Happiness. We want it for our kids, our loved ones and ourselves but it can seem like an elusive quest. I thought it would be interesting to see what the research says about what happy people have in common.
Have you ever heard of something called Positive Psychology? It’s the scientific study of what makes people thrive. Through many studies and exhaustive research, several commonalities have been identified in individuals who are happy. Perhaps by learning what they are, you can increase your own happiness by striving to emulate these qualities.
- Wanting What You Have – People who have adjusted their expectations to accept and embrace what they have are happier than those who are in the “the grass is always greener” mindset.
- Enjoying What You Do – What you do equates to a large chunk of your time so it’s no surprise that loving what you do contributes to overall happiness.
- Live in the Now – Being present in the moment and not letting worry about tomorrow or regret over yesterday rule your thoughts is another secret to happiness. Notice and appreciate the small moments.
- Choose Happiness – In surveys, those who reported that they felt that happiness was a choice also reported being happier overall so even just the perception that it is something within your control seems to work in your favour.
- Relationships and Life Choices – Studies show that married people rate themselves as happier than singles. Staying active and involved also increases happiness. Things such as exercise and hobbies matter in terms of long term mental health.
- Comparison Kills – Well it kills happiness anyway! While some level of ambition is healthy, jealousy or envy decreases the happiness people feel in their own lives.
- Be Optimistic – It is probably no surprise that those who have positive attitudes are happier than those who don’t. Glass-half-full people are also less likely to become depressed. Actively pursuing thankfulness by something as simple as keeping a gratitude journal increases optimism.
- Compassion and Generosity – Looking outside your own pain to help others results in you increasing your own happiness as well.
In our series of 31 Days Towards the Life You Want, we will be exploring some of these in more depth, but your challenge for today (should you choose to accept it!), is to smile more. Fake it if you have to. Smile at yourself in the mirror. Smile at your dog. Smile at the neighbour down the street, the grouchy man at the grocery store, the elderly woman you hold a door open for, the rowdy teens at the corner store, the rattled mom of toddlers you pass by, just smile. Studies show smiling, even fake smiling, contribute to happiness.