Happiness is a perception that is subject to how one sees life, how one interprets their circumstances. Brain research essentially shows we create our reality by assigning the meaning to our lives. Research shows that our ability to create and manage positive emotions is one of the foundations for success (and happiness) in business and life.

Whether or not we are happy is often not so much about what we do or how much money or association we have, as it is about the level of self-awareness we have to engage our mind and heart in our activity. While there are studies that connect happiness with better health, meaningful relationships, and meaningful work, the key is ‘meaningful’. What does it mean to you?

Judging how materialistic our society is and how little attention is given by our educational system to develop the unique talents and interests of individuals, we still believe that happiness is outside of ourselves. We continue to look for love in all the wrong places. We still believe that we can ‘do’ happiness, or ‘get’ happiness through more stuff.

Business and material success do not necessarily make us happy. If they did, Americans should be some of the happiest people in the world. Polls have actually shown quite the contrary, and we have frighteningly high rates of depression, obesity, debt, and disease despite high-income levels. The answer lies in realizing that the path to happiness is an inner journey.

It’s not that having things is bad; it just that when we associate our identity with them, they have us – and we get stuck.

When we can truly love and compassionately accept who we are, independently of what we do, then we can be more joyful and fulfilled as we do our work in the world. The happier and more at peace we are, the more likely we will be prosperous and healthy. Our choices are more likely to be made with clarity and less effort and hard work (“hard” is mostly due to resistance, versus “flow”). When we recognize that our minds are conditioned to focus on what we fear or don’t want, we can learn to retrain our brain to change our focus of attention.

Of course, we have to slow down enough to reflect on what we really do want. Yet the benefits are well worth the effort. Will power in this time of change is about using your will to slow down and break the habit of being too busy, with little real productivity. Most people are going nowhere fast. They are spending time on social media without clarity of purpose, and not even necessarily being social. It’s just another thing to do.

In short, happiness is only sustainable when we make time to learn how to cultivate positive emotion instead of fear, slow down to reflect and reconnect to our spirit, and get in touch with our True Self to discover what business/work is purposeful for us. Then we are more likely to have better business and health. At the root of this is our relationship to self and our sense of connection to the whole of life.

This is the foundation for all that we do in life when we are living on purpose and not simply frantically working like a doing machine. Is your happiness sustainable, coming from inside out, or is it tossed to and fro by circumstances? What do you think about creating a life that flourishes instead of flounders?

Author's Bio: 

Valencia Ray, M.D. teaches business owners and corporate leaders how their amazing brain can actually hijack personal power -- not in the abstract, but in the context of integrating business and personal life. Dr. Ray, a board-certified eye surgeon and medical business owner for over 20 years before selling her practice, shares her own life changing process. By sharing her story, she helps others to expand their vision and learn that by living with purpose and confidence, it is possible to have a more integrated, healthier lifestyle – with less struggle, more inner peace and more abundance.

For more information and to contact her regarding dynamic, inspirational keynotes, trainings in collaborative leadership and team building, entrepreneurship and coaching programs, visit her website at http://www.ValenciaRay.com