8 simple habits that will make you happier, according to Buddhism

Most of us interchange the terms ‘happy’ and ‘content’.

However, being happy and being content are two very different things.

Happiness can feel like a fleeting emotion – here one moment, gone the next.

But contentment, that’s a different story. It’s a deep-seated sense of peace and tranquility. It’s something that Buddhism has been teaching for thousands of years.

So, how can we tap into this wisdom? Well, there are certain habits, according to Buddhism, that can help us lead a happier and more fulfilled life.

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder of Hack Spirit and an enthusiast of mindfulness and Buddhism. I’ve spent years studying and practicing these principles.

Now, I’m eager to share with you 8 simple habits that will guide you towards lasting happiness.

Remember, this isn’t about quick fixes or instant gratification. It’s about building lasting habits that will transform your life from the inside out. So, are you ready to embark on this journey with me? Let’s dive in!

1) Embrace mindfulness

If there’s one teaching that Buddhism has consistently emphasized, it’s the power of mindfulness.

Often, we’re so caught up in the whirlwind of our thoughts and worries that we forget to truly live in the moment. We’re either dwelling on past regrets or fretting about future anxieties.

Here’s where the practice of mindfulness comes in.

Mindfulness is about being fully present in each moment, fully aware of what you’re doing. It’s about anchoring yourself in the here and now, and it’s a practice deeply rooted in Buddhism.

Think about it.

When you’re truly mindful, you’re not ruminating over past mistakes or worrying about future problems.

You’re living in the present, and this can bring you a profound sense of peace and happiness.

The beauty of mindfulness is that it’s not reserved for secluded meditation sessions – it can be practiced at any moment of your day.

Whether you’re washing dishes, driving your car, or even reading this article, being fully present can transform these ordinary tasks into moments of joy and tranquility.

So if you want to imbibe a bit of Buddhist wisdom into your life, start with embracing mindfulness. 

2) Cultivate compassion

Another lesson from Buddhism that has personally transformed my own life is the practice of compassion.

Compassion, in its simplest form, is a deep understanding and empathy for the suffering of others. It’s about extending kindness not just to those who are kind to us, but to all beings.

What’s fascinating is that compassion isn’t just beneficial for the receiver, it’s equally transformative for the giver.

I’ve found in my own journey that the more compassion I extend to others, the happier and more fulfilled I feel.

The Dalai Lama, a revered figure in Buddhism, once said, “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”

These words ring true.

Compassion connects us to others, breaks down barriers and fosters a sense of shared humanity.

It’s not always easy, especially when we’re faced with individuals who challenge us. But it’s in these moments that practicing compassion can be most powerful.

So as you move forward on your path towards happiness, remember to cultivate compassion. It’s a habit that takes time and patience, but I promise you, it’s worth it.

3) Let go of attachments

Now, this might be a tough one to swallow, but it’s an essential part of Buddhist teachings: letting go of attachments.

Attachments, according to Buddhism, are the root cause of our suffering. It’s the relentless clinging to people, material possessions, or outcomes that leads us into a cycle of stress and unhappiness.

It’s important to note that this isn’t about renouncing everything and living in isolation. Rather, it’s about understanding the impermanent nature of everything around us.

Nothing in life is permanent and change is inevitable.

The job you have, the relationships you hold dear, even the emotions you feel – they’re all subject to change.

When we grasp onto these things and resist change, we set ourselves up for disappointment and suffering.

But when we accept the transient nature of life and let go of our rigid attachments, we can find true peace.

This doesn’t mean that we stop caring about people or stop striving for our goals.

Instead, it means that we learn to love freely without clinging, and we pursue our ambitions without being overly attached to the outcome.

Remember, letting go isn’t about losing, it’s about freeing yourself from the constraints of attachment that keep you from experiencing true happiness.

4) Practice acceptance

It’s a common human trait to resist what we don’t like and hold onto what we want. But life doesn’t always go as planned, does it?

That’s where the mindfulness practice of acceptance comes into play.

Acceptance isn’t about passively resigning to whatever happens in life. Rather, it’s about acknowledging reality as it is, without trying to change or judge it.

When we face a difficult situation, our instinctive reaction is often to resist or fight against it.

But this resistance only amplifies our stress and prevents us from seeing the situation clearly.

By practicing acceptance, we stop this struggle.

We create space for understanding and compassion to arise. We see the situation for what it is, and this clarity allows us to respond in a more thoughtful and constructive manner.

Mindfulness cultivates acceptance by teaching us to observe our thoughts, feelings, and experiences without judgment. It’s not about suppressing or denying our emotions but acknowledging them with openness and kindness.

Acceptance isn’t easy, especially in the face of adversity. But it is a path towards peace and happiness, allowing us to navigate life’s ups and downs with grace and resilience.

