitude, Serenity, Interest, Hope, Pride, Amusement, Inspiration, Awe, Love.
What is not listed: owning a lot of things, always having everything go your way.
When I first discovered yoga, I was at a bad time in my life. I didn’t know what I wanted to do. My long-term relationship was failing. I was surrounded by people who did not have well-wishes towards me, and made sure I knew it. I felt sad and lost. Then I took a few yoga classes and felt my joie de vivre return! That sparked my Interest and Awe. It made me Grateful. I had moments of Serenity, Amusement, Pride and Inspiration. And that gave me Hope.
I’m not saying yoga alone is enough to make anyone happy. I’m not saying that I’m always happy or enlightened. Also, I am not downplaying true life problems and sorrows.
Yoga is one thing that helps me get back to the qualities that establish true happiness.
Another thing? Keeping a journal. Each entry starts with Gratitude, before I write other things. And I find that I experience more joy and relish my experiences as I jot them down.
If we meditate on these qualities within us, we create a reserve of these qualities to help us move through the tough times.
What other things bring us these qualities? What sparks your interest, amusement, awe?
We can also use this list to look at the habits we wish to change. If there is something you're struggling with, it might help to look at it and ask "how is this contributing to these qualities of happiness within me?"
May this meditation nugget serve for our awakening into happiness, and the awakening of all.