Last week, I wrote a post about research from Stanford and Wharton on scientifically proven ways to be happier. That study identified five basic strategies:
- Spend time with the right people
- Engage in "socially connecting" activities.
- Focus on the "here and now."
- Be aware that your perception of happiness will change as you age
Here's a sampling. I hope some of them work for you!
- Write down your happy moments. Tim Noyce says he finds "great value" in journaling happy moments or achievements. It's easy to forget powerfully positive moments, he says. Reading them in a journal is emotionally uplifting.
- Take a look at the big picture. Jenyj89 says having breast cancer in 2009 made her reassess her priorities. "Your family should be your WORLD," she wrote.
- Believe in a higher power. Several readers, among them Calil West and 2TallTexan, mentioned the power of God to instill happiness2TallTexan says a belief in the supernatural increases happiness, and that children who believe in Santa Claus and the tooth fairy are happier than those who don't.
- Work out. DataDude1 says he would add "staying physical... Take a break from the computer!"AirGate Solutions agrees: "Get out and exercise!" From Manabozho: "Exercise is huge."
- Do good deeds. Deancubed said, even if you don't volunteer, "trying at least once per day to do something nice for someone else outside of the norm is a great way to uplift your spirits."
- Find a hobby. Nigel.colter says having a hobby has been "a great source of happiness." And he notes that it's widened his social circle as well.
- Become an entrepreneur, if you hate your job, Mike Van Horn says.
- Jay Taffet writes, "Avoid spam email from the mind." He says we internalize thoughts like "I'm upset" "I'm anxious" even though we would never say "I'm a hurt elbow" or "I'm a sore knee." We consider what's going on with our physical self differently than we do our mental self, even though both kinds of mental messages--"I'm upset" and "I'm a hurt elbow"-- can be ignored if we work at it.
- Bentonsmom makes a related point: "Your brain responds to what you tell it and this includes the attitude and emotion you say it with... If you tell yourself you are going to have a great day, you will." She also suggests living with compassion for those around you (hard to argue with that one).
- Jim.marks references the work of academic Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a professor of psychology and author renowned for his work in the area of positive psychology. His suggestion: Set appropriate goals that provide immediate feedback and measurable progress.
- Lyndsay Katauskas recommends women keep a "Have-done" list, or reiterate their accomplishments to a partner each day, to combat the stress of a never-ending "To-Do" list.
- Finally, from Mvanderford: "Don't forget the benefits of a good night's sleep." Hear ye, hear ye.
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Kimberly Weisul is a freelance editor and writer. Follow her at www.twitter.com/weisul