Writing for this blog has become a thought provoking and wide plus narrow research kind of job. For example, we are living such trying times that I felt the need for an antidote. The word happiness jumped into my mind. Okay, so let’s address the subject of happiness and how to attain and keep it. We have learned about the elusive pursuit of happiness. My memory bank jumped at me with memories from a Time Magazine article about how scientist had maybe found that prevalent happiness is a genetic disposition. At the time I recall thinking that I must have that happy gene since I seem to always find ways to feel happy. Even in the face of disaster. That ray of sunshine glows in the dark.
Forbes Magazine collaborator wrote an article “9 Small Steps That Will Make You Happier, Starting Now”. These are some excerpts from her July 9, 2018 article:
I’m going to give you 9 easy techniques to do do. If you’re really busy, try 5 of them. If you’re a competitive high achiever – and probably very busy- go ahead and try all 9 of them.
- Use Your Happiness Autopilot: Researchers at Duke have found that more than 40% of your daily actions are autopilot habits that don’t use up your decision making brain power. So let’s tack a little add-on to those ingrained habits. When you put toothpaste on your toothbrush , think of 1 thing that makes you feel grateful. Or when you wake up in the morning, glance at a photo that makes you feel happy. Or at night, do what Catherine Carter says: ” After I put my head on the pillow, I will think of one good thing from my day.” What will you choose to put on your autopilot?
- Good Enough Instead of Perfect : Place the motto “good enough is great” in your mind. You’ll be saving time and effort and you won’t be berating yourself since you planned to adhere to your new motto. You can tell yourself, “I know I could do more with more time and more effort but it’s not necessary.” Think of that 60 page report you produced when a 10 pager would have been good enough. Easing up on yourself will add to your happiness.
- Do What You Love: Don’t say, : When I retire, I’ll do what I love.” Instead, plan on spending some time doing things you love, even if it’s a hobby. Decide when you can devote a little time on a regular basis. Or, is a career change needed?
- How To Choose Your Friends: Researchers at Harvard say choosing your friends wisely is one of the most important factors related to happiness. Do you have some friends who sap up your energy when you’re around them? Perhaps they’re frequently complaining and reminding you of negative events? Zap these people from your new friend list and replace them with optimistic people who make you feel energized when you spend time with them. And besides spending time with them, spend money with them also. ( see #5).
- Where Should You Spend Your Money: People are wired to become happier with social connection, so spending your money on experiences with friends will give you the biggest happiness boost. So, spend your money on concert tickets or on a yoga retreat with friends you enjoy and the happiness surge.
- Cultivate Flow: When you find an activity that you enjoy, one that challenges you, and increases your skill, you’ll find yourself fully engaged in it. You’ll be in a flow state. This means you’ll be concentrating on the present and may lose your sense of time. This feels good and contributes to your well-being and happiness.
- Enjoy The Funny Side: When we crack a smile our cardiovascular system calms. Laughing takes it one step further partly because if forces us to exhale. Simply exhaling lowers our heart rate and induces feeling of calm.
- Reframe Obstacles: No one gets through life without encountering obstacles. Each time one pops up, try to reframe it as a challenge that you can handle. If you need support, think of a time when you surmounted your fear and successfully took action. Be a problem solver. My advice is, Say “How can I fix this.?” Questioning opens the creative part of your brain and you may come up with new solutions.”
- Random Acts of Kindness: Practicing acts of kindness gives people a happiness boost. In addition, the recipient becomes happier and this even extends to people who merely observe the act. These acts don’t need to be anonymous. The observer often wants to pay it forward. So please add more acts of kindness to your week and help make the world a happier place. “
Let me know how these tips work our for you. Be happy.