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Finding happiness in life can seem like an impossible task, especially in a world where everything seems more and more difficult. But it's not impossible - not even close. It's within your power to be happy today.
The secret lies in work but not working toward a specific thing.
How many times have you told yourself, "I will be happy when I get the job of my dreams"? Or "I will be happy when I can finally get him to commit"?
According to Arthur Brooks in a talk about the secret to happiness, 40 percent of people's happiness comes from life-changing events, such as getting married or landing a dream job. However, he also states that kind of happiness isn't long-lasting. On average it will only last six months.
The secret to happiness is working to create successful habits in your everyday life. Working a little harder in these four specific areas can change your life for the better:
1. Strengthen your faith
Strengthening your faith takes work. Waiting around and looking at the sky isn't going to give you strong enough faith to find happiness. It takes effort, by creating some simple everyday habits.
These habits include daily prayer and Bible study, as well as meditating on the things you learn and the answers you receive. It also includes going to church and learning from others. The more daily effort you put into growing your faith the happier your life will be.
In an article by W. Bradford Wilcox about religion, he explains that recent research shows people who are actively pursuing their faith are 10 percent more likely to say they are "very happy" in their marriages and in their lives.
Work to build your faith, and you will slowly recognize how much happier you are.
2. Make your marriage your top priority
Your spouse is your No. 1 priority. He or she should be at the forefront of all your thoughts and actions. Having a happy marriage takes work. Arguments always arise and something will always annoy you. Communicate with your spouse and work through your issues together. Take her on dates. Tell him how much you appreciate him. Make a daily effort to fall in love with your spouse every day. Then the old saying will ring true: "Happy marriage, happy life."
Serving others is the fastest way to bring happiness into your life. The challenge comes with constant service. It takes consistent service to have a lasting impact.
Set aside one hour a week to serve others. It can be as simple as helping your elderly neighbor do her grocery shopping, volunteering at a local food bank or writing get-well cards for children who are sick in the hospital.
If you consistently give one hour a week you will gradually see an improvement in your life and your happiness.
4. Find a job you love
Find a job that allows you to create value in your life and value in the lives of others. This will bring you the greatest amount of happiness, not the amount of money you earn.
In the same talk by Brooks, he says money only creates happiness for those who live below the poverty line. For those who are financially stable, happiness is not found in money but in earning success or creating a benefit in your life and the lives of others.
When looking for a job, find a job that you can't wait to jump out of bed in the morning to go to. Work to create value for yourself and for others, and happiness will soon follow.
The secret to happiness lies in work. If you put in a little extra effort to create everyday habits that improve your faith, marriage, community and job, you will soon realize you are a happy person.
To learn more about how you can achieve happiness, check out the American Enterprise Institute on Facebook. It is an organization devoted to providing information so people can improve not just their lives and those of their families, but society as a whole.