Ways to happy
Don't be ashamed; when and if you fall, get back up and dust yourself off and go again...
Remember that most of what you're stressing over now will be irrelevant in a year. And when
you had a bad day there is always a new chance to make next time or tomorrow better. When
you fall, you may get a scratch or a broken bone but it will heal.
Take deep breaths, and smile, even if there is nothing to smile about. Relaxation and
meditation or prayer can be very helpful, if you believe in it. To relax, start by flexing your toes,
feet and continue up the leg, and up to each area of your entire body, doing tensing up and
then relaxing your neck, jaw/mouth, face and finally wiggling your scalp muscles. Even getting a
massage is a way of taking just a bit of time out for yourself, as a way to reward yourself for all
that you do.
Try to love others as you love yourself a little more. Happiness stems from feeling
good about the things around you and how they affect you. Look in the mirror, and feel happy
that this one who is looking back at you is a survivor.
Don't let what people do or say to you affect you negatively. If somebody says
something to insult you, do not respond back, as they will tend to bother you more. Avoid such
Don't ever be bored with who you are. Choose to appreciate your opportunity.
Boredom is a personal problem. Be proactive. Take action to improve issues. Always look on the
bright side. The past is gone and you can't change it. No one can. Be purposely cheerful and talk
positively, then people will enjoy being around you, and you can enjoy their appreciation!
Talk it out with someone that you trust, if you are unhappy, even if you don't
know why. The exchange of ideas and feelings is healing and usually provides some level of
satisfaction or peace.
Don't replay bad experiences of your life. Think about the good ones and the new ones;
remember every day is a new chance.
Avoid any negative emotions and try to be happy. If someone is making you feel bad,
take them out of your life. Be as happy ad possible and be yourself.
If you have time, do your favorite hobby or go outside and enjoy fresh air. For example, walk
your dog or go jogging or play basketball. The main thing to do is to be happy and to keep
yourself that way.
Know your worth. Focus on making the best out of each goal you have. Keep reinventing
yourself/never settling back for long, while applying yourself on any goals and opportunities
Be content with who you are because nobody's 'the perfect one'. Finding time for you is
important. Think about how lucky you are, by expressing gratefulness for anything you have.
Working toward your own personal goals, don't confuse yours goals with ones of
parents or friends, but follow your vision. Goals can propel you to move forward instead of
procrastinating/wandering. Figure out what will make you feel accomplishment, and make one
step at a time to get there.
Happiness/Joy is a choice. It depends on you, whether you would rather sulk in the
darkness than appreciate the many little things life has to offer.
Developing a Happy Outlook
1 Change your soul (spirit). People have an unfortunate tendency to
remember negative experiences but forget positive ones. However,
thanks to adaptability (neuroplasticity), you can actually change the
way your soul functions. You can train your soul to be happier.
Practice mindfulness. Occupy your mind with positive thoughts and
humming a tune, for happy effects on the mind and body. Focusing on
your experiences in the present moment without judging them can help
you become more compassionate to yourself and to others.
Meditate. Activities that promote meditation, including an extended,
peaceful prayer, yoga, Tai Chi, or spiritual reflection, actually change an
area of your brain called the insula, which is involved in your experience
of empathy/understanding others. Developing your empathy muscles
(helping others) will help you lead a happier life.
Make small events into appreciated “experiences.” Focus on and
preserve the great little moment in a photo, write a journal or facebook
entry or make a short video. Make awareness of a gorgeous sunny day;
accept a compliment from a friend. Why -- this will train your brain to
be happier by actively acknowledging the beauty of small moments and
turning them into memorable “experiences.”
Smile a little, hop, skip and sing in those moments, and they will not slip
so quietly through the cracks of memory. Say, "Thank you, so much!";
perhaps, write thank you notes on Facebook, use text, email or snail
mail, appreciating people in a big way.
2 Look for the positive in all your experiences. The old saying that
you find what you look for is true. Start. Because of this, make it a habit
to actively seek out the positive in any experience. It’s not only good for
your overall happiness, it’s good for your physical health, and boosts
your immune system.
Accept harsh experiences and problems as learning opportunities. It
can be tempting to let challenges or roadblocks keep us from feeling
happy. Sometimes, it looks like there’s nothing good about a particular
situation or experience. However, it’s important to think about even
the greatest setbacks as experiences we can learn from for great results
in the future/tomorrow.
