Happiness. Such an elusive goal, yet sought after by many. To be happy or lead a contented life can be different for everyone. For one, it may mean spending quality time with loved ones, feeling good about yourself or being wealthy. Irrespective of what happiness means to you, philosophers believe it is viable and that with just enough effort, living a happy life is actually within reach. The Dalai Lama says in an article published on his website that every sentient being that experiences pleasure or pain has a desire to be happy. There are many different levels of happiness because animals, including birds, insects and fish, do not have the brains that we have, he notes highlighting that their lives are entirely directed towards sensory experience. It’s what their survival depends on, which is why some animals have much sharper senses than we humans do. “We, on the other hand, have sophisticated language and thought, but that in itself doesn’t prevent our brains from sometimes creating trouble. Having too much expectation about the future or getting lost in musing about the past can bring us stress and anxiety. Our basic human nature is compassionate and warm-hearted because that’s the way our lives begin. Without love and affection we would not have survived,” he believes. Worry less about what the future holds and simply focus on the present. Photos/net. Therefore, we need to combine our natural intelligence with warm-heartedness. Warm-heartedness brings inner strength and self-confidence, it enables us to be honest and truthful so our conduct is transparent, which attracts trust and friendship. Our survival and our future depend on other human beings, who are our source of happiness. If I smile at this flower, it doesn’t respond. But if I smile at another human being, she or he generally smiles in return. Without showing a warm-hearted concern for others we can’t be happy, he notes. Counselor Jessica Kayitesi agrees with this noting that for one to be happy, they have to lead their lives with love. “Love towards themselves and others too, but most importantly love their creator because He is the only source of love, light and hope.” One of the biggest reasons of leading an unfulfilling life is being selfish. “When all you think about is you and what you want, finding happiness will always be elusive,” Kayitesi says. “Reach out to others and be there for them. When we focus on our lives solely, it is easy to wallow ourselves in self-pity. What we don’t know is that being there for others, loving them and showing them compassion has a way of reciprocating the love for us too. I would say, one who wants to lead a happy life has to live selflessly,” she notes. William Ngabo an entrepreneur notes that he has come to realise that most of the time, what people think or define as happiness is not it. “We think if we make enough money, marry a beautiful wife or own a big car, then we will be happy. Guess what, you get those things and the next thing you know, you want more. Chasing material things makes happiness even more elusive,” he says. Ngabo hence believes one of the ways one can actually lead a happy life is having a positive mind-set. “Our mentality towards life, especially people matters a lot. If you complain almost about anything, nothing then will make you happy. But seeing positivity in life helps in maintaining a happy attitude. I know this is hard, but it’s not harder than the stress that comes with bad energy,” he says. Ngabo also recommends avoiding too much stress thinking about things one doesn’t have control over. “Do your best to focus your energy on the things you have control over. Worry less about what the future holds and simply focus on the present. Do what you have to do and let tomorrow worry about itself.” An article, ‘Remarkably Powerful Keys to Happiness and Success (According to Science)’ indicates that very often, people focus on maintaining goal-oriented happiness: They think that they will achieve joy after completing something, rather than finding joy in the journey itself. In reality, whats much more effective and more enjoyable in the process-is simply finding happiness first, and then focusing on completing your goal second. Dont get stressed thinking about things you have to do later on. Simply focus on what is at hand in the moment, and tackle whatever you need to do now. You will be significantly less worried but also more effective, the article indicates. It goes on to read that it is also important to find resilience. The scariest times are not when we are overwhelmed or stressed, they are when we cant come back from our moments of feeling like we are drowning. Teach your brain to be able to bounce back from strenuous situations, and reduce your overdrive.