Happiness is an inside job

By Sindy Warren

Santosha (contentment) is one of the niyamas, or attitudes toward the self, laid out in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.  The yoga texts tell us that happiness is a skill and a practice.  It doesn’t just happen without some effort and practice.  Wait a second, you might be thinking.  Isn’t it true that some of us are just born happier?  Well, yes.  We come with a happiness set point, so to speak.  But it only accounts for roughly 40% of our outlook on life.  That leaves at least 60% (I say at least because new research shows that we can actually shift our genetic predisposition through practice) that’s up for grabs.

So how do we actually practice santosha?  Bring awareness to the good in your life.  Train your brain to be a “benefit finder.”  Even on our worst days, there’s usually something to be grateful for.  Place your awareness there.  Simple, yes.  Easy?  Not always.  But well worth the effort.