Let happiness dwell in your soul.

If you want to be happier, energised and fulfilled, ignore the quick fix purchase adverts and instead look at your well-being in four quadrants  – physical, mental, spiritual and emotional. Be soul satisfied.

If you believe the advertising hype, happiness is only a Christmas present away. Of course, it’s all marketing nonsense that’s meant to make us feel afraid, unsatisfied, unfulfilled and desperate to find something to take those negative feelings away. We all know that buying and owning more doesn’t make us any more content.

More than two thousand years ago, the Greek philosopher Democritus wrote: “Happiness resides not in possessions, and not in gold; happiness dwells in the soul.”

The soul is the very essence of a person. It’s what makes you you. So if you want to be happier, more content in 2018, ignore the adverts and instead invest time in thinking about what might be making your soul unhappy. Have a look at all aspects of your life—you might be surprised where your dissatisfaction is hiding.

Mental, physical, spiritual and emotional

Recently I did an exercise with a 40-something client who was unhappy and fed up. We divided John’s life up into four parts – mental, physical, spiritual and emotional. For him to feel happy and soul-satisfied it was important that equal time and energy went into meeting the needs of each quadrant. NB: Some people like to split their life into 5 areas and add a financial wedge.

The physical and mental areas were easy. As a keen runner and a life-long learner, his body and mind are always active. Spiritually he was plugged into a church, but his emotional quadrant was empty. Words he used to describe how he felt included unheard, undervalued and unappreciated. A little more digging revealed John was holding on to a string of grievance from work and home spanning several years.

Determined to find soul-satisfaction John committed to having some tough but important conversations with colleagues and family. He would say how he felt, but then work to build bridges and mend relationships. It would be hard, but he wanted to be happy and knew he was only a few steps away.

As Christmas approaches why not treat yourself to a little alone time in which you draw a circle, divide it into four and think about which quadrant mental, physical, spiritual and emotional needs the most attention. You might surprise yourself and discover that, rather than the new iPhone X, the gift you most need to be happy, soul-satisfied, is the chance to learn a new language, a weekend retreat or a train ticket to make up with an old friend.