Dr. Robert Holden is an expert on happiness. He has written books (Happiness Now), he has created courses (The Happiness Project), and he continuously speaks about how we can be happy now.

Here are what he says are 3 surprising blocks to happiness:

  1. The Pursuit of Happiness – when you are pursuing something, that means you are trying to attain something that you do not have – that is outside of yourself. True happiness can only be found within.
  2. Mind Wandering – what you do when you are planning your future happiness. “I’ll be happy when…” “I’ll be happy if…” This common practice disconnects you from what is happening RIGHT NOW. You are not accepting your current state in life, and are wishing it away for something better. True happiness is found in the here and now, no matter what is going on, no matter what is missing from your life.
  3. Positive Thinking – always trying to have happy thoughts and be a cheerful person. The danger in this is that you may actually be avoiding your sadness, or feelings of discontent. Dr. Holden believes that happiness is not the absence of sadness, but rather the ability to embrace the sad times and sit with those feelings. True happiness will help you to honor the sadness, trusting that things will get better.

So how can you be happier? First, you must identify what makes you unhappy.

For me, I notice a shift in my happiness when the following occurs:

  • I put off creative time when I get busy
  • I stop exercising consistently
  • I have what Dr. Holden calls “Destination Addiction” and am so focused on pursuing a goal that I lose touch with what is happening around me
  • I stop reading books and watching videos for my spiritual growth

Once I am aware of what shifts my happiness, I can plan accordingly.

Without awareness, there can be no change.

I encourage you to make a list of what makes you unhappy. Once you have your list, make a point to correct course.

Here’s what I plan to do:

  • Schedule 2 blocks of creative time into my weekly schedule. I can always do more, but 2 is a good place to start.
  • Commit to a consistent exercise routine, even if its 30 min, 4x’s a week. It’s at least something.
  • Set reminders to be grateful for NOW, to turn off my distractions, and to fully engage with my family.
  • Listen to an inspirational talk every morning when I wake up, before getting out of bet, to inspire and motivate me.

What do you plan on doing? I’d love to hear! Feel free to hop on over to my Facebook Page to let me know.

You may also be intersted in What is the Purpose of Happiness?