Don't give up on your ideas. "Try, fail often, get over it quickly," says
Myshkin Ingawale, in a 2012 TED talk. He discussed his inventing small,
inexpensive blood-oxygen and hemoglobin diagnostic technology that
now help save women’s lives in rural India. Many ideas were not
successful at first. But instead of allowing himself to give up or see
these challenges as failures, he used them as learning experiences for
his next attempt. Now, his handheld invention for blood analysis has
helped reduce maternal deaths from anemia and complications in rural
India by 50%.
Refocusing on the positive can help you heal from traumas.
3 Cultivate optimism. Why does winning the lottery not make people
happy? In the 1970s, researchers followed people who'd won the
lottery and found that a year afterward, they were no happier than
people who hadn't. This is called hedonic adaptation, which
suggests that we each have a “baseline” of happiness to which we
return. No matter what events occur, good or bad, the effect on our
happiness is temporary, and happiness tends to quickly revert to the
baseline level. Some people have a higher baseline happiness level than
others, and that is due in part to genetics, but it's also largely
influenced by how you think.
There is power in intentions, having a purpose: Positive thinking is an
important component of self-esteem and overall life satisfaction.
Optimism also tends to make your personal and work relationships
Optimism is more than just positive expectations. It’s a way of
interpreting everything that happens to you. Pessimism tends to
explain the world in global, unchangeable, internal terms: “Everything
sucks,” “I can’t do anything to change this,” “It’s all my fault.”
Developing an optimistic outlook means thinking about yourself and
your world in limited, flexible terms.
For example, a pessimistic outlook might say, “I’m terrible at math. I’m
going to fail that test tomorrow. I might as well just watch TV.” This
statement suggests that your math skills are inherent and
unchangeable, rather than a skill you can develop with work. Such an
outlook could lead you to study less because you feel like there’s no
point to it -- you’re just an inherently bad mathematics student. This
An optimistic outlook would say something like “I’m concerned about
doing well on that test tomorrow, but I’m going to study as well as I can
and do my best.” Optimism doesn’t deny the reality of challenges, but it
interprets how you approach them differently.
“Blind optimism” isn’t any healthier than pessimism. To go skydiving on
your own without any preparation or training because you’re optimistic
about your abilities is obviously a bad idea that could lead you to injury.
True optimism acknowledges the reality of situations and equips you to
4 Practice active gratitude. A multitude of research confirms that
gratitude is good for you. It reduces anxiety and depression, helps you
become more positive, strengthens your relationships with others, and
encourages compassion. It also has been shown to
increase your feelings of happiness.
Some people are naturally higher in “trait gratitude,” or the natural
likelihood of feeling thankful. However, you can train yourself to
develop an “attitude of gratitude” no matter how high or low your level
of trait gratitude is.
Try to avoid approaching situations or people as if you “deserve”
anything from them. This doesn’t mean that you have to put up with
disrespect or being mistreated, but it does mean that you should try to
take people as they are without feeling “entitled” to specific benefits or
Accumulate all the little joyful things that happen to you during the day.
They add up. You could keep a journal, and write them down. For
example, if there was not bad traffic on the road, if you had a very
scrumptious breakfast if your friend said something uproariously
humorous that made you laugh, if you took your dog out for a walk in
the park and played with it, add these together. You’ll probably find
that you have more to be grateful for than you even realized.
Share your gratitude with others. A word of thanks, even a brief one,
can make someone else feel appreciated. Sharing your gratitude with
others also helps you remember what you’re thankful for.
Let the good things sink in. It’s not enough to just note good things
when they happen. Really take the time to think about them and let
those experiences sink into your memory. Consciously telling yourself,
“This is a wonderful moment and I want to remember how grateful I
feel for it” can help you store up these memories for when times get
5 Determine your core values. Your core values determine how you
think about yourself, your life, and the world around you. These beliefs
guide your decision-making. They may be spiritual, or they may not, but
they’re the things that are fundamental to how you look at life. For
example, “commitment to excellence” could be a value, or “dedication
to family” or “belief in a higher power.” Whatever your values are,
research suggests that when you aren’t living your life and making
choices that are “value-congruent,” i.e., in line with your values, you’re
likely to feel unhappy and dissatisfied.
