Discovering the key sources of happiness is important for almost everyone. True happiness is achievable but not easy because we seek it in the wrong places, people and experiences. Happiness does not come from power, pleasure, honor or wealth but from these 4 “unappealing” sources.
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The past few months each article was covering a specific topic (being thankful, communicating with teenagers, challenges of parenting etc) or category (parenting, Catholic life, Finance, self-development etc)
For a change, in this article, I kind of highlight the most important sources of happiness, that I touched upon in my previous articles published so far. I also provide references for additional reading.
1) The first key source of happiness: Be faithful to God
I think most of the world will disagree with me on this point. But based on my own, as well as other people's experiences I’m confident of what I'm saying. I'm not talking about only attending Church regularly or praying at every breath.
Though these are pious acts, solely performing these external acts of piety will not give you true happiness. External acts have value only if they are extensions of inner goodness or holiness. So we have to go much deeper. To put it simply, we have to try to keep our hearts like Jesus's Sacred Heart.
From the book, Imitation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
The book, Imitation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus tells us how to convert our hearts into an image of Jesus's Heart. This book is recommended by David Abrio, who runs Formation Programs for busy Catholics, based out of Dubai.
2) The second key source of happiness: Be grateful to God and fellow humans
I cannot stress enough about the importance and power of gratitude. Many relationships are soured due to ingratitude or ungratefulness. Being grateful requires us to have humility first.
The mixture of these 2 virtues of humility and gratitude results in so much good, I can think of only positives coming out of the act of gratitude. Gratitude to God and fellow human beings.
3) The third key source of happiness: Be useful
Our lives are so stressful and busy, it's so easy to get caught up or engrossed in ourselves or our families. Without noticing others. There is a real danger of abandoning the virtues of charity and generosity.
Church-based outreach programs or community based social service are great opportunities to be useful to others. In addition, at a personal level, a sustainable option is to have a meaningful hobby that benefits you, your community and family. All rolled in one. This can give you a tremendous sense of achievement, usefulness, and fulfillment.
4) The fourth key to happiness: Be devoted to Family Time
God has given us our families to directly share our lives with. The first step in sharing is to spend quality time together. By the very nature of family life, we stay under the same roof, share vehicles, do almost everything together.
In spite of being together, we still could be growing apart or living disconnected lives. Especially with teenage kids, busy parents, frequent out-of-town travel on work, extended family staying over for long duration etc.
The simple trick is to convert the usual family chores or daily activities into quality time. Have at least one meal a day together at the dining table or parents schedule regular 1 to 1 private time with each of your kids or spouses go for drives alone leaving kids at home once in a way or whole families go for walks to the local park etc.
IMPORTANT: Keep gadgets away during the above activities.
I'm aware that you can't do all the above but try what you can, depending on your circumstances.
The topic of happiness is not only vast but every point of view can be debated or argued upon, yet there are some simple fundamental truths we should not ignore or dismiss. Follow the truths mentioned in this article and you will surely be on the path to happiness.
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