The art of happiness: 8 simple ways to live a happy life

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Happiness. We all crave it, yet many of us struggle to truly find it. Living a happy life seems to be an art in and of itself.

Hi, I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder of Hack Spirit and a mindfulness enthuasist. I have spent years studying and practicing the art of happiness.

And believe me, it’s simpler than you think. It’s not about grand gestures or life-altering changes. It’s about appreciating the small things and adopting simple habits.

In this article, I’ll be sharing 8 simple ways to live a happy life, all based on my own experiences and understanding of Buddhist principles.

Let’s get started. 

1) Mindfulness in action

One of the most profound lessons I’ve learned in my years as a mindfulness practitioner is the power of living in the moment.

Often, our minds are cluttered with thoughts about the past and worries about the future. We’re rarely present in our own lives. And this constant distraction can rob us of our happiness.

The practice of mindfulness essentially involves being fully engaged in whatever we’re doing at any given moment. It’s about appreciating the here and now.

Think about it. When you’re eating a meal, are you really tasting it or are you thinking about what you’re going to do next? When you’re listening to music, are you really hearing it or are your thoughts elsewhere?

By learning to be present, we can start to experience life more fully. And that, in itself, is a source of great happiness.

So how do you start? It’s simple. Begin by taking a few moments each day to focus on your breath. Feel it entering and leaving your body. Pay attention to the sensations in your body.

Mindfulness isn’t about shutting out your thoughts. It’s about noticing them without judgement. Over time, this simple practice can lead to a deeper sense of joy and contentment.

Start today. Embrace mindfulness and let it guide you towards a happier life.

2) Embrace impermanence

Here’s a personal truth I’ve come to understand: nothing in life is permanent. And once we truly grasp this concept, we can start to view our lives from a different perspective.

In Buddhism, the concept of impermanence is a central theme. It’s the understanding that everything changes and nothing remains the same forever. This includes our thoughts, feelings, and experiences.

Embracing impermanence allows us to let go of our attachments, which often cause us suffering and prevent us from experiencing true happiness. Instead of clinging to things or people, we learn to appreciate them while they’re here and let them go when it’s time.

It’s not always easy. But it’s an essential part of living a happier life.

Thich Nhat Hanh, a renowned Buddhist monk and mindfulness expert, once said, “Thanks to impermanence, everything is possible.” When we accept that everything is transient, we open ourselves up to the potential for change and growth.

When you’re clinging to something or resisting change, remember that nothing is permanent. Let go, embrace the change, and see where it takes you.

3) Practice compassion

Compassion is at the heart of Buddhist teachings. It’s the deep awareness of the suffering of others and the genuine desire to alleviate it.

But here’s the raw, honest truth: practicing compassion isn’t always easy. We live in a world where it can feel easier to turn a blind eye to the suffering around us. Or even worse, we might find ourselves contributing to it.

But compassion is a critical component of a happy life. When we open our hearts and show kindness to others, we also open ourselves up to receiving love and happiness in return.

This doesn’t mean we need to be perfect. We’re all human, after all. But it does mean making a conscious effort to be kinder and more understanding of others – even when it’s hard.

The Buddha once said, “Just as a mother would protect her only child with her life, even so let one cultivate a boundless love towards all beings.”

Let’s strive to be compassionate in our daily lives. Let’s show kindness to others, let’s practice empathy and let’s work towards creating a happier world for all of us.

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4) Let go of judgement

We all judge. We judge others. We judge ourselves. We even judge our judgements. And it’s exhausting.

Here’s the raw truth: judgement rarely serves us. It separates us from others, fosters negativity, and blocks our path to happiness.

Mindfulness teaches us to observe without judgement – to be present and accept things as they are, not as we wish them to be.

When we let go of our judgements, we start to see the world differently. We become more accepting of others, and more importantly, of ourselves.

The mindfulness expert Jon Kabat-Zinn once said, “Judging gets in the way of understanding… let go of your judging.”