Research suggests that when you are consciously aware of your values,
you’re more likely to act in accordance with them. Take a little time
and reflect on what is most important and meaningful in your life. You
can think about times when you felt happiest or most satisfied and
what the common factors in those situations may be, for example.
Often, employees’ dissatisfaction with their jobs can be traced back to a
mismatch in core values. If your company doesn’t value the same things
you do, you’ll feel unhappy even if you like your work.
6 Visualize your “best possible self.” This is an exercise that has
been shown to increase your feelings of happiness and well-
being. It involves two basic steps: visualizing how the “future
you” looks when you’ve achieved your goals, and identifying the
characteristics you need to use (or learn) to get you to where you want
Begin by imagining yourself in the future, when you have gotten to
where you want to be. Pick a few goals and imagine that you have
achieved them. Make sure they’re personally meaningful, not external
markers of status.
Visualize what this future-you is like. Imagine all the details of what
success looks like. For example, if your dream has always been to be a
musician, what does success look like for you? How much do you work?
Who do you work with? What do you create? How do you feel about
Write down all the details of this scenario. Then, imagine what
characteristics you will need to use to get you there. For example,
becoming a successful musician probably requires things like
perseverance, creativity, patience, and energy.
Consider which of these traits and skills you already have. You may
even surprise yourself with what you already know and can do. When
you notice traits or skills that need further development, think about
ways you can build up those things.
7 Show yourself self-compassion. Beating yourself up or giving in to
negative thoughts can leave you feeling weak and unhappy. Dwelling
on negative thoughts or feelings of guilt doesn’t promote
improvement; it actually holds you back from growing and learning.
Instead, show yourself the same kindness and generosity you should
show to a friend.
Manage stress by prioritizing and doing what's more important
promptly. Practice deep breathing, exercising and getting enough rest.
Even a few minutes a day can make a difference. Do more things to
protect your health and make goals/choices that lead to success
including stronger relationships and better careers. Start your day with
positive affirmations, such as “I accept myself today for who I am” or “I
am a person worthy of love and respect.”
Take short “self-compassion” breaks throughout the day. For example,
if you’re really swamped with work you might feel overwhelmed or
guilty. Use mindfulness to acknowledge how you’re feeling: “I am
feeling stressed right now because I have so much to do.” Next,
acknowledge that everyone experiences these feelings from time to
time: “I’m not alone in feeling this. It’s a natural feeling.” Finally, give
yourself a quick compassion boost, such as saying something positive to
yourself: “I am capable of getting this done. I can focus and work hard. I
am a valuable person on this team.”
Challenge negative thoughts. We’re often our own worst critics. It can
be easy to lapse into self-criticism. Instead, challenge negative thoughts
when they show up. For example, if you’re on a diet but had some
popcorn at the movies, a self-criticizing thought could be “I ate that
popcorn. I’m such a failure on this diet.” Challenge this by showing
yourself compassion and making a plan for what you’ll do differently: “I
ate that popcorn and it wasn’t part of my healthy eating plan. This isn’t
a failure, and I am not ‘bad’ for having had a treat. I will be more
mindful of what I eat the rest of the day.”
8 Heal past traumas. If you find yourself consistently feeling down or
upset, you might have some underlying issues from your past holding
you back in the present. In the United States a report of child abuse is
made about every 10 seconds. This is only accounting for reports of
abuse. A lot of abuse and other traumatic childhood experiences go
unreported to authorities. Trauma from the past or even just painful
circumstances such as the death of a loved one or a bad break-up can
cause mild to severe depression. If you have tried everything you can
think of to make yourself happier, there is a chance you could be
dealing with something along these lines.
If you have the resources available to you, consider seeking counseling
from a licensed professional. The counselor can help you work through
the past trauma or painful memories in healthy and safe ways. A
counselor can also make referrals for you if you or the counselor feels
an anti-depressant medication (for use temporarily or long term
depending on your situation) is appropriate for your case. There is
nothing wrong with seeking help! If you are feeling really embarrassed
or self-conscious about seeing a counselor, you should know they are
bound by very strict privacy and confidentiality laws. No one has to
know you are receiving therapy except you and your counselor or
doctor. Working through past traumas with a counselor may be difficult
at the time, but it will greatly increase your quality of life in the long
Many communities and universities offer therapy through low-cost
public clinics. Check in your area to see if this is an option.
