University of California professor Sonja Lyubomirsky details the things research shows the happiest people have in common.
Via The How of Happiness:
- They devote a great amount of time to their family and friends, nurturing and enjoying those relationships.
- They are comfortable expressing gratitude for all they have.
- They are often the first to offer helping hands to coworkers and passersby.
- They practice optimism when imagining their futures.
- They savor life’s pleasures and try to live in the present moment.
- They make physical exercise a weekly and even daily habit.
- They are deeply committed to lifelong goals and ambitions (e.g., fighting fraud, building cabinets, or teaching their children their deeply held values).
- Last but not least, the happiest people do have their share of stresses, crises, and even tragedies. They may become just as distressed and emotional in such circumstances as you or I, but their secret weapon is the poise and strength they show in coping in the face of challenge.
I guess the blog post could end here. You’ve got your answer. But did you just want trivia? Or do you actually want to get happier?
The internet has become a firehose of ideas we never implement, tricks we forget to use.
Reading a list of things is easy. Implementing them in your life can be hard.
But it doesn’t have to be. Let’s get down to business.
Here’s an interesting fact about happiness: frequency beats intensity. What’s that mean?
Lots of little good things make you happier than a handful of big things.
Research shows that going to church and exercising both bring people a disproportionate amount of happiness. Why?
They give us frequent, regular boosts.
Stanford professor Jennifer Aaker says it’s really that simple: the things that make you happy, do them more often.
We have designated work hours. We schedule doctor appointments. Heck, we even schedule hair appointments.
We say happiness is the most important thing but fail to consistently include it in our calendars.
Research shows 40% of happiness is due to intentional activity. You can change your happiness by up to 40% by what you choose to do every day.
And much of what you do, you do on autopilot. 40% of what you do every day isn’t the result of decisions, it’s due to habits.
Via The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business:
One paper published by a Duke University researcher in 2006 found that more than 40 percent of the actions people performed each day weren’t actual decisions, but habits.
See where I’m going with this?
Happy things need to be a habit. Part of your routine. Part of your schedule.
Stop waiting for random happy events, you need a “happiness subscription.”
So how do we take that list and make them things we actually do every day instead of more forgotten trivia? Let’s get started.
Wake up and say ARG!
Even scientific happiness advice is often corny. I’ll say that now so we can get it off the table…. But it works.
And this is why you might want to say ARG when you wake up. It’s an acronym that stands for:
I’ve written about the importance of a morning ritual and how research shows your mood in the morning affects your entire day. So start right.
Anticipation is a powerful happiness booster. It’s two for the price of one: you get the good thing and you get happy in anticipation of the good thing.
So think about what you’re looking forward to. Got nothing you’re looking forward to? Schedule something.
Recollecting great moments has a related effect. Memories allow us to relive the good times and kill stress.