This is the wellspring of happiness, renewable and everlasting. We often think that being loved is the best feeling in the world, but it’s the second best. The best is loving someone else. Love is the polar opposite of fear, emotionally and neurologically. Thus, it is the antidote to fear and the first step toward happiness.
Optimism provides power over painful events. Optimism is realizing that the more painful the event, the more profound the lesson. Once you bring this knowledge into your heart, you can never again look at any event as all bad. Optimism gives you power over fear of the future and over regret for the past.
This is your strongest weapon for overcoming the split-second power of fear. You can’t rise above fear without courage, because fear is hardwired into your neural circuitry. If fear is eternally programmed into your brain, though, so is courage. It comes from the neocortex and is a product of the spirit, the intellect, and the higher emotions of love and generosity. It is nature’s natural balance for the fear that has helped us survive. It’s the quality that allows us to thrive.
4. A sense of freedom.
Nothing fills the soul like freedom. Freedom is choice, and choice is what makes us human. When we choose, we define who we are. Everyone has the power to make choices, but unhappy people don’t know they have it. They think it’s only for the rich. It’s not. I’ve met a thousand rich people who didn’t feel free. Choice is available to anyone who has the courage to exercise it.
Happy people participate in their own destinies and forge their own happiness. They don’t wait for events or other people to make them happy. They’re not passive victims.
Happy people know that nothing, over time, lasts – not money, not approval, not even life itself. So they don’t measure security with a calendar or a calculator. They simply like who they are. They’re not slaves to popularity, longevity, or financial status. They know that security is an inside job.
Happiness and health are interdependent. It’s hard to be happy if you don’t feel healthy, and it’s hard to be healthy if you’re not happy. Of special importance for happiness is healthy mood chemistry. You can have a happy life and not even know it if you’re tortured by faulty mood chemistry. An imbalance of the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, for example, can mask the happiness that lies beneath it.
Happy people aren’t afraid to go beyond the boundaries of their own lives. They let go, and welcome extraordinary experiences. They have markedly less fear of death. They’re not concerned about dying – they’re concerned about not living.