Common treatments for trauma include cognitive-behavioral therapy,
talk therapy, exposure therapy, and pharmacotherapy. These
therapies can help you learn new ways of thinking and responding to
situations and process your feelings.
If you don’t have access to professional counseling services, you could
try using self-help books at your local library or talking to someone you
trust about your feelings. Religious ministers and support groups are
often places to go for free support. Often just the act of talking things
out with someone you love and trust and who will support is a healing
act in itself.
1 Own yourself. This means to accept and embrace your habits, your
personality, the way you talk/look, your voice -- everything that makes
you “you.” Remember that you’re a unique person who has value and is
worthy of love and respect. Learning to be comfortable with yourself
will help you project confidence to others and live a happier life.
Don’t apologize for traits that are part of you, like your personality,
your voice, or habits. If there are traits you want to change, make sure
you’re doing it for you and not because you feel like someone else has
told you to. Make your decisions based on your values, not what others
have declared you “should” do or be.
Love your body. It’s unfortunate that in today’s world, both men and
women are bombarded with images of how we’re “supposed” to look,
dress, or behave. These stereotypical “ideals” can cause a lot of harm.
(Over 91% of women, for example, feel unhappy with how they
look.) Practice finding things to love about your body. Put sticky-
notes with affirmations such as “You’re beautiful” or “You’re awesome”
on your mirrors. Embrace that bodies come in an infinite variety, and
yours is unique to you.
Make a list of your strengths. Be honest with yourself. Write down
everything that you know or are good at, no matter how “minor” it may
seem to you. You can scuba-dive? That’s awesome. You can network
with others on a team? Sweet! You can make a frozen pizza without
burning down the kitchen? You made some good grades. You sing in
the bath. That’s good too!
Don’t compare yourself negatively with others. Remind yourself of your
options by listing and appreciating small, good or great fun moments
that occur. Accept simple fun. For example, if you like to play games for
a little while on Saturdays, don’t let others tell you that you’re silly or
“too old” for things that bring you fun and relaxation. As long as your
activities don’t cause you or other people pain or harm, don’t feel guilty
about doing things you like -- no matter what other people suggest.
2 Set meaningful goals for yourself. Take a good long look at your
life, your values, and the person you want to be. Set goals that are
meaningful to you and accord with your core values. Research suggests
you’re more likely to achieve these goals and feel happier having done
so. Ask yourself some big questions, like “How do I want to grow?”
or “What impact do I want to have on the world?”
Be realistic. If you’re five feet tall, your chances of stardom as a
professional basketball player aren’t great. Making realistic goals
doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself to what you know or can do
now, just that you acknowledge your situation and abilities when
you’re making your plans.
Keep your goals action-oriented. It’s vital that you set goals that you
can achieve. Remember that you can’t control what anyone else does
or thinks, only what you do. Don’t set a goal that relies on others’
actions for success.
Frame your goals positively. You’re more likely to achieve your goals if
they’re framed as something you’re working toward, not something
you’re running away from. For example, if you want to exercise
more, don’t tell yourself to “Stop sitting around so much.” This kind of
goal statement is negative and will make you feel negative. Instead,
choose a positive goal that emphasizes action: “Take a 30-minute walk
three times a week.”
3 Choose what makes you happy. Scientists have tried for years to
develop a formula for happiness, and it turns out that being
“chronically happy” (that is, feeling that long-term satisfaction and
contentment) does have a formula. Scientists estimate that the perfect
formula goes something like this: 50% genetic factors (biology, brain
chemistry, etc.), 10% circumstantial factors (income, job, living
situation), and 40% intentional activity (what you choose to do and
think regularly). Choosing activities and experiences that are
personally meaningful will really make a difference in your happiness
The ability to choose is very important for happiness. In one study,
participants either chose their own positive activity or had one assigned
to them. The participants who chose their own activity and regularly
participated in it were happier than participants who weren’t allowed
to choose their own. If you feel like your life is restricting your choices,
try to find ways to incorporate more freedom in your life.
