“The 8 Pillars of Joy,” from “The Book of Joy,” by the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu

The first four are qualities of the mind:


The way we see the world is the way we experience the world. Changing the way we see the world in turn changes the way we feel and the way we act, which changes the world itself.


Learning to recognize basic human nature is good and this leads to a positive outlook which provides us with courage and self-confidence. Too much focus on ourselves, the “I” and the “me”, leads to fear, insecurity, and anxiety. It is important to allow life’s experiences to always teach us.


Make an effort to be less serious and laugh more. This will lead to a sense of abandon and ease. Laugh at yourself and not at another’s expense.


Stress and anxiety come from our expectations of how life should be. We can lessen our suffering by accepting our life in all its pain, imperfections, and beauty. Acceptance is the opposite of resignation and defeat. The acceptance of reality is the only place from which change can begin. Acceptance allows us to engage with life on its terms rather than get mad because it is not as we wish. “Life is frustrating and difficult-it is not about escaping it, but discovering how we can use it as something positive.”


The last four are qualities of the heart:


It is freeing ourselves from the past and the only way to heal. Without forgiveness, we remain tethered to the person who harmed us. The power of forgiveness lies in not losing sight of the humanity of the person while responding to the wrong with clarity and firmness.


Being grateful moves us away from the narrow minded focus on fault and lack and to the wider perspective of benefit and abundance. When we recognize all that we have been given it is our natural response to want to care for and give to others. Gratitude is the elevation of enjoyment.


Caring for others is a part of who we are, it is instinctual. We are hardwired to connect and care. Compassion is an empowered state where we want what is best for the other person. We need to practice letting go of our expectations of wanting more, being more, achieving more, which will allow for more self-compassion.


Being generous expresses a fundamental aspect of our interdependence and need for one another. With a generous spirit, we become more tolerant, more open-minded, patient, forgiving, and kind. Taking care of others, helping others through life, ultimately is the way to discover your own joy and to have a happy life.