The Real Recipe For Happiness

We have the secret ingredients you’ve been looking for… and the good news is happiness can be created with just these four things.

how to be happy

Traditional definitions of success don’t account for emotional well-being. If you’re here reading this article, you’ve probably come to realize that title, salary, and material possessions don’t lead to happiness. But what is happiness? And why do we assume that if we achieve our goals, we will automatically experience it?

Most of us say we want to be happy. And yet, we spend time and energy striving for things that don’t have anything to do with happiness. We work on losing weight, getting a promotion, finding a partner, or achieving any number of goals in any of the spheres of life. It’s possible that achieving our goals will lead us closer to happiness, but it’s also possible to cut right to the chase and work toward achieving happiness itself.

The concept of emotional intelligence is key to getting to the bottom of our search for happiness. Emotional intelligence is the ability to understand, use, and manage your own emotions in order to manage stress, develop healthy interpersonal relationships, and generally overcome the challenges of life. Using emotional intelligence concepts, it is possible to actually quantify happiness. Here’s the good news you’ve been waiting for: emotional intelligence can be improved, and if we choose the right target areas, we will also be improving our happiness score.

The Recipe For Happiness

The four emotional intelligence qualities most associated with happiness include self-regard, optimism, interpersonal relationships, and self-actualization. While these qualities are the most predictive of an individual’s happiness, there are many other indicators and qualities that also contribute to happiness.


happy woman
  • Happiness is a byproduct of believing in oneself and living according to your own values and standards. A high self regard helps promote self-confidence and enhances life satisfaction.
  • Questions to ask yourself: If you could improve one facet of your life, what would it be? Why? Aside from material things, what is it about you that makes you truly happy?


  • The ability to recover and reclaim a happy state after setbacks or disappointments.
  • Questions to ask yourself: What thoughts help you remain optimistic during more difficult times? Are there any situations where you feel less optimistic? If so, how can you improve or deal better with those situations?

Interpersonal Relationships:

  • Having healthy interpersonal relationships is both a predictor and cause of happiness. Having strong relationships can help reduce the negative effects of stress and bring positive energy and feelings into one’s life.
  • Questions to ask yourself: Are there times when you struggle with your relationships? If so, what causes the struggles and how do you remedy conflict and miscommunication? Do you have a mentor? Do you act as a mentor to someone else?


  • Self-actualization refers to the fulfillment of one’s potential in life. The journey to self-actualization requires the willingness to learn and grow, and to develop and live by a set of personal values.
  • Questions to ask yourself: Identify what you value most in life. Are you spending enough time on the activities most important to you? What legacy will you leave behind?

Are You Forgetting About Happiness As You Work Toward Your Goals?

For the full episode, follow us on LinkedIn. Listen to the audio wherever podcasts are streamed.

In this Cup of Joy episode, Dr. Joy discusses her work with a coaching client who seems to have it all – the job, the house, the car. However, he isn’t able to truly enjoy his success or experience the happiness he says he wants.

“There are lots of us that if we pause for a minute, you’re like, ‘shoot, I don’t know that I’ve actually really thought about happiness, and aspiring for it.’ I think a lot of folks show up to life just feeling like you take life as it comes and because there’s so much you don’t control and life is hard…you just take happiness whenever it’ll come, versus actually facilitating it, aspiring towards more of it, and learning how to facilitate it. Right?”

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