10 things science says will make you happy. (Coincidences make me happy.)

I love serendipity.

Tuesday night, with my blog post about the connection between relationships and happiness still fresh, I stumbled onto a tweet from VenessaMiemis: 10 Things Science Says Will Make You Happy

The Yes Magazine article is approaching two years old but the advice sounds timeless — savoring every day moments, exercising and helping others, for example. The suggestion that connected up my Tuesday post was this one:

Make Friends, Treasure Family

Happier people tend to have good families, friends, and supportive relationships, say Diener and Biswas-Diener. But it’s not enough to be the life of the party if you’re surrounded by shallow acquaintances. “We don’t just need relationships, we need close ones” that involve understanding and caring.

Part of the reason I loved seeing #6 on the list was that it synched with an excellent comment Lara Zielin left. She wrote in part:

It’s all good and well to be social, but the people in one study who are more likely to rate themselves as happy are those who have *substantial* conversations, versus just engaging in small talk. So be social, but be real too — ideally with people who make it safe for you to do so.

In our overscheduled society, where information gets simmered down to sound bites and tweets, there’s a danger to bounce from one superficial conversation to the next. Close, honest, safe relationships aren’t the same as liking someone’s post on Facebook once in a while. They take time and effort.

John asked me recently who I’d cried in front of. It was an insightful way of getting to the point of who in my life I’m willing to be vulnerable with.

Those are the kinds of relationships I’ll put on my top 10 list, with or without the science to back it up.


Categories: lifestyle

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

3 replies

  1. Thanks so much, Malcolm. Excellent article with numerous good points to take in.

    I’ve done a gratitude journal before — if you’re interested, check out my “Month of Thanksgiving” posts — and I agree it’s helpful.

    I loved this idea, which I don’t think I’ve heard before:
    A second approach that has shown promise in Seligman’s group has people discover their personal strengths through a specialized questionnaire and choose the five most prominent ones. Then, every day for a week, they are to apply one or more of their strengths in a new way. Strengths include things like the ability to find humor or summon enthusiasm, appreciation of beauty, curiosity and love of learning. The idea of the exercise is that using one’s major “signature” strengths may be a good way to get engaged in satisfying activities.


  1. Crying at an improv workshop was a good thing – Newvine Growing

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