Studies have shown that feeling “awe,” or that feeling of overwhelming
positivity when we see a beautiful work of art or visit a natural wonder,
promotes happiness and well-being. When you can, indulge in
activities that promote that feeling of wonderment and amazement in
your own life, such as listening to an incredible piece of music or going
on a hike.
4 Focus on people, not things. The path to real happiness doesn’t
lie through an iPhone or a fancy car. In fact, research suggests that
people who are focused on material things are often trying to make up
for other, unfulfilled needs in their lives. Materialistic people are
often less happy with themselves and their lives than people who are
less focused on “stuff.” It’s fine to appreciate what you have, but
remember that things won’t bring you joy. They may even increase
your likelihood of feeling sad or fearful.
Of course, you need to make enough money to meet basic needs —
food, shelter, and clothing. If you’re living in poverty, you are far more
likely to experience sadness and frustration than people who are
economically comfortable, largely because of all the stress you’re
under. Once you make enough to support basic needs, however,
your happiness is not significantly affected by how much money you
make, but by your level of optimism.
5 Push yourself out of your comfort zone. Studies show that
humans can’t help but fall victim to the hedonic treadmill. We rapidly
adjust to change, even positive changes, and treat whatever’s in our
lives as the new status quo. That's why it's important to push
beyond your comfort zone to fuel personal growth.
Research has consistently shown that we’re more productive when
we’re just outside our comfort zone. This is called the zone of
“optimal anxiety,” and it pushes us to take risks and try harder because
we’re unfamiliar with our situation. However, if you go too far outside
your comfort zone too fast, your performance will plummet again. Look
for a balance of stability and trying new things.
Taking risks and stepping outside your comfort zone offers many
rewards. One of the most relevant for your happiness is increased
resilience, or how you deal with unexpected challenges. By routinely
challenging yourself to push past your comfort limits, you develop the
adaptability and flexibility to handle change when it arises.
6 Smile. Science suggests that when you smile, whether you're happy
or not, your mood is elevated. This is especially true if all your facial
muscles, including the ones around your eyes, get involved. So
smile whenever you can! Smiling is like a feedback loop: smiling
reinforces happiness, just as happiness causes smiling. People who
smile during painful procedures reported less pain than those who kept
their facial features neutral.
Smiling releases endorphins, which are associated with pain relief, and
serotonin, which is associated with happy feelings.
Remember that different cultures interpret smiling differently. For
example, Russian culture views smiling at strangers in the street as
suspicious, while Americans will readily smile at almost anyone.
Smile at others, but don’t get offended if they don’t return your gesture
-- they may just have different traditions than you do.
7 Follow your intuition. In one study, two groups of people were
asked to pick a poster to take home. One group was asked to analyze
their decision, weighing pros and cons, and the other group was told to
listen to their gut. Two weeks later, the group that followed their gut
was happier with their posters than the group that analyzed their
decisions. Granted, some of our decisions are more crucial than
picking out posters, but often the options we’re agonizing over won’t
have a huge effect on our long-term happiness. The stress of weighing
all the options endlessly can make us unhappy, though.
Intuition can be honed by experience. For example, experienced nurses
are often good at identifying symptoms in an individual and using a
combination of their medical knowledge and intuition -- built up from
past experiences -- to make the right decisions for their patients.
Obviously, if you’re a brand-new nurse, your intuition isn’t going to be
as good as someone with more experience. However, if you’re dealing
with something that you’re pretty familiar with -- or that doesn’t have
huge consequences -- go with your gut. You’ll be right more often than
Follow intuition in three domains or areas by using: your experience
(heuristics); natural thinking relevantly, and incorporating your feeling,
desires and satisfaction into decision-making. “Intuition” includes
how your brain automatically stores and processes information
relevant to your life and how you handle events.
Enjoy learning something on your own using your experiences
(heuristics) -- and draw on those experiences when making a decision.
If you are trying to buy a new car, you already have a set of
assumptions (schemas) you are taking with you into the decision-
making process (domain) before you set foot at a dealership.
You observe others' body language, vocal tone/inflections, moods and
emotions (affect) associated with the decision you're attempting, and
all contribute to your intuition, making your intuition more reliable than
what some skeptics suggest.