When you find yourself passing judgement, catch yourself. Take a deep breath, let go of your preconceived notions, and just be. It’s not easy, but it’s a step towards living a happier life.

5) Live with maximum impact and minimum ego

Here’s a bit of personal insight from my journey: true happiness comes when we let go of our ego and strive to make a positive impact in the world.

This is a concept I delve into deeply in my book, Hidden Secrets of Buddhism: How To Live With Maximum Impact and Minimum Ego. The idea is to shift our focus from self-centeredness to compassion and contribution.

Ego can often be our greatest barrier to happiness. It makes us defensive, it makes us compare ourselves with others, it holds us back from being truly present.

But when we let go of our ego, we free ourselves to experience life in a more meaningful way. We’re able to connect more deeply with others, contribute positively to the world around us, and find a sense of fulfillment that ego-driven pursuits can never match.

If you’re interested in exploring this concept further, I invite you to check out my book here. It’s a deep dive into the teachings of Buddhism and how they can help us live happier, more impactful lives.

6) Acceptance is key

In our quest for happiness, it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of resistance. We resist change, we resist discomfort, we even resist our own feelings sometimes. But this resistance only leads to suffering.

Here’s the raw and honest truth: acceptance is key to a happy life. This is a fundamental tenet in both Buddhism and mindfulness practice.

Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation or passivity. It simply means acknowledging reality as it is, without trying to change or deny it.

When we face our fears, embrace our feelings, and accept our circumstances, we can start to navigate life with more grace and ease. We can let go of the struggle and find peace in the present moment.

As the mindfulness teacher Tara Brach often says, “The moment we believe something is wrong, our world shrinks.”

Let’s broaden our worlds. Let’s practice acceptance and embrace life in all its messy, beautiful complexity.

7) Cultivate gratitude

Let’s be honest: it’s easy to focus on what’s wrong in our lives. The challenges, the setbacks, the things we wish were different. But this negative focus can rob us of our happiness.

The antidote? Gratitude.

Cultivating a sense of gratitude is a powerful way to shift our focus from lack to abundance. It’s about acknowledging the good in our lives and appreciating what we have.

And it doesn’t have to be about big things. Even small blessings – a warm cup of coffee, a smile from a stranger, the beauty of a sunset – can be sources of great joy.

Thich Nhat Hanh, the Buddhist monk I mentioned earlier, once said, “The miracle is not to walk on water. The miracle is to walk on the green earth, dwelling deeply in the present moment and feeling truly alive.”

Let’s make it a daily practice to count our blessings. Let’s cultivate an attitude of gratitude and watch how it transforms our perspective and elevates our happiness.

8) Embrace discomfort

Here’s a counterintuitive truth: embracing discomfort can lead to greater happiness.

In our quest for comfort, we often avoid situations that make us feel uneasy. But it’s through facing these uncomfortable situations that we grow and learn.

Mindfulness teaches us to sit with our discomfort, to observe it without judgement. It’s about experiencing our feelings fully, whether they’re pleasant or unpleasant.

When we avoid discomfort, we limit our experiences and hinder our growth. But when we embrace it, we open ourselves up to new possibilities and develop resilience.

So the next time you feel uncomfortable, don’t shy away from it. Lean into it. Observe it. Learn from it. It might just lead you to unexpected happiness.

Conclusion

Living a happy life isn’t about chasing fleeting moments of joy. It’s about cultivating mindfulness, embracing change, practicing compassion and gratitude, and learning to sit with discomfort.

Happiness is an inside job. It’s about how we choose to perceive and react to the world around us.

If you’re interested in diving deeper into these concepts, I invite you to check out my book, Hidden Secrets of Buddhism: How To Live With Maximum Impact and Minimum Ego. It’s a practical guide on how to apply the timeless wisdom of Buddhism to our modern lives for greater peace and happiness.

Remember, the art of happiness is within your reach. All it takes is a little practice and a lot of heart. Here’s to your journey towards a happier life.

You can find my book here. Happy reading!

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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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