How To Boost Your Long-Term Happiness and Inner Strength
Everybody wants to be happy, but many obstacles get in our way. “Choosing” to be happy is something that is much more difficult than it seems. Happiness is a natural feeling that comes and goes. This begs the question: is there a way that we can help ourselves to feel it more? Many people, especially those on their own journey of recovery, find themselves wondering how they can be happier and be in a peaceful state.
Every person experiences their own unique feeling of happiness. Because of this, finding happiness can be quite a different journey for everyone. Luckily, there are some amazing methods—such as positive psychology—that can help you find long-term happiness and your own inner strength in life.
What Exactly Is Inner Strength or Long-Term Happiness?
Because happiness and inner strength are more abstract feelings and concepts, it can be hard for people to know how to work on them in the first place. Inner strength is also known by many as resilience. Inner strength, or resiliency, is a measure of how you can handle obstacles and other situations in your life while maintaining a positive outlook. It’s about bouncing back because you know you are capable of doing anything. Your inner strength uses the hardships in your life to help you become a better, stronger person.
Happiness can be hard to define as it’s so different for each of us. Long-term happiness is a feeling that sits in the back of your head and makes each day a little brighter. Long-term happiness is found through journeys, situations, experiences, and pieces of your life that make you feel something. To me, long-term happiness is achieved through the practice of looking at all pieces of life with a positive outlook, with a feeling of gratitude for what I have, so there is always something you can draw on to give me strength..
What Is Positive Psychology?
Positive psychology is a field of psychology with a goal of helping people experience long-term happiness and thrive in all aspects of life. It’s a method of thinking that helps people find their own inner strength and build on it, while keeping a positive outlook toward life. Positive psychology focuses on what makes life worth living for many. It prioritizes the positive traits of the individual and builds on their strengths, their accomplishments, and their feelings of happiness and gratitude.
Positive psychology often uses something known as the PERMA model, which identifies the main aspects of wellbeing that should have positivity applied to them. PERMA stands for:
1. Positive Emotions
Experiencing and identifying positive emotions is an immensely important part of positive psychology. This part of the PERMA model emphasizes that people should nurture these positive emotions and do things that make them feel that way.
Engaging in your life can be hard sometimes, as often it can feel like the chaos just takes over. Setting time aside to start that hobby you wanted to try or saying “yes” to a night out with a friend that wasn’t planned are just little ways that you can engage yourself in your own life more. Who knows? Maybe they will turn out to be amazing experiences.
3. (Positive) Relationships
Relationships are a crucial part of our lives. Having supportive people in our lives that we enjoy being around is something that makes life worthwhile. Nurture the positive relationships in your life and cherish the people close to you.
Finding meaning, whether it’s in the small things or the big things, is something that helps people feel joy much deeper.
Another important aspect of positive psychology is celebrating your own strengths and accomplishments. Life can be difficult and chaotic—achieving your goals is a big deal, and it’s something that deserves to be celebrated. Celebrating accomplishments and the strengths of an individual helps them find their own power and believe in themselves more.
The Power of Positive Psychology
With continuing research being done on positive psychology, it has continually been found to have a massive impact on people’s lives and their happiness. Positive psychology is powerful because it focuses a great deal on emotions and experiences, which play a large role in our overall satisfaction in life. Positive psychology and long-term happiness have been shown to provide a variety of benefits in different aspects of people’s lives.
Some of the benefits that come along with practicing positive psychology in your everyday life are:
1. Long-Term Happiness
One of the greatest benefits of practicing positivity psychology in your everyday life is your increased overall long-term happiness. Positive psychology focuses on pieces of your life that bring you happiness, helping you stay positive and feel good much more often.
2. Helps Change Outlook / Less Negative Thoughts
After you continue practicing this method of thinking for a while, you will begin to have a more positive outlook on life overall. By identifying when you are having negative thoughts and addressing them by making them into something positive, you slowly train your brain to become more positive instead and, ultimately, have a better outlook.
3. Increased Self Esteem
Another great benefit from using positive psychology is a dramatic increase in self-esteem. By not only acknowledging your strong suits and accomplishments, but celebrating them, you begin to believe in yourself and trust in your abilities much more. Positive psychology can help you at work, in meetings, in social situations, and more.
4. Better Social Connections
Research has also found that another benefit of practicing positive psychology, both in your work and in your personal life, helps you to have better social connections. This has to do with increased self-confidence and a more positive outlook when going into a social situation, allowing a person to often have a better connection than they might have before.
