by Julie Watson, INALJ Pennsylvania Head Editor
How to Be Happy
No, “happy” is not a word often associated with job-seekers.
Do you dream of the day when you land your dream job (or let’s face it, any job)? That will be the day you’re happy, right?
Wrong. Research shows that the path to happiness is not accumulating wealth or possessions, finding the perfect mate, sculpting the “ideal” body, or landing that dream job. These things may make you temporarily happy (elated even!), but they will not bring you lasting happiness.
So what will?
There are plenty of books, magazine and journal articles, blog postings, and internet videos dedicated to the pursuit of happiness. Science, spirituality, and popular culture all have things to say about it. I want to share what works for me.
This time of year, we set aside a few days to give thanks. This is not enough! Gratitude, when approached as a daily practice can bring a pervading sense of happiness. For 40 days, take a few moments each day to record what you are thankful for. Usually for me, it’s the simple things: a sunny afternoon walk, my dog wagging her tail when I return home, a great conversation with a friend, a wonderful meal. There are many ways to practice gratitude. You can write in a journal, make a gratitude jar, or use social media (see link below for more ideas). At the end of 40 days, you’ll find yourself automatically appreciating what you have (instead of feeling burdened by what you lack), and you’ll feel a greater overall sense of happiness. It may be a subtle change at first. Keep with the intention of gratitude and over time you’ll see how powerful its effect can be.
In your gratitude practice, remember to include things related to your job search. Even if you’ve had no job offers, there are little successes along the way. Interviews, positive feedback, support from others, even acknowledgement that your application was received can become beacons of light leading you towards happiness in the here and now.
Gratitude practice ideas: 10 simple gratitude projects
More on Gratitude and happiness from the Wall Street Journal: Thank You. No, Thank You.