5 Powerful Practices for Growing Happiness

Discover the pursuit of happiness.



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What’s the secret to happiness? Although that answer won’t be the same for everyone, you can follow daily practices to cultivate joy from within. You can find inner peace through movement, meditation, and morning rituals. These five powerful practices may help you cultivate happiness and joy.

Letting go
The first step in cultivating happiness begins with releasing that which no longer serves you. Negative thoughts, habits, and toxic relationships may hold you back from discovering true joy. 

They may not be apparent, but they are obstacles nonetheless. The Thich Nhat Hanh Foundation suggests that letting go, and releasing attachment, will ultimately set you free and create space to discover true happiness within. This foundation believes in the concept of ‘releasing your cows’, identifying and letting go of things that you think bring you happiness yet actually cause pain.

Some people believe they have found true happiness when they get that promotion, buy that dream house, or find that special someone. Yet, within a few years, they may find themselves back at baseline or suffering, a prime example of how external attachments don’t provide lasting fulfillment. 

Taking the first step towards happiness begins with letting go. Start by observing the people or situations in your life. Ask yourself, “What do you need to release?”

Establishing a morning ritual
Waking up that little bit earlier and practicing your morning routine can guide you towards happiness and success. A great morning results in a great day, and how you choose to spend those early hours will set the tone for the rest of the day. 

By establishing a morning ritual that lights you up, you’ll look forward to rising each day and doing the things that make you feel good, putting a smile on your face. Take time to indulge in pleasurable rituals every day. Everyone’s morning routine will look different, but elements you can include are mindful movement, gratitude journaling, and loving-kindness meditation. A combination of these can elevate your mornings, which will influence your day. 

Mindful Eating
Good, wholesome food can bring joy into your days if you choose to practice mindful eatingThere is no doubt that your food choices affect your overall physical health. However, some foods can also affect your mood. As the old saying goes, you really are what you eat!

Research published in Missouri Medicine shows that each food group influences your body differently. For example, serotonin  the feel-good hormone associated with happiness –  is released when you consume carbohydrates, and a protein-rich diet increases concentration and energy by releasing dopamine and norepinephrine.
Furthermore, being mindful when eating can also bring happiness as you become present in the moment and focus on joy. Why not give it a go next time you cook a meal?

Emotion is energy in motion. By discovering a form of movement that you love, not only will you naturally feel uplifted, but you are physically moving stagnant energy around the body that creates joy and happiness. It’s a win-win, really. 

Martial arts, in particular, is a great way to boost your mood. A study published in Frontiers in Psychology suggests that  this form of movement releases dopamine (another feel-good hormone). 

Martial Arts can promote balance and enhance psychological well-being. A happy mind can guide you towards a happy life, according to Web MD. Martial arts methods include Judo, Tai Chi, Karate, Kung Fu, and Muay Thai. These practices all fall under the martial arts umbrella, yet each has unique benefits. 

Live in the Now
Paramhansa Yogananda, the first yoga master of India to permanently live and teach in the west, shared his wisdom with the world on how to live in the eternal present. According to a  blog on Ananda,Yogananda taught that  the secret of happiness is to live fully in the here and now, and it’s all about embracing the present moment.

Most people can’t focus on living in the present and often let fears and desires hold them back. That’s where living in the now comes to light. If you want to discover true happiness and joy, then in each moment, try to embrace eternal presence to achieve inner peace and freedom. Set aside time each day to practice mindfulness. It will train you to focus on the present moment and live in the now. 

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