Got Happiness?

After studying what goes into sustained happiness for years now, I have put together what I see as a variety of characteristics that people endow that make for more happiness in their lives.  This list is by no means exhaustive or limited, it is simply my observation.  Recently, I took a fresh look at the characteristics and noticed they fell into two broad categories and it occurred to me that one place to go hunting for more happiness is at the intersection of your inner child and your wise mind.  Those terms can be described simply as “A person’s original or true self” (Inner Child) and “An internal state of wisdom or knowledge” (Wise Mind).  I recognized that the characteristics I had been collecting naturally flowed into one of these categories.  There is overlap and this is not scientific, however I think it’s helpful to view these characteristics as things you may have been born with or things you have cultivated over the years.  Additionally, in the study of happiness, there are both external and internal sources, these are primarily internal and therefore things you can look inward and re-connect with when you are seeking more happiness in your life.

The intersection of your inner child and your wise mind is a beautiful place where you recognize that retaining or re-connecting with elements of your true self, and expanding on those elements you have developed over time can lead to a powerful combination of inherent strengths and resilience.  Where you don’t lose the ability to conjure up things like playfulness, a sense of awe and wonder, or creativity that may have gotten stifled when the world started to tell you who you are and to “grow up”.  And also where you can lean into your experiences that have brought you meaningful relationships, gratitude and a call to a higher service for example.

Below is the list of characteristics that I have compiled and you can click this link: recipe for happiness for a worksheet.  One way to use this worksheet is to circle in one color the things you feel you are already connected with and can conjure up with little to no effort.  These would be your natural resiliencies, that when you are under stress for example, can more easily access and bring your happiness level up in the moment.  With a different color, circle the areas you would like to develop further and when you are in a positive state already begin to think of ways to cultivate them.  Thus, you begin to use your personal recipe for cooking up a warm, delicious serving of Happiness!  The blank lines are for you to add to your list, especially anything that specifically makes you happier (ex: having pets, traveling, spending time alone or with others, etc).

Characteristics of Inner Child that contribute to happiness:

Self-expression

Creativity

Humor/Laughter

Curiosity

Vulnerability

Openness

Awe/Wonder

Learning

Playfulness

Hope

Courage

Pleasure

Warmth

Kindness

Characteristics of Wise Mind that contribute to happiness:

Meaningful relationships

Mindfulness

Gratitude

Intimacy

Self-Compassion

Confidence

Patience/staying calm

Self-Awareness

Flexibility

Service to others

Focus

Aspiration

Positive attitude/choosing what to focus on

Self-care/permission to be human