We all aspire to be happy, and yet happiness eludes many of us. But why is that? Nowadays we live such busy lives that we seem to have lost touch with those things that truly make us happy. But we know that people that are happy enjoy more satisfying lives and are more likely to be healthy, productive and socially connected.

Like everyone else, I strive to be happier, so I created my own 7 commandments of happiness that I would love to share with you, in the hope that it will help you as you go about your daily life to make better decisions that will lead to a happier you. Here they are:

1/ Be Grateful
Live your life with the attitude of gratitude. Rather than focusing on those things that aren’t working so good for you, focus on the things around you that you appreciate and are grateful to have. The more you practise this, the more grateful you will become about your life. Understand that happiness cannot be found on the outside and that true happiness must come from within ourselves; so if you are trying to find your little bit of happiness on the outside, you are looking in the wrong place.

2/ Live in the present moment
Do not become a victim of your past. Do not give more power to your past or future than to your present. Nowadays we are so quick to react to all circumstances out there we find ourselves snapping at everyone in our paths. Catch yourself at those moments, pause and breathe. Ask yourself, can I change the situation, improve it, or remove myself from it? If so, take action. But if you can’t, just let go. Learn to control your mind or your mind will control you. Become aware of which thoughts are not serving you and ditch them or change them.

3/ Be yourself and believe in yourself
Stop pretending to be someone that you are not just because you think it is expected of you. Honour your values and never let the fear of being rejected stop you from doing what’s really important to you. You don’t need to change to be accepted by the outside world. Instead, work at becoming the best version of yourself. Learn to listen to your gut and make decisions based on how you feel, not just how you think. Follow your intuition and do things that feel totally right on the inside, regardless of how irrational they may seem on the outside.

4/ Take care of yourself on all levels physical, mental, emotional and spiritual
There’s no other way about it. We need to take care of ourselves and do those things that really make us happy. Treat your body as your temple. Cultivate a positive attitude. Learn to ride the whirlwind of your emotions by letting go of all trapped anger, resentment and guilt, and take the time to nourish your soul.

5/ Have less to feel more
Material things cannot replace feelings. We get so caught up with all the things we want, but we don’t really need, that we end up strapped for cash and struggling to figure out how to pay for it all. It’s OK to splurge on little things every once in a while, but ask yourself: “Do I need this? Can I really afford it?” and be mindful about every purchase you make. The less clutter you have, the freer you’ll feel.

6/ See the good in people
People are not malicious by nature. With that said you need to let go of those harmful relationships that are intentionally stopping you from becoming your best. Forgive those who hurt you in order to move forward in your life. Not being able to move on from our past will stop us from feeling happy. Choose to focus your thoughts not on the violence and chaos around, but in the goodness of human kind. Learn to connect with others with kindness, without passing judgement, with respect and appreciation.

7/ Always choose happiness
You have the power to make choices that make you feel happy. We may not be able to control things around us, but we can always choose how to respond towards them all. Learn to make choices that work for you, instead of against you. Do those things that make you laugh and those little things you take pleasure in. Life is too precious to spend it being sad and regretful.

Happiness depends on ourselves, and you can be as happy as you make up your mind to be. So ask yourself: “What gives me meaning and purpose? What do I really enjoy doing? What are my gifts and talents, and am I putting them to good use? And if not, what’s standing in the way?”

Happiness is a choice, so have the courage to follow your heart and pursue those things that truly make you happy.

May you find happiness!

This article was published in the Apr-Jun 2015 issue of Inspire Magazine. Download it here!

Isabel Valle
Isabel Valle

Isabel Valle is a certified Executive and Leadership Coach. She is also a mentor and the Founder of Global Room in Brunei. Isabel specialises in leadership development and building organisational culture. Isabel has held senior positions within the hospitality industry in countries around the world. More information available on