By Manda Lai
An often-heard saying, “Happiness is a journey, not a destination,” is a profound reminder that happiness isn’t a landing place we strive for but rather an ongoing experience.
In other words, to live life fully, we must embrace the present moment by engaging mindfully with the world around us. However, in the whirlwind of modern-day life, it can be easy to lose sight of this philosophy and prioritize our “unfinished business” over our mental health and well-being. But time waits for no one, so it’s important to focus on our happiness along the way.
Fortunately, we can practice six virtues to bring more happiness into our everyday lives—acceptance, gratitude, kindness, patience, purpose, and wonder.
An essential element in our journey of happiness is the practice of acceptance, which involves acknowledging and embracing life as it is. This means understanding that there will always be ups and downs and things out of our control.
Acceptance helps us realize that no matter what happens, we can handle it. Acceptance also makes us more adaptable to change and more resilient in facing challenges.
When we accept things for what they are, we stop dwelling on what could have been, which can be incredibly liberating. We can move forward in our lives. We learn to live in the present and make the most of every moment.
It’s scientifically proven that gratitude is one of the surest paths to happiness. Grateful people are happier, healthier, and more optimistic.
With gratitude, we actively acknowledge and appreciate the simple pleasures and blessings in our lives, shifting our focus from what we lack to what we have. We experience more connection and joy in everyday moments, such as hanging out with friends, feeling the warmth of sunshine, or hearing our favorite song on the radio.
The practice of gratitude grounds us in the present moment. We stop taking things for granted and instead appreciate what is right in front of us.
Kindness is one of the most powerful drivers of happiness. When we are kind, we not only benefit those around us, but we also naturally brighten our own moods.
Kindness is not just a feel-good emotion or gesture but an active choice we can make every day.
With kindness, we shift our focus from ourselves to others and foster a sense of connection and compassion. We become active participants in life instead of passive observers. We do our part to create a better world.
In our fast-paced world, patience can seem like a lost art. We often expect instant gratification and become easily frustrated when things don’t go as planned.
Patience, therefore, is an essential virtue for daily happiness. When we’re patient, we give ourselves time to fully experience life as it happens.
Patience is mindfulness in action. It is the intentional practice of slowing things down and appreciating the journey. We become more aware of our surroundings. We also learn to savor the moment, increasing our happiness.
To experience happiness every day, we must cultivate a sense of purpose. Purpose can be a dream, goal, or vision—anything that motivates and inspires us.
When we are clear about our purpose in life, we develop a strong sense of focus and drive. We become intentional about how we spend our time and experience more satisfaction and fulfillment from what we do every day.
Finding purpose can be daunting, but it’s worth the effort. When we are connected to our purpose, we value each day as an opportunity to work towards something meaningful.
Think back to being a kid. As children, everything was new and exciting. We were curious about the world, and in awe of all it had to offer us.
We can rediscover that sense of wonder as adults. When we do, we come alive with excitement and creativity. We become more willing to take risks and experience new things. We open ourselves up to new possibilities and greater joy every day.
It doesn’t take much to start wondering again. All we have to do is commit to learning something new every day. We can listen to new music, read books about unfamiliar topics, or take classes. Suddenly, everyday life becomes more interesting and enjoyable.
Happiness is not a destination, but an ongoing journey where we learn, grow, connect, and evolve. Happiness is found in the moments we choose to be accepting, grateful, kind, patient, purposeful, and full of wonder.
Happiness is here and now. It’s up to us to take a deep breath, open our minds, and let it in.
So treasure the moments, enjoy the happiness journey, and be present every step of the way.
About the Author
Manda Lai is a physician and Co-Founder of a little dose of happy (aldohappy, “all do happy”), a mission, mindset, and movement dedicated to spreading happiness worldwide. She is passionate about helping people find and cultivate happiness through doing happy, i.e., purposeful action, including kindness, gratitude, empathy, relationship building, and self-care. Visit the a little dose of happy blog to find tips and resources on how to infuse happiness into everyday life.