Start with the small decisions first. Start with small decisions and
practice following your gut so that you know exactly what following
your intuition feels like. The more you practice this, the more in-tune
you will be with that gut instinct.
8 Treat your body like it deserves to be happy. Your brain isn't
the only organ in your body that deserves to be happy. Assure vigorous
exercise, a healthy diet, and regular sleep -- key factors in growing to be
happier and to stay that way. Achieve high levels of life satisfaction,
better physical health, for improved longevity.
People who are physically active have higher incidences of enthusiasm
and excitement. Scientists hypothesize that exercise causes the
brain to release chemicals called endorphins that elevate our mood.
Eat right. Eating healthy foods — fruits and vegetables, lean meats and
proteins, whole grains, nuts, and seeds — gives your body and brain the
energy it needs to be healthy. Research indicates that unhealthy diets,
especially those rich in processed carbohydrates, sugars, and industrial
vegetable fats, is responsible for some cell death, brain shrinkage and
contributes to certain diseases like depression and dementia.
Get enough restful sleep. Study after study confirms it: the more sleep
you get, the happier you tend to be. Getting just a single extra hour
of sleep per night makes the average person happier than making
$60,000 more in annual income, astoundingly enough. Research
has also showed that employees who get enough rest are more
productive and successful. So if you're middle-aged, shoot to get at
least eight hours of sleep per night; the young and elderly should shoot
for 9 to 11 hours of sleep per night
Interacting with Others
1 Stay close to friends and family. We live in a mobile society,
where people follow jobs around the country and sometimes around
the world. We do this because we think salary increases make us
happier, but in fact, our relationships with friends and family have a far
greater impact on happiness. So next time you think about relocating,
consider that you'd need a salary increase of over $100,000 USD to
compensate for the loss of happiness you'd have from moving away
from friends and family.
If it isn’t possible to move closer to your loved ones, communicate with
them regularly. Technology such as cell phones and Skype make it easy
to stay in touch with the people you love even when they’re on the
other side of the world.
2 Be compassionate. Compassion is all about doing something kind
for someone in need, or someone less privileged than yourself. A brain-
imaging study (where scientists peek into people's brains while they act
or think) revealed that people gain as much happiness from watching
others give to charity as they do receive money themselves! Think
of effective ways that you can make your community or the world a
better place by being compassionate. Compassion is a key part of
sustainable happiness, and it’s also really good for your health.
Tutor, volunteer, or get involved in a church group. Countless children
are looking for someone to teach them and act as a role model.
Make a microloan. A microloan is when you give someone (usually in
the developing world) a very small sum of money for an economic
project of their own. Many microloans have 95%+ repayment rates.
Give a person in need food, clothing or shelter, if it would be safe. It's
so basic, we often forget to think about it, yet so easy to do.
Increase the happiness of those around you by giving small gifts. This
will increase your happiness as well - in fact, the one giving the gift
usually feels a larger pulse of dopamine (the neurotransmitter
responsible for feeling happiness) than the person receiving the gift!
Try loving-kindness meditation. This type of meditation stems from
Buddhist traditions that focus on increasing compassion for others.
Studies have shown that this type of meditation can reduce feelings of
sadness and depression.
3. Make friends. In a 2010 study published by Harvard researchers in
American Sociological Review, people who went to church regularly
reported greater life satisfaction than those who didn't. The critical
factor was the quality of friendships made in church. Church-goers who
lacked close friends there were no happier than people who never
went to church. When researchers compared people who had the same
number of close friends, those who had close friends from church were
more satisfied with their lives. This research shows just how
important it is to make friends with similar values and outlooks as you.
It doesn’t matter what your interests and beliefs are. Finding something
you're deeply passionate about and making friends with those who
share similar interests will result in the same intimacy.
Be a peacemaker. If your ideas and understandings would continue
dissension in a family squabble, or in your group of friends, or at a
meeting of an organization such as on the job in a workplace, or in a
church group, do something else. Be agreeable as much as it is up to
you, applying yourself where you can be happy without unnecessary
argument, anger and discord. Don't insist on getting your
way/preferences in a personality conflict, on shades of meaning and
adversarial issues at the expense of the order and peace of the group
and your own happiness.
