Generally, when we think of happiness we think of a things like the recent holiday, relaxing with a glass of wine, watching your favourite movie and yes these activities do bring happiness but only temporarily.
In a study by psychologist Martin Seligman from the University of Pennsylvania he categorized people into three groups based on how they pursued happiness:
The Pleasant Life: people seeking happiness by looking for pleasure.
The Engaged Life: people seeking happiness by working hard at their passions.
The Meaningful Life: people using their strengths to work towards something they believe contributes to a greater good.
Seligman found that people who pursued the pleasant life experienced little happiness whilst people who pursued the Engaged Life and the Meaningful Life were very happy.
Happy people are highly intentional and if you want to follow suit you need to learn how to incorporate the following habits into your world:
Create your own happiness and don’t wait for it to find you! Every second you waste waiting for it to find you is a second you could have been using to create it. Make the effort.
Surround yourself with the right people: surrounding yourself with happy people builds confidence and stimulates creativity. Hanging out with negative people has the opposite effect.
Get enough sleep: you need to sleep to allow your body to recharge. Look at one of my previous post on the importance of a good night’s sleep.
Live in the moment: it’s impossible to be happy if you are constantly somewhere else rather than in the moment. You can’t change the past and there is uncertainty in the future so live for now.
Learn to love yourself: learn to accept who you are and appreciate your strengths.
Appreciate what you have: taking time to contemplate what you are grateful for improves your mood because it can reduce your cortisol (stress hormone) levels.
Exercise: getting your body moving releases endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals that are produced by the brain and are generally associated with feelings of pleasure, motivation, euphoria, social connection and pain relief.
Forgive but don’t forget: happy people live by the motto ”fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me”. Forgive in order to prevent a grudge. Negative emotions that come with holding a grudge are actually a stress response.
Get in touch with your feelings: don’t repress your emotions; learning to be open about your feelings decreases stress levels and improves your mood.
Concentrate on what you can control: rather than dwelling on things you can’t control, trying putting effort into things that you can.
Have a growth mindset: people with a fixed mindset tend to believe you are who you are and cannot change. People with a growth mindset believe they can improve with effort.
Now, bring it all together!