6th Pillar of Happiness

October 17, 2022

Last updated : May 9, 2024

In this series of creating a life vision, we expand on the 6th Pillar of Happiness: lifestyle. These six pillars are elements you should consider when seeking true happiness and crafting a vision of your life. 

There comes a point in life when we  must assess if we are truly happy. In my experience, you don't need fancy apps or a vacation in the Himalayas to figure out your life vision. All you need to find happiness and balance is a pen, some paper, and this guide.

For the 6th Pillar of Happiness, we will explore your lifestyle and its role in your happiness. By examining your daily habits, behaviors, and choices, we'll uncover what your ideal lifestyle is and how best to achieve it using tried-and-tested principles of yoga philosophy. 

What is the 6th Pillar of Happiness?

In our 6 Pillars of Happiness series, we have looked at five elements that make up a happy and healthy life.

These are: 

The sixth and final pillar is lifestyle. This includes every aspect of how you live, from where you live and what you eat to how you sleep and exercise. 

Discover- Yoga Poses for Good Sleep

While religion and culture might govern some people's daily habits and behaviors, others look to yoga philosophy for guidance. Whatever influences your lifestyle, learning how to live a balanced and healthy life is key to achieving lasting happiness.

What role does lifestyle play in your happiness?

The pillar of lifestyle seeks to harmonize the five other pillars: health, career, relationships, leisure, and spirituality. The choices you make in each pillar unite to form your lifestyle. And your life vision guides those daily choices and creates a lifestyle that will lead to happiness.

In my personal experience, I was taught about having a vision by my teacher. I started looking at my choices and used this tool to envision my ideal life. For example, I wanted to be able to speak in front of people without being so paralyzingly nervous. Because I developed a vision of myself, I started making small changes that would turn this vision into reality. I began to see that having a life vision does work!

My teacher gave me the task to  chat with an older person whenever I got the chance. If I was on the bus or train, I would choose to sit next to an older person and respectfully ask them an earnest question:

"What is the most significant lesson you learned in your life?"

70% of older people cautioned us not to waste our time. Once time has passed you can never get it back.

Hopefully, you are feeling motivated to get started on creating your life vision.

How to build a balanced lifestyle 

Our diet, career, exercise routine, spirituality, and the relationships we choose all make up our lifestyle. Therefore the aim of our sixth pillar is not to create a new lifestyle from scratch but to balance all five pillars of happiness and ensure that they work together to achieve your life vision. 

First, ask yourself: "What does an ideal day look like?"

This question may seem simple, but the answer will form the foundation of your life vision. You may be able to observe many possibilities for yourself. Remember that your life vision is about finding balance. If we want too much in life, we will find it very difficult to find balance.

Below, we break down seven steps to creating a balanced and happy lifestyle, as well as question prompts that’ll help you personalize this plan to your individual life.

1. Do the "Death-bed Exercise" 

This is a simple exercise you can do to find out what matters to you. Imagine that you are living through the last moments of your life. Maybe you are in a hospital bed or surrounded by loved ones at home. Write down a few sentences about the things that are meaningful to you, and in doing that, you will see what you need to prioritize every day. 

Questions to ask yourself: 

  • Have I lived a successful life?
  • What has contributed to that success?
  • If I departed this world, what would make me feel content?

2. Create healthy habits

To achieve true happiness, our health must meet our expectations. When analyzing health and how it impacts your lifestyle, it's essential to look at all three bodies: physical, energy, and spiritual. In yoga, we use different practices to balance each of the bodies. For the physical body, we practice asanas and Ayurveda. Pranayama, Pratyahara, and Dharana balance the energy body, and Vivek, Vairagya, and meditation target the spiritual body.

Creating a healthy lifestyle could also be as simple as exercising for an hour a day and eating a healthy diet that complements your doshas. Be realistic about your expectations, and remember that you can review and change your expectations over time. 

Questions to ask yourself: 

  • What does health mean to me?
  • What activities will help me achieve this level of health? 
  • When and for how long can I realistically  do these activities?

See - How to Be Happy

3. Map out your ideal career path

Our productive time supports our lifestyle and gives each day meaning and purpose. Therefore our career is a fundamental building block for a happy and content life. When selecting a career path, make sure it will challenge you to expand, grow, and evolve. 

Questions to ask yourself:

  • Does my career work in sync with my other duties?
  • Does my career support my lifestyle?
  • What are the minimum expectations for job/career satisfaction? 
  • What impact do I want to make in my field?

4. Build good relationships

Relationships play an important part in our human experience and are essential to building a happy and fulfilled life. Yoga philosophy teaches us that relationships exist not randomly but due to karmic bonds. Therefore, every relationship we engage in is, in fact, a duty or dharma. Your first duty is toward your own growth is creating healthy relationships that positively impact your life. 

Questions to ask yourself:

  • What do relationships mean to me?
  • Who are the most significant people in my life? 
  • What role do I play in these relationships?
  • What does an ideal relationship look like to me?

5. Find beneficial leisure activities 

Finding balance in leisure activities that support our spiritual growth will bring us greater peace. Of course, we must include enjoyable leisure activities in our lives, but they should be selected wisely. Leisure activities should be enjoyed in moderation while also beneficial, energizing, and non-violent. 

Questions to ask yourself:

  • What does leisure look like to me?
  • What activities do I gravitate toward? 
  • Do these activities benefit me and the other pillars of my life? 

6. Incorporate spirituality into your life 

Spiritual practices support our personal growth in numerous ways. They can provide a path to enlightenment and self-discovery. These practices will look different for everyone. When incorporating spirituality into your life, ensure that the practices you follow align with your core beliefs and your other pillars. 

Questions to ask yourself:  

  • What does spirituality mean to me?
  • How do I want to practice spirituality?
  • What practices help me connect to myself?

7. Assess and balance all five pillars

Consider your answers and assess if your health, career, relationships, leisure, and spirituality match your lifestyle. For example, does your career pillar vision accommodate your relationship pillar vision? If your career vision is unrealistic and you put too much pressure on yourself too soon, the other pillars will fall apart. 

Questions to ask yourself: 

  • What is my lifestyle? 
  • How does each of these pillars fit into my daily life? 
  • How much time a day should I spend on each pillar?

If you need more guidance in creating a life vision, join Arhanta’s online Happiness Course. This 6-hour guided course delves deep into each of these 6 pillars and teaches you how to clearly design a balanced and happy life with simple yogic strategies.

Final Thought

We must live what we want to live, not what we have to live.

Aspire to create a lifestyle that works towards a happy life every day. You may need to adjust your vision, which is perfectly fine and normal. The secret is that you must live all these pillars daily, and remember that achieving the right balance takes time, trial, and error.

As time marches on, you will see what is meaningful to you and what is not. You will make time for what is important, and unproductive habits will fade away. Once you create your vision, focus on it and work hard. Your lifestyle will change, and you will find happiness and balance in all areas of your life.


About the author

Ram Jain

Born into a Jain family where yoga has been the way of life for five generations, my formal yoga journey began at age of eight at a Vedic school in India. There I received a solid foundation in ancient scriptures, including Vedas, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, and Yoga Sutras (to name a few).

In 2009, I founded Arhanta Yoga Ashrams. I see yoga as a way to master the five senses, so I named our ashrams 'Arhanta Yoga,' the yoga to master the five senses!

In 2017, I also founded Arhanta Yoga Online Academy so that people who can not visit our ashrams can follow our courses remotely.

At Arhanta, we don't just teach yoga. We teach you how to reach your potential, deepen your knowledge, build your confidence, and take charge of your life.

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