5. Better at Handling Obstacles
Another benefit of positive psychology is that it equips us to handle obstacles and challenges in our lives much better than before. Because you now have a more positive outlook on the situation and the confidence to handle it, you are also more than capable of handling any difficulties that may show up in your life.
How Can I Experience More Joy?
Joy is a deep, powerful emotion. Joy is often defined as an ‘inner feeling’ of great happiness or pleasure. Many people differentiate joy and happiness as joy being an inward feeling that isn’t circumstantial, and happiness as an outward display of emotion due to specific circumstances.
Focusing on joy and other positive emotions is one of the essential pieces of positive psychology. Joy can often come from positive experiences or events, but it is a lasting feeling that often helps people get through their darker days. Because of this, one of the first questions people often ask themselves when searching for happiness is, “how can I experience more joy?”
Here are a few simple techniques to help experience deeper joy, more often:
1. Make Happiness Your Goal
By making happiness your goal, you are making a conscious decision to try and fight for that feeling every day. With positive psychology, making happiness your goal can help you look at situations differently—for example, the glass being half full instead of half empty. And, although you can’t control your happiness, you can work on it. By simply making it a goal, you can start to work on all of the surrounding aspects that go into helping you achieve that.
2. Find What Makes You Happy and Prioritize It
With happiness as your goal, you now need to think about what truly makes you happy. What experiences, memories, activities, etc., bring you joy? Find those things that you love to do and make them a priority in your life. We are allowed to prioritize our own happiness. Whether it’s reading a book or taking that 3-month trip to Paris that you’ve been wanting to take since you were a kid, chase those aspects of your life that make you feel joy.
3. Keep a Positive Outlook / See the Good
Keeping a positive outlook is another aspect of positive psychology that has really helped to change people’s lives. Many times, we may have naturally negative thoughts without even realizing it. Catch yourself when you think things like, “wow, I’ll never be able to afford a car like that,” and flip the script on yourself.
Change that sentence to, “wow, I’m going to buy myself a car like that one day.” Simple changes to your overall attitude can make more of a difference than you think. Whether it’s in a situation or a person, seeing “the good” when it doesn’t seem like there is any is crucial in feeling more joy. Don’t let negativity bother you; rather, keep a positive outlook and know that things always get better. As humans our emotions are fragile, accepting that as a fact often helps me keep positivity and striving for it in perspective.
4. Cherish and Nurture Relationships
The relationships in your life play an important factor in your overall happiness and the joy that you experience. Oftentimes, when relationships are suffering, so are we. That’s why building quality relationships with supportive people that you enjoy being around is what you should nurture over people who have hurt you or don’t offer positive energy to your life anymore. Having strong, healthy relationships helps us find balance in the chaos of our lives. Nurture and cherish the relationships that are important to you. I find having healthy relationships with men is extremely important and having relationships with women while keeping boundaries in place by not crossing any bottom line behaviors is extremely important for myself.
5. Look for Meaning
While it may seem simple, looking for meaning, even in the small things, is something that can help you feel deeper joy much more often. The world is so big and we are so small—I believe that if there is something in this life that makes you feel joy, you should cherish it. Find meaning in the small things, like making your favorite cup of coffee each morning, I tend to be a coffee snob of sorts and grind fresh beans every morning! Watching the sunset at the beach is always awe inspiring, for me I find extraordinary comfort and happiness with my two daughters and their lives.
Tips for Long-Term Happiness in Positive Psychology
There are a variety of small things that you can practice every day as you start your journey to long-term happiness with positive psychology, here are just a few:
- Be kind to yourself.
- Do what you love and what makes you happy.
- Don’t be afraid to be spontaneous .
- Nurture relationships.
- Replace your negative thoughts with positive ones.
- Enjoy the little things.
- See the best in every situation and every person.
- Set meaningful goals and chase your dreams.
- Keep a positive outlook toward the future.
- Emphasize that you are blessed.
Everyone wants to be happy, and that’s possible. While you begin cultivating long-term happiness, there may be challenges and obstacles that get in your way. Just know that you are capable of handling those difficulties and that you are capable of finding happiness.
Positive psychology is just one great way to help you cultivate happiness and feel joy more deeply. If you are on a journey to recovery and are looking for ways to be happy, try using positive psychology in your everyday life. I keep a list I refer to daily, I call it my daily list, that I want to remind myself of all the small things I need to do daily. Try it!!
As always, stay strong,