Seeking happiness is our life purpose

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Authentic happiness

Seeking happiness is our life purpose

“I believe that the very purpose of our life is to seek happiness. Whether one believes in religion or not, whether one believes in that religion or this religion, we are all seeking something better in life. So, I think, the very motion of our life is towards happiness…” ― Dalai Lama XIV (2009). The Art of Happiness in a Troubled World.

This would suggest that happiness is a purposeful activity. Living purposefully is taking responsibility for our own happiness as well as enhancing others’ through kindness and compassion. Living a life that is congruent with our values and beliefs makes us happy. Developing a calm mind allows us to grow our level of contentment.

Are you living your life in the moment, enjoying each day at a time or do you tell yourself “I’ll be happy when …”

The trouble with this approach is that only 10% of our happiness is determined by our life situations[1]. As human beings we adapt to all things positive. So, when you get that new car or achieve the work promotion you get used to it and after a short while it no longer makes you happy. You start looking for the next thing that will.

Happiness is training the mind

The Dalai Lama says the key is to train the mind and seek the conditions that lead to a state of happiness2. If we learn and practise positive states of mind such as gratitude, kindness and compassion we will be happier.

According to key researchers Lyubomirsky, Sheldon and Schkade (2005), the key to being happy is to engage in happiness-relevant activities and practices. Their studies have found that 40% of our happiness is determined by our actions1. If we seek variety in our lives and cultivate certain positive states of being we can thwart our natural way of adapting to all things positive, thereby sustaining our happiness.

If seeking happiness is our life purpose, what actions can you take today to be happy? Read my blog on Three Keys to Happiness for things you can do each week towards this goal.

[1] Lyubomirsky, S., Sheldon, KM, & Schkade, D. (2005). Pursuing Happiness: The Architecture of Sustainable Change. Review of General Psychology, 9(2), 111-131.

2 Marelisa Online (accessed 26 June, 2011).

1 ibid.