Being happy is easy right? Or is it a conscious decision we have to make every morning? What makes happiness? Lets read on..
The emerging field of positive psychology is bursting with new findings that suggest your actions can have a significant effect on your happiness and satisfaction with life. Here are 10 scientifically proven strategies for getting happy.
1. Savor Everyday Moments
Pause now and then to smell a rose or watch children at play. Study participants who took time to “savor” ordinary events that they normally hurried through, or to think back on pleasant moments from their day, “showed significant increases in happiness and reductions in depression,” says psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky.
2. Avoid Comparisons
While keeping up with the Joneses is part of American culture, comparing ourselves with others can be damaging to happiness and self-esteem. Instead of comparing ourselves to others, focusing on our own personal achievement leads to greater satisfaction, according to Lyubomirsky.
3. Put Money Low on the List
People who put money high on their priority list are more at risk for depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem, according to researchers Tim Kasser and Richard Ryan. Their findings hold true across nations and cultures. “The more we seek satisfactions in material goods, the less we find them there,” Ryan says. “The satisfaction has a short half-life — it’s very fleeting.” Money-seekers also score lower on tests of vitality and self-actualization.
4. Have Meaningful Goals
“People who strive for something significant, whether it’s learning a new craft or raising moral children, are far happier than those who don’t have strong dreams or aspirations,” say Ed Diener and Robert Biswas-Diener. “As humans, we actually require a sense of meaning to thrive.” Harvard’s resident happiness professor, Tal Ben-Shahar, agrees, “Happiness lies at the intersection between pleasure and meaning. Whether at work or at home, the goal is to engage in activities that are both personally significant and enjoyable.”
5. Take Initiative at Work
How happy you are at work depends in part on how much initiative you take. Researcher Amy Wrzesniewski says that when we express creativity, help others, suggest improvements, or do additional tasks on the job, we make our work more rewarding and feel more in control.
6. Make Friends, Treasure Family
Happier people tend to have good families, friends, and supportive relationships, say Diener and Biswas-Diener. But it’s not enough to be the life of the party if you’re surrounded by shallow acquaintances. “We don’t just need relationships, we need close ones” that involve understanding and caring.
7. Smile Even When You Don’t Feel Like It
It sounds simple, but it works. “Happy people…see possibilities, opportunities, and success. When they think of the future, they are optimistic, and when they review the past, they tend to savor the high points,” say Diener . Even if you weren’t born looking at the glass as half-full, with practice, a positive outlook can become a habit.
8. Say Thank You Like You Mean It
People who keep gratitude journals on a weekly basis are healthier, more optimistic, and more likely to make progress toward achieving personal goals, according to author Robert Emmons. Research by Martin Seligman, founder of positive psychology, revealed that people who write “gratitude letters” to someone who made a difference in their lives score higher on happiness, and lower on depression — and the effect lasts for weeks.
Now to explain Maslows Theory on Happiness.
The Route To Happiness : An Example of Maslows Hierachy of Needs
Maslow seems to make sense here and we can certainly see that what makes people happy could well be a sense of self-actualisation. Happiness comes from within. This idea can also be found in many spiritual belief systems all over the world. As Maslow was considered the ‘Spiritual Father’ of Humanistic Psychology, it is no wonder that there seems to be some basis to this view
- Physiological Needs – Food, drink, oxygen, temperature regulation, elimination, rest, activity, sex.
- Safety Needs – Protection from potentially dangerous objects or situations, e.g. the elements, physical illness. The threat to both physical and psychological.
If people can’t pass this point, how can they achieve this?…
- Love and Belongingness – receiving and giving love, affection trust and acceptance. Affiliating, being part of a group (friends, work, family).
Without love and belongingness how can people achieve…
- Esteem Needs – The esteem and respect of others and self-esteem and self-respect – a sense, therefore, of competence.
Without feelings of worth, competence and confidence, how can people reach the next level?
- Cognitive Needs – Knowledge and understanding, curiosity, exploration, need for meaning and predictability.
If cognitive needs are not met or achieved…. This cannot be met:
- Aesthetic Needs – Beauty – in art and nature – symmetry, balance, order, form.
So without feeling comfortable to explore the beauty of life and a sense of balance… this cannot be achieved…
- Self Actualisation – Realizing your full potential, “becoming everything one is capable of becoming’ – to be the best that you can be..****Happiness 🙂
Happiness is not constant. It can come and go and are influenced by external factors. So what makes people happy? It is by satisfying basic human needs that help form the foundations of temporary happiness. This is, therefore, about goals, achieving those goals and being your best. Most importantly, it is knowing when you have achieved this and the sense of satisfaction that it brings with it.
Strive every morning to be happy and spread your smiles 🙂
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