Wellness: 6 Steps To Finding Happiness In 2022

Finding joy and contentment in the new year could be easier than you think.

By June Wee-Grant        5 January 2022

If you’ve ever sung a nursery rhyme during your childhood, you’d likely have belted out “If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands”. While the song is easy to learn and perform, is attaining happiness as simple as this children’s song seems to suggest? June Wee-Grant, a Life, Leadership and Business Coach at junewee.com, shares what happiness means to her, and tips on how to attain your personal contentment.

What is happiness?

In the book, “The How of Happiness”, author and positive psychology researcher Sonja Lyubomirsky describes happiness as “the experience of joy, contentment, or positive well-being, combined with a sense that one’s life is good, meaningful, and worthwhile.” To go a little further about how the state of happiness comes about, Aristotle’s definition lends a deeper perspective: which is that happiness consists in achieving, through the course of a whole lifetime, all the goods – health, wealth, knowledge, friends, etc. – that lead to the perfection of human nature and to the enrichment of human life.

What makes me content

Between hot air balloon rides in Tuscany, and a mug of hot tea on a rainy day with an old, musty-smelling book with yellowed pages, I have experienced causes of happiness across the spectrum. I have learnt that happiness can be bought with money sometimes – but it is neither always successful, nor necessary. Deep, authentic friendships, the smell and touch of rain on my skin (especially on a hot, humid day) and funny jokes are some of the things that bring me joy.

I believe that happiness is available to everyone – regardless of age, gender, financial status, and every other distinction that separates “us” from “them”, “me” or “you”. I have seen children in third world countries derive laughter and great pleasure from kicking an empty tin can around on the streets; I have also seen grown men cheer in satisfaction as a result of 12 men chasing after a ball on TV. Happiness looks the same everywhere – albeit perhaps more expressive in some cultures than others.

6 easy pointers to finding happiness

1. Reflect on your past memories

Go back to your childhood memories in your own quiet time, or ask a relative or old friend to help you recall what used to make you happy way back when. It is normal to forget what brings us joy when the going gets tough or when life simply gets too busy – take time out for self-reflection, or do it with someone from your past to spark your memory.

2. Get curious

Finding anything starts with getting curious. If finding happiness is akin to finding a needle in a haystack, just start anywhere and be like a kid again. Invite your curiosity and follow what feels like an interesting idea that could lead you to a state of happiness. Leave the judgemental, logical, inner critic of yours behind whenever an idea comes up, and simply allow the idea to lead you by acting on it. Happiness could be just around the corner, who knows?

3. Choose to be happy

We can allow our state of mind to control us, or we can practise overriding our state of mind by consciously choosing to be who we would rather be. This starts with self-awareness, which can be increased by paying attention to our thoughts, beliefs, words, and actions. Mindfulness meditation and yoga are some of the ways that facilitate the awareness of oneself. Once we start becoming more conscious and self-aware, we are in a better position to choose who and how we wish to be. In doing so, we can choose to be happy by doing the things that make us happy.

4. Get active, go out and have fun

Physical exercise increases brain chemicals such as endorphins, dopamine, and adrenaline, which result in feelings such as confidence, happiness, and lower levels of anxiety and stress. Exercise does not necessarily have to be gruelling – try and have fun while doing it because the more fun it is, the more likely you are to keep doing it. For example, I used to hate running. However after I started creating music playlists, I started running more regularly and over a longer distance because I really enjoyed running to the beat of the music. Consider an exercise you’re curious about, and infuse some fun to it (maybe even invite a funny buddy to join you) – who knows, you could exercise your way to higher levels of happiness.

5. Be with other people who are happy

As they say, misery loves company. Conversely, “we are the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with”, according to Motivational Speaker, Jim Rohn. If finding happiness on your own is unreachable, get support from those who are in a happy state. Ask them out for a drink together, hop on a quick call, or watch videos of people being happy – there are many ways to get access to happy vibes. In my own personal experience, I can’t help but transform because of the company I keep.

6. Soak up nature and let Mother Earth guide you

Whenever I feel like I’m in a funk, I take a walk out in nature. I love watching the ocean, admiring the sun rays or moonlight bask on the waves that are either calm or stormy. At times, I simply put my hands on a tree trunk, close my eyes, and feel the steady, quiet strength of the wise tree. At other times, I simply walk barefoot on grass and enjoy the earth beneath the soles of my feet. Nature is healing and beautiful in its ever changing way, through seasons and reasons. Taking inspiration and strength from being one with nature is a sure way to help us reconnect with ourselves, and what makes us happy.

As a parting gift, here’s a bonus tip: Learn to let go of what no longer serves you. Be it past relationships you’ve outgrown, or jobs that may pay the bills but suffocate your soul. Take stock of what doesn’t feel good to you anymore, and let it go. As much as it feels scary, know that letting go is making space for the people and experiences in your life that will support your expansion, growth and happiness. Wishing you joy and contentment that you can begin to give to yourself right now. Just open yourself to the possibilities of happiness, and allow it to find you.

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Images: June Wee-Grant