While happiness is defined by the individual, I’ve always felt it foolish to declare that nothing can be learned from observing the happiness of others.
In our day-to-day lives, it is easy to miss the forest for the trees and look over some of the smaller, simpler things that can disproportionally affect our happiness levels. There are lots of studies that aim for finding the right behavior that leads to a happier life. Below, we take a look at some of the more actionable advice.
- Be Busy, But Not Rushed
Research shows that being “rushed” puts you on the fast track to being miserable. On the other hand, many studies suggest that having nothing to do can also take its toll.
The porridge is just right when you’re living a productive life at a comfortable pace. You should be expanding your comfort zone often, but not so much that you feel overwhelmed. This is easier said than done, but it is certainly an ideal to strive towards.
Feeling like you’re doing busywork is often the result of saying “Yes” to things you are not absolutely excited about. Be sure to say “No” to things that don’t exactly excite you as often you feel comfortable to. We all have obligations, but a comfortable pace can only be found by a person willing to say no to most things, and who’s able to say “Yes” to the right things.
- Have 5 Close Relationships
Having a few close relationships keeps people happier when they’re young, and has even been shown to help us live longer, with a higher quality of life. True friends really are worth their weight in gold. But why five relationships? This seemed to be an acceptable average from a variety of studies.
However, the number isn’t the important aspect here, it is the effort you put into your relationships that matters. Sometimes even the best relationships dissolve over time. A closeness with someone is something you need to continually earn, never take advantage of it. Every time you connect with those close to you, you further strengthen those bonds and give yourself a little boost of happiness at the same time.
- Don’t Tie Your Happiness to External Events
Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less. —C.S. Lewis
Self-esteem is a tricky beast. It’s certainly good for confidence, but self-esteem that is bound to external success can be quite fickle. Avoid the trap of tying your self-worth to external signals.
This has been tested and trusted. No matter how much you hate exercise, it will make you feel better if you stick with it. Body image improves when you exercise (even if you don’t get results right away). And eventually, you should start feeling that “exercise high” once you’re able to pass the initial hump. The release of endorphins has an addictive effect, and more exercise is needed to achieve the same level of euphoria over time.
So make it one of your regular habits. It does not matter which activity you choose, there’s bound to be at least one physical activity you can stomach.
- Embrace Discomfort for Mastery
Happy people generally have something known as a “signature strength” — At least one thing they’ve become proficient at, even if the learning process made them uncomfortable.
Mastering a skill may be just as stressful as you might think. Although the process of becoming proficient at something may take its toll on people in the form of stress, these same activities hold the tendency to make people feel happy and satisfied when they looked back on it.
Struggle is the evidence of progress.
- Spend More Money on Experiences
Truly happy people are very mindful of spending money on physical items, opting instead to spend much of their money on experiences. In fact, most people are far happier when buying experiences as opposed to buying material goods. Here’s why:
- Experiences improve over time. Aging like a fine wine, great experiences trump physical items, which often wear off quickly.
- People revisit experiences more often. Experiences are recalled more often than material purchases. You are more likely to remember your first hiking trip over your first pair of hiking boots.
- Experiences are more unique. Experiences are peculiar and particular to us. Comparisons can often make us unhappy, but experiences are often immune to this as they are unique to us. Nobody in the world will have the exact same experience as you.
- Don’t Ignore Your Itches
When people realize that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people do not honor even a half of their dreams while they can due to choices they had made, or did not make. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it.
As they say, there are seven days in the week, and “someday” isn’t one of them.
How about you? What specific mindsets or habits keep you happy?
Have a happy Sunday!
Curled from http://www.99u.com