We often have many misconceptions about what really makes us happy. Many of us tend to think: "I'll be happy when or when 'X' happens. Regardless of the goals we want to achieve or the changes we want in our lives, the underlying motivation is often a hope that once these things are accomplished, we will be happy.
While achieving our goals or experiencing exciting changes in life can lead to a short-term increase in mood, they do not seem to have the same effect after some time. This is due to our brain's tendency to adapt to any changes we are experiencing, with studies showing that people's levels of happiness usually return to their baseline sometime after the change.
It's not realistic to be happy all the time. In fact, our painful emotions and difficult times can help develop and help us better recognize and appreciate positive emotions when they arise. Trying exclusively for happiness can have the opposite effect, so it may be useful to focus on pursuing meaning and purpose that are closely linked to happiness.
Research has estimated that genetics represent about 50% of the designated happiness point. This means that regardless of your level of happiness at the baseline or "benchmark", you can become happier with regular exercise habits that not only lead to a short-term burst of happiness but increase your sense of purpose and purpose.
Trying exclusively for happiness can have the opposite effect, so it may be useful to focus on pursuing meaning and purpose that are closely linked to happiness.
Similar to physical activity, you can train your brain and see the results over time, regardless of the level you start when you start. Below are seven habits that can help you increase your happiness.
7 habits to increase your happiness
1. Practical enjoyment of the present moment.
Many people spend too much time worrying about the future or feeling sad about the past; both can prevent them from experiencing the present. The only time you can experience happiness is in the present – not in the future when X, Y, or Z happens. When you are present, you are able to truly enjoy and enjoy the present moment.
Practice enjoying the present in tune with each of your senses. You can practice the time while enjoying activities such as showering, cooking, strolling, eating your favorite food or nature.
2. You normally schedule time away from technology.
Frequent use of technology can contribute to stress, less connected relationships and less presence. Reducing your use of technology can help you practice your presence and enjoy the enjoyable moments that can help increase overall happiness and well-being.
Try taking a break from technology for half or full day once a week and notice how you feel. If you start half or full day feeling like too much, start smaller by 1 hour and leave.
3. Make room for pleasant activities and new experiences.
Engaging in new experiences can help you boost your mood and reduce the natural tendency to take things for granted. There may also be more benefits to simply participating in the activity, as research proves that anticipating the activity before you can contribute to greater happiness than the activity itself.
Report hobbies or activities where you are fully present and enjoy the process with regard to the outcome. Create a menu of these activities, place it somewhere you will see daily, and select 1 to 3 activities to try from the menu each week. If you have a hard time coming up with ideas, consider taking a class where you learn a new skill or choose an activity you liked when you were younger.
4. Practical gratitude regularly.
Our brains are hard-core to adapt to whatever life changes are happening. For many people, this leads to a tendency to take data for granted, which can have a negative impact on their moods and relationships.
Research has shown that exercising gratitude regularly can increase your appreciation for your life as well as increase your happiness in the long run. There are many ways to practice gratitude. One way to get started is to write down 3 to 5 things that you are grateful for sometimes every week. Another way to practice gratitude is to write something that you are grateful for once every day for a month and put it in a jar. then read the contents of the jar every time you have a difficult day.
5. Focus on the relationships you find satisfying.
The time we spend with those we love seems like a no-brainer when it comes to increasing happiness. However, due to the multifaceted tasks and the busy nature of life, spending quality time with others can be difficult to prioritize. You may also find that when you spend time with your loved ones, you have a difficult time being present.
Try to prioritize spending time with those you like spending time with, not those you feel compelled to spend time with. When you spend time with others, exercise your presence and dispel distractions wherever possible.
6. Practical self-concentration.
It's no secret that we are often our own worst critics — supporting ourselves in a difficult time can be difficult. Practicing self-concentration can help increase happiness and overall well-being, helping you build resilience when faced with difficult situations and difficult emotions.
Exercising self-focus can also help you improve the way you connect with yourself and others. The next time you notice that you are engaging in negative conversations, try to ask yourself what you would say to a friend and how you would support them in a similar situation. Then apply the same support to yourself. There are many ways to practice self-concentration, including special guided meditations and periodic exercises.
7. Clarify your values and consider whether your life reflects those values.
Regardless of any positive life changes that occur or goals you can achieve, if you do not live a life according to your true values, it is unlikely that some of these things will bring you lasting fulfillment.
Take some time to clarify your values and consistently check yourself on the following questions. Think about different areas of your life (work, health, relationships, etc.) and ask yourself:
- Do I live a life that reflects my values in these areas? If not, which areas have room for improvement?
- What makes me stay alive and excite me to my core?
- What important activities can I do that reflect my values?
- What goals can I work towards that reflect my values and are important to me?
This list is not exhaustive. At the end of the day, happiness means something different to everyone. It is useful to have realistic expectations and remember that improving your mood can take time and effort. You can also see it as a trial and error process as you apply new habits to increase your happiness, keep doing what works, and let go of what's not.
If you have persistent feelings of sadness that you cannot resolve, talking to a therapist could help. Look for a therapist practicing online or near you here.
- Boven, L. V., & Ashworth, L. (2007). Looking Forward, Looking Back: Forecasting is more subjective than looking back. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 136(2), 289-300. doi: 10.1037 / 0096-34126.96.36.1999
- Barnard, L.K., & Curry, J.F. (2011). The relationship between the burning of clergy with self-concentration and other personality dimensions. Pastoral Psychology, 61(2), 149-163. doi: 10.1007 / s11089-011-0377-0
- Emmons, R. A. (2007). Thanks!: How the new science of gratitude can make you happier. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.
- Emmons, R. A., & Mccullough, M. E. (2003). Measuring Blessings Against Weights: An Experimental Investigation of Gratitude and Subjective Well-Being in Everyday Life. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(2), 377-389. doi: 10.1037 / 0022-35188.8.131.527
- Kahneman, D., Diener, E. & Schwarz, N. (1999). Well that is the foundation of hedonistic psychology. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.
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