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When I was a little girl and was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I usually answered “happy.” I wasn’t completely sure how I’d accomplish that, but I knew that if I achieved that feeling as my general state of mind, then most likely, my life would be fulfilling. Of course, at a young age, I wasn’t thinking that deeply; rather, I figured I’d most likely look like a woman from a chewing-gum ad, laughing and goofing around and inline skating at the beach with my group of friends.

Over the years, it’s become apparent that I have to seek out happiness — it’s a practice and a choice. Sure, one can live to day to day and perhaps feel like everything’s satisfactory, or maybe even great (the definition of “happiness” is different for everyone). But for me to feel real joy, I have to actually try: pepper in an activity that I love, watch a movie that makes me laugh, or sit and share a good story with Kyle (versus the usual check-in chats that are common for busy partners).

To aid in my quest for happiness, I jump to the Life Wisdom/Quality of Life section in the magazine and online. Between the articles, expert advice and meditations, it’s like free therapy. (I’m also loving Pinterest for keeping my favorite quotes all in one place. You can find my favorites from Experience Life, as well as other quotes that have inspired me here.)

Finding Authentic Joy

But I’m also on the hunt for other publications and bloggers who post about finding the authentic joie de vivre. Today, I came across a slideshow on the Huffington Post Healthy Living page all about the pursuit of this idillyic mentality, and it included a great quote from our columnist Brian Johnson, founder of en*theos:

“If we want happiness, I think we should follow classic Greek wisdom and live with areté. The word directly translates as ‘excellence’ or ‘virtue,’ but has a deeper meaning — something closer to ‘expressing the highest version of ourselves.’ When we’re showing up fully moment to moment, there’s no room for regret/anxiety/disillusionment, just a whole lot of happiness. Here’s to getting our areté on!” —Brian Johnson

Brian’s PhilosophersNotes explore and digest key concepts from the best of the so-called self-help books (ideas on optimizing your life), and we’ve excerpted those for you in our regular Big Ideas series. That’s right: an excerpt of an excerpt, so it’s accessible to even the busiest of us!

Any time, any day is a good point at which to consider how to be happier, but I’ve found it particularly helpful to my sanity as I continue to lose weight. If you are going through a big life change, surround yourself with positive quotes, books, podcasts and people to give you a boost when or if you start to feel doubts or dread in the process. You’ll be that much closer to your happiest life!

vase of tulips

Get actionable tips in “5 Ways to Practice Happiness” from our archives.

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