The emotion of happiness, or being happy, can be learned (in part). This is good news, however, how do you do it? There are 6 pillars that can help us do that. What works for you can only be determined by yourself. Practice it daily and never stop doing it. Play with it and be creative.

1. Positive and optimistic thinking (stop complaining)

Negative thoughts will narrow our focus. This limits us, while positive and optimistic thoughts broaden our view. The metaphor “you can’t change the direction of the wind, but you can change the position of the sails” speaks volumes. Always transform thoughts into helpful thoughts (reverse thinking). Make the choice that suits you (the position of the sails) and don’t fight against something you have no control over.

2. Living from a meaningful mission and pursuing it successfully

What do you think is important in life? What are you proud of? What do you still want to achieve? What motivates you? Questions only you can answer. Answers that give direction to your daily activities, relationships and situations that you enjoy and that make you happy. Treat yourself and do more and more of this in small steps. If you succeed, share your success with others and then take another step. If you don’t succeed, try again later in a slightly different way. Maybe you will be more successful.

3. Conscious living and enjoyment

How can you stay yourself and feel good in ever-changing circumstances. Are you doing the right things that energize you? Aren’t you too hard on yourself sometimes? What helps you let go of your thoughts? Living consciously does not mean that challenges or tipping points do not come your way. Living consciously means learning to relax into those challenges.

It is loving attention in the moment, for yourself and the other, feeling connected to what is important in that moment, knowing what nourishes you, experiencing and making choices. Conscious living is not a static form of being, but a continuous process of (inner) attunement.

Enjoyment is the engine of life. Connecting with your passions, knowing what gives you pleasure and making time for it. Enjoyment could be described as all your thinking and doing that is able to evoke, intensify and hold (for a while) a feeling of happiness.

4. Interacting and connected with others

Being well surrounded! With whom do you find support? How do you mean something to others? What are you grateful for? We humans are social creatures. We not only feel more comfortable when we are surrounded by positive people with whom we feel connected. We also come into our own more fully and unlock our full potential. Meaningful relationships with others is the strongest predictor of lasting happiness (and your life expectancy).

Knowing that we are interconnected and we influence each other underscores the importance of surrounding yourself with positive, resilient people, positive stories, constructive information and acting accordingly. It is also important to regularly do something nice for another person.

5. Healthy lifestyle (using Positive Health)

If someone were to ask, “Are you living healthy?” you immediately think of eating, exercising and sleeping. Machteld Hubert has developed a different view of health and this involves the ability to cope with the physical, mental and emotional challenges of life. Our health is scored in a spider web with 6 dimensions and drawn as a surface in the in spider web. Next, you get to work on strengthening something. We know from experience that when we strengthen what is already going well, the surface in the spider web moves along in a positive way. We thus tap into our source of resilience, our potential.

6. Sharing happiness with others

Happiness multiplies by sharing it! A saying we are all familiar with. We know that your personal happiness is inextricably linked to “other people. We become happy from doing something for another, from being meaningful to other people or the world around us. When I get groceries for our neighbors, it not only makes me feel good, but also my neighbors and even the people around them and me who are inspired by this action of loving kindness.

Happiness is not about the absence of unhappiness. Rather, happiness is inclusive of all the challenges in your path. What contributes to your happiness is awareness, life skills and the choices we make as a result. Happiness is about how we deal with our challenges. Are we able to bounce back? Or better yet, come out stronger than before. That’s super resilient.