I have heard a lot of questions and discussions about the one thing that leads to happiness. Everyone wants to know, “What is the one secret?” Even happiness research focuses on one skill or activity at a time, because researchers need to isolate a variable in order to find clear answers about causality.
Is it possible we are complicating the problem by attempting to over-simplify. A single happiness secret seems like it would be easier, but it may result in us missing the wonderfully unique facets and variations of happiness. The happiest individuals, organizations, and even countries do not look alike; while they may have some similarities to one another, they are unique in how they experience and express happiness.
Based on the research we have seen, happiness might be compared to homemade soup. It has a basic set of ingredients, but they can be mixed in thousands of different variations to suit the taste of the individual.
Happiness Soup Recipe
- Relationships – start with a base of relationships. Create and nurture positive relationships with the most important people in your life. Own the success of the relationship and share your closest feelings and authentic self. Relationships will form a strong base to which other ingredients can be added.
- Strengths – These are kind of like the vegetables in your soup. They make it hardy and unique. Everyone brings their own combination of vegetables and strengths and everyone uses them in different ways. The key is to not get carried away and forget about them. You need to know what they are and find every opportunity to use them.
- Health – Eating right, getting enough sleep, and exercising is like a seasoning. It adds zest and energy to the soup. Without health, your soup would be bland and unappealing. By taking care of your health and doing the right things in the right amounts, your soup always has a lively and interesting flavor.
- Caring and Kindness – Do kind things and give to others. It is like salt and pepper in the soup. It adds a little more flavor. You mix in different amounts on different days.
- Purpose – With purpose, some people add a lot and some people add a little. You probably start with a little when you are younger and add more as you get older and discover more about yourself. It gives the soup character and direction. Just like your life, it is what unites the soup and brings it all together.
- Positive Mindset – Positive mindset is the heat you can turn up or down to cook your soup. The more positively you think, the hotter the soup gets and the better the ingredients mix together to form that wonderful flavor. On days when you have a less positive mindset, you have to eat your happiness soup a little cold. But once you turn it back up, you can feel the warmth and satisfaction as your soup lights up all the right taste buds at once.
Since this is homemade soup, we don’t use preservatives. Sometimes you can set aside enough to get you through the rough days, but mostly you have to make it and mix it every day. When you are running low, your friends and neighbors will offer you a little of their happiness soup. But eventually you have wake one morning and start making your own again. The ingredients and flavors change as our lives change, but if we practice every day, we can always create wonderful new flavors of happiness soup.