Joyful woman with flowers in her hair

The Value of Harnessing Happiness

Harnessing happiness is simply inviting joy and a general sense of contentment into your life. It’s having a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction in life.

Happiness is a subjective state of being and it means different things to different people. You could be the poorest person on the planet and be quite content with the life you live. You could be a billionaire and still be utterly miserable. Why is that? You may ask.

The crucial thing to understand is that happiness hinges greatly on how well your needs, as a human being, are being met.

Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs places basic needs such as food, water, safety, and shelter at the bottom two tiers of his pyramid model. These are the human needs that must be prioritized above all others. Without food and water, we die. Without safety and shelter, at we are at risk of dying.

Next are human relationships. As social beings, we need to interact ad bond with others. We need to feel we belong. We need to see the fruit of our labors. We need recognition for our accomplishments. We need to build self-esteem. We need reasons to feel good about ourselves.

Pyramid depicting Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

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Self-actualization lays at the highest tier of Maslow’s hierarchy. We need to fully realize our potential. We need to create, and we need to challenge ourselves. Unfortunately, so many of us are often so busy making sure that we satisfy our physiological and psychological needs and forget about the need for self-fulfillment.

We pour our entire beings into surviving and give very little thought to the importance of thriving, of satisfying all and not just some of the human needs. We stop at meeting our basic and psychological needs and decide our work here is done.

If that’s the case, though, where do midlife crises come from? Why do some people spend years drifting from one job to the next, unable to make anything stick? Why do so many people feel incomplete without a romantic partner to stuff inside that inexplicable void inside their lives?

How often have you found yourself thinking?
  • This isn’t the life I wanted
  • I hate my life
  • There’s no such thing as happiness
  • I haven’t accomplished anything worthwhile in my life
  • I have everything I need, but I still feel so empty inside.

Sure, these negative thoughts creep up on all of us from time to time. Happiness isn’t about feeling chirpy and cheerful every minute of every, single day. It isn’t some epic, never-ending, natural high.

True happiness is living with positive intention and an optimistic outlook. It’s being content with what we have in life. It’s believing the effort invested in our accomplishments are worth our while. It’s feeling fulfilled, despite the trials and tribulations that come our way. It’s going to bed exhausted tonight, and still looking forward to getting up in the morning and seizing the day all over again.

When was the last time you felt like that?

If you can say yesterday or today, rejoice. Chances are, you are, indeed, living a happy life.

Maybe you don’t know that feeling, though. Maybe it’s been so long, you can’t even remember what it feels like. Should you despair? I think not. That’s alright because now you know. You’ve come to realize that there is something seriously amiss in your life. Something you need to and can change for the better has come to light.

This is the point at which harnessing happiness comes into play. I won’t claim it’s easy. Positive self-transformation takes a great deal of introspection and effort on your part. What matters right now, is that you’ve already made the biggest, most crucial step.

There are several ways to invite happiness into your life.
  • Determine which of your needs are not being met. Ask yourself how you can attain these things without sitting around and waiting for them to come to you.
  • Appreciate yourself. Accept your awesome self, talents, and imperfections alike. Stop thinking you need someone else’s permission to love yourself for who you are.
  • Be patient. Happiness isn’t like that quarter the Tooth Fairy leaves under your pillow overnight. Besides, by now you should have figured out by now that the Tooth Fairy’s a total frau—well, never mind.
  • Take care of yourself. Self-care is not self-indulgence, and it makes all the difference to your well-being in the world.

Harnessing Happiness takes time, effort, and persistence. Be prepared to work for it. Some of us will have to work harder it than others. I’d like to think my fellow chronic depression fighters know where I’m coming from with this. The simple truth of the matter is that no one can hand you happiness or all of life’s answers on a silver platter.

Positive self-transformation is something you must undertake yourself, for your own sake. You cannot rely on anyone else to do it for you because no one has a roadmap to your soul.

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