Spreading cheer is easier to do when you feel happy… But what if despite your best attempts to stick with your wellness routine, treat yourself with compassion, and prioritize self-care, you still feel blue? Samantha Ettus, author of The Pie Life, says it might come down to whether or not you feel fulfilled.

Ettus tells us that, while happiness is the goal for many, it really isn’t the right focus. “People say, ‘I just want to be happy,’ but what does this mean?” she asks. “After working with tens of thousands of women, I’ve found that the happiest people among us are actually the ones who feel most fulfilled. Happiness is a product of living a fulfilling life, so our goal should really be fulfillment. When you feel fulfilled, you naturally feel happy!” So what is fulfillment, really? Ettus broke it down for us by explaining that it means “being involved with six or seven slices of your life.” Fulfillment, she says, means paying attention to your health, career, relationship, family, friends, community, and hobbies. “Rather than beat yourself up about how much time you do (or don’t) dedicate to each of these slices, try to make a goal for each,” she advises. “Once you create a living and breathing goal for each slice, it can start existing.”

Since fulfillment and happiness go hand in hand, we asked Ettus for three tips to prioritize fulfillment and three that are sure to leave you smiling more than usual.

3 Ways to Feel More Fulfilled

1. Live in all seven slices. Once you’ve created a few goals and can start living your life in slices, Ettus says it’s time to ditch the guilt. “When you’re living life to the fullest, you don’t waste time on guilt. It serves no positive purpose and instead saps your energy, your health, and your mind. It is impossible to be present when you are feeling guilty.” She expands, “For example, if you’re sitting in a meeting but feeling like you should be at home — or if you’re at home and feeling like you should be at work — nobody wins. But if you commit yourself to be present and giving your all wherever you are instead, you will feel the guilt wash away.”

2. Make more intentional choices. “Say yes to the margarita with a friend even if it means leaving a sink of dirty dishes at home,” Ettus suggests.

3. Never label a bad day (or a bad week, or a bad year). “Life is a series of moments — good ones follow bad ones, and bad ones follow good ones. When you label a day, you might miss an awesome moment coming your way. Brush yourself off and move on!”

3 Ways to Feel Happier

1. Get enough sleep. “It’s impossible to feel happy if you are exhausted,” Ettus reminds. “Never mistake exhaustion for depression.”

2. Don’t block off “time for self-care.” Taking care of yourself is important, but Ettus believes that you won’t need to dedicate as much (or any) specific time for self-care acts when you spend time with your family, friends, and on your professional goals. “You will naturally feel happier.”

3. Curate your crowd. Negativity is a major no-no when it comes to feeling happier, so be intentional about where — and with whom — you spend your time. “Surround yourself with positive people, and stay away from the ones that say things like, ‘Of course it would rain on my birthday’,” Ettus advises.

What makes you feel happy? What makes you feel fulfilled? Tell us on Twitter @BritandCo.

(Featured photo via Getty)

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