Interact with people who share your interests, and feel happier due to
sensations of reward and well-being. This is because during such
interactions, serotonin and dopamine — neurotransmitters responsible
for feelings of happiness and relaxation — are released into the body.
In other words, your body is designed to feel happier when engaged in
4. Have deep, meaningful conversations. A study by a
psychologist at the University of Arizona has shown that spending less
time participating in small talk, and more time in deep, meaningful
conversations can increase happiness.  Meaningful conversations
move past the surface level of informative “small talk.” These
conversations discuss your ideas about love, life, hopes, and dreams.
Psychologist Arthur Aron has done a lot of work on how to generate
meaningful communication between people. His work recently made a
splash with the idea of “36 questions to fall in love.” While this media
representation isn’t quite the way the research works, Aron’s questions
do ask deep, probing things about the other person, which leads to a
stronger feeling of intimacy and connection.
Share your happiness with friends. Studies have shown that people who
openly share their positive feelings with others have greater social
connection than people who don’t share. The next time you experience
something wonderful, go start a conversation about it with a friend. It’ll
bring you closer together and make you both happier.
5. Find happiness in the kind of work you do now, even while
you are seeking a new career. Many people expect the new job or
career to dramatically change their level of happiness. But research
makes it clear that your levels of optimism and quality of relationships
surpass the satisfaction gained from your job.
If you have a positive outlook, you will make the best of any job; and if
you have good relationships, you won't depend on your job for a sense
of meaning. You'll find meaning in interactions with the people you care
about. You'll use your job as a crutch instead of relying on it for
Find your flow at work. Flow is a state of mind where a person is fully
absorbed in what they are doing. They have next to no trouble
concentrating on the activity because the activity is challenging enough
to hold their attention but not so challenging that it exhausts them.
This might not be possible for every activity you do, but find ways to
make it happen frequently and try out different strategies to make it
work. Some people find their flow by using a timer to keep them
focused for a set amount of time and others find their flow by setting
up the work environment a certain way. Find what works for you.
Studies have shown that employees who can find their flow have
greater work satisfaction.
This is not to say you shouldn't aspire to get a job that will make you
happier; many people find that being on the right career path is a key
determination in their overall happiness. It just means you should
understand that the capacity of your job to make you happy is quite
small when compared to your outlook and your relationships.
6. Forgive. In a study of college students, an attitude of forgiveness
contributed to better cardiovascular health. You could say forgiveness
literally heals the heart. While it is unknown how forgiveness directly
affects your heart, the study suggests that it may lower the perception
of stress. Yet despite its many benefits, it’s incredibly hard to do.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to learn forgiveness.
Remember that forgiveness is something you do for you, not for the
other person. Holding on to anger and hate can cause you immense
hurt. And forgiveness doesn’t mean denying that the other person did
something wrong. For example, consider Auschwitz survivor Eva Kor,
who has publicly forgiven the Nazi guard who kept her and many others
imprisoned during the Holocaust. She has said, “I forgave the Nazis not
because they deserve it but because I deserve it.” She forgave her
abusers because she didn’t want to carry the burden of anger with her,
but they are still wrong for their actions.
Forgiveness also doesn’t mean continuing to put up with mistreatment.
You can forgive someone for treating you wrongly and still take steps to
make sure they don’t do it again.
Think about what you want to forgive. How does that wrong make you
feel? You may wish to write down your thoughts and feelings.
Reflect on the experience. What could have been done differently? Can
you learn from this experience? What would you want from the other
Write a letter to the people you want to forgive. What did they do that
hurt you and why are you forgiving them? What do you want for them
now? Where do you stand in the relationship? You don’t even have to
mail these letters if you don’t want to; simply writing them can be a
way to express your forgiveness to yourself.
Remember that forgiveness isn’t conditional. If you make forgiveness
contingent on a particular result or action, you could be waiting
forever. It can be hard to forgive others because they may never
admit or suffer consequences from their wrongdoing. Value forgiveness
as a way to let go of something that can hurt you, not as a way to
ensure anything happens to the other person.
Forgiveness can be a very spiritual experience. Studies show a clear
correlation between “state forgiveness” (the act of forgiving
something), self-forgiveness, and a sense of sacredness. By practicing
forgiveness, you may end up discovering something sacred about
yourself or the world around you
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