Photo: © 2009 Jupiterimages Corporation
Instead of searching for possessions and achievements to make you happy, reflect on who you are and find authentic joy within.
We work so hard to have it all: a beautiful home, a loving partner, a successful job and more. But what happens when these successes don't equal happiness in our lives and we're left feeling unfulfilled, unsatisfied and unhappy? How do we get onto the road that leads to happiness? And what are we looking for?
It's common to be unsure about what makes us happy, says psychologist Dr. Robert Holden, director of The Happiness Project in England. "Actually, it's fair to say that often people don't know," he says. To help people figure that out, Dr. Holden runs Happiness NOW. The eight-week course enables participants to embark on a personal development journey to figure out what happiness means to them and how to find joy in their lives.
At the beginning of the program, participants are asked to make a list of possessions, achievements and events they hoped would bring them joy but didn't. "We thought we knew in the past what made us happy, but that's not always the case," Dr. Holden says. "It's quite difficult to know what makes you happy if you don't really know yourself very well."
According to Dr. Holden, you feel happiest when you do begin to get to know who you truly are. "The reason why we're so interested in happiness is because we want to have an experience of our true self," he says. "That's the only reason we really want to be happy. We want to feel that lovely feeling of having no worries: You don't feel pressure and you don't really have to compare yourself to anyone. You just don't have to be somebody."