4 Ways to Awaken to Happiness

Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” I certainly found that to be true in my own life. The more I focused on helping others, the more my depression retreated and the more my life—body, brain, and soul—got back into balance. It was another monumental shift in my life.

As I look back on that shift and ask myself why service has made such a difference in my overall sense of wellbeing, I’ve been able to break it down into a number of very powerful benefits. I first learned about something called the “Four A’s” in a Chopra Center seminar on how to “Awaken to Happiness.” In it we discussed the four things that all human beings really need to achieve happiness (or what I call bliss!). Those four things are:

Attention: To be listened to deeply by someone who is present and open to understanding our perspective, even when they don’t agree with us.
Appreciation: To be valued for what is unique about us and to have that value expressed by others.
Affection: To be cared about deeply and to have that caring expressed through words, touch, and/or actions.
Acceptance: To feel like we are being completely seen and accepted for who we are, warts and all.

Focusing on these four ways can make a big difference when we’re interacting with the people in our lives. Even if serving others isn’t a direct part of your job description or daily duties, even if you don’t have time to be a volunteer, everyone has relationships that they maintain at home, at work, and in their communities.

Enhancing the interactions you already have with the people in your life is an amazing way to serve. So many of us are on autopilot when we communicate much of the time, but if we make the effort to be a bit more intentional when we interact and focus on these four things that everyone wants and is searching for, then we really can improve our relationships and, in our own small way, make this world a better place to be.