We all want happiness – for ourselves, for our loved ones, for those we work with. Almost everything we do is bent toward achieving happiness, or protecting the happiness we have.
Interestingly, happiness has little to do with your situation in life. A study by the University of Illinois found that the top earners are maybe a tiny bit happier, at best, than their employees who earn far less. University of California psychologists have found that life circumstance and genetics make up less than half of the factors that contribute to an individual’s happiness.
There are a number of specific habits which can contribute to one’s unhappiness. Some things to consider avoiding are:
1. Focusing on “Things.” Oceans of research show that material things are not a source of happiness. Yet, many of us spend too much time and effort on acquiring them. Instead, spend that time and effort on family, friends, and hobbies. These can help make you happy.
2. The Waiting Game. “I’ll be happy when X happens.” Haven’t we all said, or thought that? It’s one of the worst traps, because it is so easy to fall into. It hooks you back into thinking happiness is about your external circumstances, which it isn’t. Instead, find reasons to be happy right now. What is going well in your life? What do you have to be grateful for? You’ll find them, if you look for them.
3. Being Pessimistic. Pessimism is a huge driver of unhappiness. Worse, it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you find expecting the worst has become a habit, take a hard, clear-headed look at the facts, without letting your emotion take over. In almost every case, things won’t be nearly as bad as you felt they were.
4. Chasing After Others. Don’t compare yourself, your achievements, or your possessions with those of others. If you find yourself always struggling to “keep up with the Joneses,” stop it. Jealousy and envy are incompatible with happiness.
5. Not Taking Charge of Your Life. Unhappy people tend to feel they aren’t in control of their lives; therefore, they wait for life to happen to them. Which makes them unhappy. Take the reins of your life. Set goals and work toward them. Learn, improve, grow. Taking positive action produces happier results than waiting on life’s events does.
As colleges and students ready for their fall semester, I discovered that the most popular course at Yale University is one called “The Science of Well-Being,” taught by Dr. Laurie Santos. I found a free online version on the app called Coursera.
You might find it interesting to check it out – it can be found here.
“If you want to be happy, set a goal that commands your thoughts, liberates your energy, and inspires your hopes.”
What ides or suggestions do you for promoting happiness in your day-to-day life? Click here to email me directly.
Until next Wednesday –