Would you like to be a happier person but don’t know how you can feel happier with so many negative things going around?
Here are seven proven ways on how to improve on your happiness:
- Practice gratitude once a week.
Feeling and expressing gratitude, or counting your blessings, does not only make you happy, it also improves your health. But, you need to be strategic about how you do it. In one of the experiments the participants were directed to keep a gratitude journal and think about five things in their life that made them feel grateful. They would start the exercise by saying “This week I’m grateful for…”
Half of the participants were told to do that once a week, while the rest of them had to do it three times a week for a total of six weeks.
Then we found out something strange: Only the people that counted their blessings once a week became happier because of it.
Why is this?
The conclusion was that because to the participants who did it three times a week practicing gratitude became a chore, while the others were looking forward to it. So you only have to count your blessings once a week!
- Make friends and invest in your relationships.
Happy people are known for their circle of friends, their relationship with their family, and often also for their loving marriage
The amazing thing about friendships and intimate relationships is that their happiness effect does not wear off. That means that you won’t get bored with the interactions the way you get used to your new clothing.
So, create good times with your friends, show them your appreciation and make them feel good, be kind, and just have fun with them. This will make you happier.
- Become stress resilient.
Being happy does not mean that you are feeling good all the time. Happy people also have to deal with bad situations and stress, but they bounce back a lot faster. They are much more stress resilient!
Here’s an example: One study found that the life of breast cancer survivors had been changed for the better after the disease! Actually over 60% of the women said so. These women talked about receiving a wake-up call that caused them to re-prioritize their life for the better. They discovered the good in the bad.
If that is such a good coping strategy with cancer, then I bet it’ll do miracles for any type of stress that happens in your life. The next time you are in stress, ask yourself what you can learn from it.
- Take care of your body.
Did you know that aerobic exercise has the same benefits on depression as taking Zoloft, an anti-depressant? Well, in a 1999 study researchers divided a group of 50+ men and women who suffered from depression in three groups.
One group engaged in aerobic exercise three times a week, another group just took Zoloft while the third group did both.
After four months all three groups were doing better with increased self-esteem and happiness. But, six months later, it appeared that the participants who had recovered from depression were less likely to relapse back to depression if they belonged in the exercise group compared to the ones who just took Zoloft.
So there you have it. Exercise works miracles in your happiness!
- Take care of your soul.
The numbers speak for themselves:
47% of people who report being active church members and attending religious services several times a week describe themselves as “very happy”.
And of the people who attend less than once a month only 28% do.
It seems that the social support and the sense of identity that people get from belonging to the same religious group is unparalleled.
It is possible, however, that this happiness discrepancy has nothing to do with people’s relationship with the divine and everything to do with people’s relationships with each other, because church members usually have larger social networks than those who don’t.
Even so, religious people who believe that the divine is helping them are three times more likely to be alive six months after a serious cardiac surgery. One way or another, religious people definitely seem to score some happiness points.
- Find some intrinsic goals and commit to them.
People who have goals, who are striving for something personally significant, like raising a family, learning a new skill, or even changing careers, usually are happier. Pursuing goals gives us a sense of purpose and a feeling of control over our lives.
But not all goals are made equal: intrinsic goals make you happy, while extrinsic goals might not be as effective.
Intrinsic goals are the ones that are meaningful to you, the ones that allow you to grow and become more. These are things like doing a hobby while on vacation, working on a skill because you want to become better, etc.
Extrinsic goals are the ones that you chase as a means to an end: going on a diet to lose weight, working hard to make more money, etc.
The research on this topic is crystal clear: Intrinsic goals are much more likely than extrinsic goals to give you a sense of competence and autonomy, and hence, make you happier.
- Enjoy life’s pleasures to the fullest!
There even is a word that describes enjoying life: Savouring.
“Savouring: Thoughts or behaviours capable of generating, intensifying, and prolonging enjoyment”
When you take a walk and suddenly think about how beautiful everything around you is, you are savouring. When you listen to your wife and cannot help yourself but feel lucky for being with her; you are savouring.
The immediate benefit of savouring?
You are more confident. You are actually enjoying every little or big pleasure life has to offer to the fullest. Now that’s a habit I want in my life!
But how do you make savouring a habit? By practicing mindfulness. By being really aware of things that are happening around you. By paying attention to other people and their needs. By really listening to and seeing the world with an open mind. And by letting go of all the worries and their accompanying thoughts. In short: by living in the here and now.
There you have it. Seven ways to become the happiest person on earth. Which one will you choose to expand on?
When you have some special thoughts and ideas about how to become a happier person, maybe even some remedies of your own that have really helped you, please share them with our community on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dawncady.mindsetcoach/