How do I make myself happy?

I pondered this question throughout my mid-30s… a time when debilitating neck pain was par for the course. 

I can vividly remember startling awake in the middle of the night, feeling like someone had driven a knife through my upper back. With pain radiating to my fingertips, I’d add another tick to my long ledger of sleepless nights.

Maybe you can relate to my experience with chronic pain

…the soul-crushing impact it has on your mood, emotions, and mental health. 

Perhaps you, too, have felt the unbearable agony that occurs when you cannot perform the activities that bring you joy and purpose

Man sitting in agony on brown leather chair

Or, perhaps, there’s an entirely different reason why you’re pondering, How do I make myself happy

I won’t pretend to know all the answers to this nuanced question, but here’s what I do know:

I believe with every fiber of my being that each of us is extraordinary and exists here on earth to fulfill a unique purpose…

that you deserve to live a happy, abundant, joy-filled life. 

So, what’s the secret?

The answer to being happier lies in the power of yoga. 

It’s true: yoga is a path to true, unwavering happiness. 

In this article, we’ll explore how yoga can help you find lasting happiness. I’ll also share some of my top tools for addressing how to be happy daily. Let’s get started.

Author’s note: The following tips are not intended to replace professional mental health support. If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988.

How Do I Make Myself Happy? The True Purpose of Yoga:

We all want happiness, and yoga is the way for that much-needed happiness factor in life.” — Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Yogi Aaron smiling in warrior 2

Let’s start with a simple truth: yoga is not about flexibility or stretching

Contrary to popular belief, there is no mention of the word stretching in yogic literature. 

So, what is the goal of yoga? 

To help us remove suffering from our lives so we can ultimately manifest and live our life’s purpose.

Historically, yoga was a tool to turn inwards. It helped people become aware of their physical body as well as their mental, emotional, and spiritual states. In other words, when practiced in its purest intention, yoga informs us of what our body and mind need. 

When we are weighed down by pain and unhappiness, our mind has heaviness and confusion. Yoga helps us to remove this suffering so we can begin to experience clarity — to tap into our inner teacher to discover what truly matters. 

Even in life’s most catastrophic moments, yoga can help you create a stronger connection to your authentic self — it can free you from anguish so that you can finally find the deep-rooted peace you desire. 

How Yoga Can Make You Happier

What would your life look like if you experienced more joy and happiness? What passions would you pursue? What travels would you take? How would you show up for your family, friends, and, most importantly, yourself? 

Imagine the following scenario for a sec:

Your alarm goes off. Sunlight drips across your bedroom floor. You throw on your walking shoes and head outdoors for a brisk walk around your neighborhood. You immediately realize how good you feel in your body. 

As you continue to move, you build up endorphins. You generate fresh ideas and new perspectives. Your body feels better, so your mind is at ease. Suddenly, you have more energy for the things that matter: more inspiration and motivation to tap into your life’s purpose

Eventually, you discover sattva, a state of harmony, balance, and joy — an upward flow toward the light — the desired state all yogis aspire to find.

Yogi Aaron on the beach embracing a happy life

This is what yoga is all about: finding your inner light to achieve inner peace and rediscovering your soul’s calling. 

Notice I didn’t mention handstands or inversions are the answer to how I make myself happy…

That’s because flexibility doesn’t make you happy — and it definitely doesn’t make you a good yogi!

3 Questions To Ask When Wondering: How Do I Make Myself Happy

Every time I think I’ve got things figured out — that I’ve hacked the secret to happiness — life throws me a curve ball.

There is no such thing as “I got this.” There is only returning to yoga and recommitting to the practice so we can ride the undulating waves of life with peace and gratitude.

But that’s one of the beautiful things about yoga: it gives you the tools to fill your life with true meaning and happiness. 

Next time you’re feeling overwhelmed or confused or questioning, How do I find self-happiness, try these three simple exercises:

1. Commit To Sitting

Do nothing more, nothing less. Start with sitting for five minutes and work your way up to twenty. While you are sitting, you are not meditating. Just take this time to observe the contents of your mind without becoming anxious or disturbed. 

As you sit, become very still. Resolve not to move a muscle. Cultivate a smooth and deep noiseless breath. 

Once you feel that your breathing is fluid, observe your thoughts without adding any judgments. See these thoughts as ocean waves that rise and descend. 

