Happiness is a subject I frequently blog about — specifically, that it’s not just a virus you catch or something that happens to you, but like love or fulfillment, it’s something you consciously cultivate.
So of course I loved this column by Jacob Sokol on Huffington Post headlined 12 Things Happy People Do Differently — And Why I Started Doing Them. Sokol talks about exploring what makes life worth living, and quotes studies conducted by positivity psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky. He summarizes her pointers on a dozen things to do to increase happiness, including:
- Express gratitude. — When you appreciate what you have, what you have appreciates in value. Kinda cool right? So basically, being grateful for the goodness that is already evident in your life will bring you a deeper sense of happiness.
- Cultivate optimism. — Winners have the ability to manufacture their own optimism. No matter what the situation, the successful diva is the chick who will always find a way to put an optimistic spin on it. She knows failure only as an opportunity to grow and learn a new lesson from life. People who think optimistically see the world as a place packed with endless opportunities, especially in trying times.
- Practice acts of kindness. — Performing an act of kindness releases serotonin in your brain. (Serotonin is a substance that has TREMENDOUS health benefits, including making us feel more blissful.) Selflessly helping someone is a super powerful way to feel good inside.
- Nurture social relationships. — The happiest people on the planet are the ones who have deep, meaningful relationships. Did you know studies show that people’s mortality rates are DOUBLED when they’re lonely?
- Develop strategies for coping. — It can be hard to come up with creative solutions in the moment when manure is making its way up toward the fan. It helps to have healthy strategies for coping pre-rehearsed, on-call, and in your arsenal at your disposal.
- Learn to forgive. — Harboring feelings of hatred is horrible for your well-being.You see, your mind doesn’t know the difference between past and present emotion. When you “hate” someone, and you’re continuously thinking about it, those negative emotions are toxic for your well-being.
- Commit to your goals. — Being wholeheartedly dedicated to doing something comes fully equipped with an ineffable force. Magical things start happening when we commit ourselves to doing whatever it takes to get somewhere.
- Take care of your body. — Taking care of your body is crucial to being the happiest person you can be. If you don’t have your physical energy in good shape, then your mental energy (your focus), your emotional energy (your feelings), and your spiritual energy (your purpose) will all be negatively affected. Did you know that studies conducted on people who were clinically depressed showed that consistent exercise raises happiness levels just as much as Zoloft?
This is a super condensed version — I suggest you read all 12 with all their detail on Huffington Post here.
More posts about happiness:
- Embracing uncertainty as the path to happiness
- How should we gauge happiness?
- Deepak Chopra shares the equation for happiness
- Is happiness catching? Two social scientists say yes.
- Are you the kind of person who gets joy from life or who is irritated by life?
- 10 things science says will make you happy. (Coincidences make me happy.)
- What are you doing to be happier?
- People who need people are the longest-living, happiest people in the world
- Check out “How to find happiness,” by Bill Watterson with art by Gavin Aung Than