Have you thought “Why can’t I just be happy?” If so the answer may be staring you right in that mirror. We all have it within us to be happy, but often we get so caught up in everyday life that we neglect important parts of ourselves that bring us contentment and even joy.
Happiness begins with understanding that we are multi-dimensional creatures operating on four distinct levels: physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual. When all four dimensions are working in harmony it is much easier to achieve a state of inner peace.
The Four Dimensions
The 4 Dimensions are equal in importance but impact our lives in very different ways. Learning the purpose and qualities of each helps you understand yourself and others more clearly and gives you insight into how you can improve your happiness quotient.
Health – Play – Pleasure
Tune in to how your body feels when you’re happy.
This dimension helps us experience life through our senses, body and the energy around us. Our health, appearance and ability to enjoy play, exhilaration and pleasure reside here. When we nurture our physical being we are better able to deal with health issues, body image, stress and various stages of life like child-rearing, career building, midlife and retirement. It’s also possible to build “happiness memory” just as you build muscle memory by being aware of how your body feels when you’re content and then making a conscious effort to recapture that feeling.
Practice quieting your mind each day, focusing on the moment
This dimension rules our minds and allows us to reason, apply logic, appreciate precision, quality and performance. It also allows us to learn, accumulate knowledge, make rational decisions and bring order to our lives. All of this is good, but many of us spend too much time in our intellectual being. Thinking about work, planning or thinking about the past and the future can overwhelm us. When this happens it’s hard to appreciate the moment and we miss many opportunities to experience happiness through our other dimensions.
Relationships – Self Image
Notice how you feel when you focus on the positive.
Probably the most challenging of the dimensions, this heartland governs our relationship with ourselves and others. A healthy emotional dimension allows us to be self-assured, confident and understanding of others’ emotions. It also helps us establish and maintain fulfilling relationships. Too often we dwell on negative emotions and this causes us to block out all the good we can receive from the other dimensions.
While most people think of spiritual as meaning religious, in dimensional terms it refers to our conceptual selves. It governs our belief systems and inspires creativity and passion. When our spiritual dimension is given its due, we see the world outside ourselves more clearly, open up to creative expression and access the positive characteristics of the other dimensions more easily.
When you allow yourself to play and enjoy the sensory side of life, engage and disengage your mind at the right times, connect with yourself and others and find meaning through beliefs or creativity you will experience a life of greater harmony—a life that is truly priceless.
Diana LaSalle is co-author of Priceless, published by Harvard Business School Press and a recognized authority on multidimensional value. She is currently working on her second book, Priceless Living. For more information visit www.pricelessliving.com