5) Live with maximum impact and minimum ego

In my journey of studying and practicing Buddhism, one lesson that has truly resonated with me is the idea of living with maximum impact and minimum ego.

Our ego, which represents our self-identity, often drives our actions and reactions. It seeks validation, clings to pride, and fears criticism.

But when we let our ego lead, we close ourselves off from truly connecting with others and experiencing the world fully.

Contrarily, when we minimize our ego, we open ourselves up to:

  • Listen more
  • Understand better
  • Connect deeper

We become less reactive and more responsive. We shift from mindlessly chasing external validation to mindfully creating a meaningful impact.

This transformation isn’t easy, but it’s a journey worth embarking on. And it’s a journey I delve into in my book – “Hidden Secrets of Buddhism: How To Live With Maximum Impact and Minimum Ego“.

In the book, I explore this concept in depth and share practical strategies to harness the wisdom of Buddhism for a fulfilling life. So if you’re interested in diving deeper into this idea, I’d recommend giving it a read.

Remember, the goal isn’t to completely dissolve our ego – that’s an integral part of who we are. It’s about not letting our ego control us so that we can live with authenticity, compassion, and purpose.

6) Practice gratitude

In a world that constantly pushes us to want more, it’s easy to overlook what we already have. And that’s where the practice of gratitude comes in.

Gratitude, both in Buddhism and mindfulness teachings, is about appreciating the abundance that already exists in our lives. It’s about shifting our focus from what we lack to what we have.

The power of gratitude lies in its ability to ground us in the present moment.

When we’re grateful, we’re not yearning for something different or better. We’re acknowledging and appreciating what is, right here and right now.

And the beauty of this practice is that there’s always something to be grateful for:

  • A warm cup of coffee
  • A good book
  • A heartfelt conversation with a loved one

It’s about finding joy and contentment in these simple moments.

Gratitude isn’t just a feel-good practice. It’s a powerful shift in perspective that can significantly enhance our levels of happiness and well-being.

So, why not take a moment each day to appreciate the abundance that life has to offer? It might just transform your life in ways you never imagined.

7) Embrace impermanence

One of the fundamental teachings of Buddhism is the concept of impermanence. It’s a principle that can be unsettling to contemplate, but it’s also a powerful catalyst for growth and happiness.

Impermanence implies that everything in life – our experiences, relationships, possessions, even our own selves – is constantly changing and evolving. Nothing remains static.

While this might sound scary, it’s also incredibly liberating. It means that no matter how difficult a situation is, it’s not permanent. It will change.

The mindfulness expert and author, Jon Kabat-Zinn, beautifully articulates this when he says, “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.” It’s about learning to navigate the ever-changing waves of life with grace and resilience.

Embracing impermanence allows us to live more fully in the present moment.

  • It helps us let go of our fears and anxieties about the future and our regrets about the past.
  • It’s reminds us to cherish each moment because it’s unique and won’t come again
  • It’s a call to live not in constant anticipation of what’s next but in mindful appreciation of what is

8) Practice non-doing

Now, this might sound counterintuitive in our fast-paced world that values productivity above all else.

But stick with me on this one.

In mindfulness, there’s a concept known as ‘non-doing‘.

It’s not about being lazy or unproductive. Instead, it’s about intentionally taking time to just be, without the constant need to do something.

Our lives are often so packed with tasks and to-dos that we forget to take a pause. We’re constantly in a state of doing – working, planning, worrying, scrolling through social media.

This relentless busyness can leave us feeling drained and disconnected from ourselves.

But when we practice non-doing, we give ourselves permission to simply exist. To breathe. To observe our surroundings or our thoughts without the need to change anything or achieve something.

This might feel uncomfortable at first, especially if you’re used to being constantly on the go.

But over time, you’ll find that these moments of stillness can bring a sense of peace and clarity that’s hard to find in the midst of busyness.

So, give it a try.

Allow yourself some moments of non-doing each day. It’s not about wasting time, but rather about creating space for your mind to rest and rejuvenate.

After all, sometimes doing nothing is the most productive thing you can do.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, the path to happiness isn’t about chasing fleeting pleasures, but about cultivating a mindset of mindfulness, compassion, acceptance, and gratitude.

It’s about learning to navigate the waves of life with grace and resilience, cherishing each moment for its unique beauty.

Remember, these are not quick fixes but daily practices that can transform your life over time. And while it may seem challenging at first, every small step you take brings you closer to a life of deeper joy and contentment.

To delve deeper into these principles and learn practical strategies for incorporating them into your daily life, I invite you to read my book – “Hidden Secrets of Buddhism: How To Live With Maximum Impact and Minimum Ego“.

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Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 15 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. Check out my latest book on the Hidden Secrets of Buddhism and How it Saved My Life. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook or Twitter.

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