This powerful exercise will, over time, help you identify the root thought causing your unhappiness. 

Yogi Aaron in crossed legged seated position meditating in nature setting

2. Question Your Beliefs

A few simple questions can help us identify our belief structures. It is not about changing these beliefs (at least not yet) but becoming aware of them: 

  • What judgments and attitudes do I hold dear?
  • What beliefs am I clinging to, even if they no longer serve me?

3. Question Your Identity

Ask yourself, Who am I? This is a simple yet powerful question. 

Like our beliefs, we all cling to specific identities. However, those identities are not the essence of who we are. At your core, there is no pain or suffering. 

You are a being beyond words — beyond qualities like love and joy (both of which are positive identifications, yet identifications no less.)

How To Be Happier: 5 Tips To Practice Everyday

We’ve talked about the true purpose of yoga — to help you tap into unwavering happiness — and reviewed three simple exercises to practice any time you need to swap overwhelm and anxiety for joy and peace.

Now, let’s explore five daily practices to help you live a happier life. Try one (or all of them!) next time you ponder how do I make myself happy.

1. Live in gratitude 

There’s a famous quote by Neale Donald Walsh: The struggle ends when gratitude begins. I couldn’t agree more. 

When we practice gratitude, we change our lives. That’s because we begin to tune into the abundance of our natural, ever-present state; we know we will never be without what we need. 

When we know we’re never going to be without, we have no more fear. And without fear? Well, we can begin to energize ourselves towards our greater purpose in life, which leads to true happiness. 

Two women on beach grateful and happy

2. Practice self-care

Don’t think you have time to practice self-care? Even five minutes a day for mental, emotional, and physical well-being can do wonders for your state of mind and happiness. 

So, go outside for a brisk walk. Call a friend. Light a candle and make your favorite meal. There are hundreds of ways you can prioritize self-care in your daily routine. You’re worth it. 

3. Forgive others and yourself

Next on our list of how to make myself happy is forgiveness. 

In yoga, the practice of Vairagya (non-attachment) is learning to let go of anything that prevents us from identifying with our true selves. In this practice, we learn to release our aversions, false identities, anger, hatred, jealousy, and fears — we learn to forgive. 

Forgiveness liberates you from pain so you can return to your joyful state. I know it’s not easy, but it is possible

4. Prioritize your health

In 2016, over 50 million Americans (roughly 20 percent) reported chronic pain.

Why do so many of us live in pain—and to what extent does suffering keep us from embracing life’s wondrous possibilities?

One thing is clear: our obsession with stretching is causing unnecessary, catastrophic pain and injury. When it comes to how do I make myself happy, it’s time to stop the flexibility madness.

This brings us to the purpose of Applied Yoga Anatomy and Muscle Activation™: to dramatically reduce (and in many cases eliminate) physical pain so we can free up life-altering energy. 

In doing so, we can begin to tap into our true purpose and rediscover the immense joy and meaning that accompanies a pain-free life.

Don’t wait until your body’s breaking point. Prioritize your health, and you will live a happier life. 

Yogi Aaron in Upward Facing Dog Yoga Pose

5. Breathe!

Yoga begins with the breath. In fact, some yogis say that breath is the gateway to consciousness — it can rewire the very essence of who we are. 

I think that’s worth paying attention to if we’re asking how to make ourselves happy…

Yoga scriptures describe the mind and breath as mirrors of each other, meaning that one influences the other. When our minds are active and busy, our breath is shallow. If we can slow down our breathing, our minds will start to become quiet. 

By gaining control of our breath, we can increase our feelings of stability, confidence, peace, and happiness.

To Sum Up How Do I Make Myself Happy:

You are extraordinary, here on earth to fulfill a unique purpose — and that purpose is not to suffer. Your pain might be a part of your story, but it does not need to define it. 

I know it’s unsettling to walk away from our identities. I also know there is profound power in rewriting our narratives, especially when it’s intimidating and uncomfortable. 

Remember, you deserve to be happy. The tips outlined in this article are an excellent place to start. And if you’re ready for more, it would be my honor to support you. 

For over 30 years, I’ve helped people from around the globe eliminate their pain so they can truly step into their greatest potential and live their life purposefully. 

Learn more about the ways you can work with me.

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