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Kristen Houghton

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The 5 Essentials You Need for Happiness

Posted: 10/13/10 03:22 PM ET

Happiness is subjective; what makes one person happy won't necessarily make another one feel the same. But even being subjective in defining our individual criteria for happiness, there are still some basic essentials we all need to live a happy life.

Health in 3 Forms
This is a universally accepted essential. Your health is the most important component of happiness. It isn't just physical health that is required for happiness but mental and emotional as well. Without these three forms of health, your chances of happiness dwindle. You are surviving and not living. Keeping yourself healthy in all ways is essential. Make every effort to take care of yourself physically, mentally and emotionally. Good health is a priceless commodity.

Money
Money is probably one of the most debated essentials for happiness. We have all heard, ad nauseum, the repeated saying that money doesn't buy you happiness. It's usually said by the very people who seem to have made a very happy life for themselves by having a great deal of money!

You don't have to be a billionaire to be happy, but a certain amount of money does help you to have a more positive outlook on life in general. It offers you a safety net. You don't have to worry about not being able to meet your mortgage payments or losing your home, not having money to repair your car and not feeling desperate when a small financial crisis hits.

Certainly, having enough money to be able to take care of yourself and those you love is an added security.

Money itself isn't evil, and it is an essential. It can buy you time to pursue goals and dreams, and there is also nothing wrong with living a certain lifestyle that adds to your happiness quotient.

Relationships
You don't need 50 BFFs to make your life happy nor do you necessarily have to join all the online social networks. What you need is people in your life who care about you and vice-versa. People with whom you can laugh, cry, hug, touch, kiss and share life. Statistics have always shown the positive benefits of having healthy relationships in life whether it is with friends or in a romantic partnership. We can include our pets in this essential since they are companions whose love for us is unconditional.

Contentment at Work
Note the word contentment. You don't have to love your job but you have to derive a certain level of satisfaction from what you do, and a feeling of enjoyment during most of the work-day. Will you have days of frustration? Absolutely! But on the whole your job should be more than just a paycheck to you.

If you are in a job that you truly hate, (and we have all had that experience at one time or another), make solid plans for leaving. Keep looking for the job you really want, be prepared for opportunity and stay as positive as you can. Find a 'bit of heaven in your hell' and know that this is temporary. Life changes, it only stagnates if you give up.

Love and Accept Yourself
Self-love gets a lot of bad press because it keeps getting confused with the word selfish. There's a world of separation between the two words. Love and acceptance of self is a key essential for true happiness. If you are accepting of who you are, warts and all, you are on the road to a happy life. This doesn't mean that you won't want to make changes in your life, it simply means that you know who you are, know your strengths as well as your weaknesses, and want to do what will best suit you to live successfully and happily.

The right to happiness is a basic one. You deserve to be happy simply because you are alive. The idea of what constitutes a happy life, however, differs from person to person; we are, after all, individuals. But the five essentials of health, money, relationships, contentment at work and self acceptance form the basis for creating happiness for yourself.

Try putting them into practice and see what changes they bring to your life.

To read more from Kristen Houghton, peruse her articles at Kristen Houghton.com and visit her Keys to Happiness blog.
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